Bronze Statue of Spumoni and Don in Spumoni Circle – August 2012 (As seen from the east side looking toward Crystal Bay)
The Story of Spumoni Circle
The idea for the roundabout came to me in a moment that was inspired by Spumoni in March 2007. I was stuck in traffic trying to turn left from the Mt. Rose Highway onto Highway 28. There were only five cars and one large truck in front of me. But I sat there for nearly 15 minutes inhaling their exhaust fumes while simply waiting to make a turn.
While contemplating that there had to be a better way to deal with this intersection, I thought back to when Spumoni was just a couple of years old and how he enjoyed running around our house in Alameda. We lived in one of those cute little one-story California bungalows and with all the interior doors open Spumoni could run endlessly from room to room in a big circle with nothing to impede him. It dawned on me that the solution to this intersection would be to build a large diameter roundabout so the traffic could flow smoothly, accidents would be reduced, air and noise pollution would decrease and we would have a beautiful entrance to our community.
Located at the junction of Highways 431 and 28, Spumoni Circle has saved countless lives and is the single biggest air pollution reduction project at Lake Tahoe. Cars that once idled for several minutes at a time spewing exhaust into the air now flow smoothly through the roundabout. With over 1 million vehicles each year going through Spumoni Circle, this is a huge reduction in air pollution.
At the old intersection there used to be serious injury or fatal accidents every few months. But these have been eliminated completely thanks to the design of Spumoni Circle. There has only been an occasional minor fender bender, although 3 of the statues had to be replaced in separate accidents due to careless drivers.
After a lot of planning and hard work from 2007 to 2012, Spumoni Circle finally came to fruition. The project could not have been accomplished without the support of the original members of the Incline Vision infrastructure committee in 2007 where I made the first presentation. That allowed me to bring this project to the IVGID Board of Trustees for their approval.
The public-private partnership between the Incline Gateway Committee consisting of Jim Clark, Jim Nowlin, and myself and the other agencies involved (especially NDOT), made it possible for this beautiful public art project to be realized.
The Gateway Committee in conjunction with June Toll Brown, our world-famous sculptor who lives right here in Incline Village, worked closely with the engineering and landscape architecture departments at NDOT to create this unique artistic design.
All of the bronze statues in Spumoni Circle were paid for by donations from generous private individuals and families. Each statue is in honor or memory of a particular person. A special thanks to June Brown for her extraordinary contribution to create the bronze statues and supervise their installation. She’s a truly amazing person and her artistic skills and love for the community resonate with every person who passes through Spumoni Circle.
A very special thank you goes to Jerry Stewart, and his family, for their most generous donation and sponsorship of the centerpiece of the art project which is the bear in memory of Lois Stewart: Beloved wife, mother, grandmother and community volunteer.
The Fish Within the Brown Bear Sculpture
Thelma Walker and Rod & Evelyn Smallwood of the Smallwood Family Trust
Don Kanare – In memory of Spumoni who provided the inspiration for the roundabout
John & Lynn Schiek
Harlan Braaten Margaret & Manny Sylvester
Jan and David Hardie
The Stellar Jay
In loving memory of Bradford Trent Hampton. May his spirit always fly free.
The Mule Deer
Ted Fuller and Family
The Artistic Boulders for Landscaping Were Donated By
F. W. Carson which is our local rock and gravel company