Above: The sculpture “UpDown,” a fixture of Merle Hay Mall from 1974 to 2000, when it was retired to watch over a residential garden on the east side.
We always enjoy hearing from readers about the stories they like. For us at dsm, the response to one stands out above all others—on a level as unusual as the notion of a naked, slack-jawed angel riding a tricycle.
We have poured our editorial hearts into stories of more significance. We have agonized over details that should matter. We hope somebody cared. But here’s what we know: You readers loved, loved learning the fate of the peculiar figure who pedaled earnestly but motionless for decades at Merle Hay Mall. With wings. Without clothes.
His appearance caused some consternation among mall patrons, but the guy with his mouth agape was popular with most shoppers and a source of fascination for their kids—until new management booted his naked booty out some 18 years ago.
Author and historian Adam Selzer told our tale of the naked trike angel—a work of whimsical sculpture more formally named “UpDown” by artist Mark Jacobsen, who later left trikes and wings and fanciful things in favor of being a lawyer.
After some sleuthing, Selzer caught up with Merle, as he was renamed by east-side homeowner, gardener and one-shot art collector Jerri Scott. Today, as dsm reported in 2013, Merle is still astride his trike, now in a garden setting, poised just a pedal turn or two from Scott’s driveway.
You can still read Selzer’s saga online, the tale we can’t seem to top, by clicking here. Or just type “dsm magazine” and “trike angel” in your browser’s search function.