Statue of Hobo Joe in front of Gillums Meat & Locker Co, 1015 E. Monroe Avenue, Buckeye, AZ. (623) 386-2441.  The plaque reads, "HOBO JOE, BUILT BY AND STANDS IN MEMORY OF MARVIN RANSDELL (1928-1988), BY HIS GOOD FRIEND RAMON GILLUM, JULY, 1989."

If the Buckeye skyline could be seen above the trees, its most prominent feature would have to be the 25 foot tall tin statue of Hobo Joe. There were once hundreds of similar statutes advertising a now defunct restaurant chain, but there were only two left in 1989, according the owner of the statue, Ramon Gillum. Gillum attempted to resurrect the statute left to him in downtown Buckeye, but he was met with opposition by residents not wanting the city to be symbolized by a huge bum. Not deterred, Gillum obtained a variance and erected the statue at his meat company which is not far from the city center.2

The name, Buckeye, has nothing to do with statutes or bums.  As one might suspect, it refers to the Buckeye state.  In 1888 a former resident of Sydney, Ohio built a canal in the west valley, naming it the Buckeye Canal after his home state.  In 1899 a section of land near the canal was donated for a town site.3 The community was originally named Sidney, but was changed to Buckeye "because most of the early settlers came from Ohio."4

If you dined at Hobo Joe's, you could pick up a post card featuring the restaurant's namesake, who was described as a "World Traveler, Philosopher, and Connoisseur of Good Good."  The International Headquarters of Hobo Joe's, Inc., was located at 1060 W. Alameda Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281.

1. "Table DP-1. Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000--Arizona," American FactFinder, U.S. Census Bureau. Back to text

2. Sam Lowe, "ARIZONA: HOTBED OF FUNKY ROAD ART," The Arizona Republic, 12-03-2000. Back to text

3. Marshall Trimble, Roadside History of Arizona, Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, 1986, p. 112. Back to text

4. Will C. Barnes, Arizona Place Names, University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1988, p. 149. Back to text

This page was last revised on 07/13/04.