Those who drive Pacific Coast Highway through the town of Laguna Beach can't help but notice this statue of a long-haired and bearded grinning man. The plaque at the statue's base tells the story of this unique and beloved citizen:
Hello-O-O-o-o-o-o How AR-r-r-e you?
The volunteer greeter of Laguna Beach has been featured in Saturday Evening Post, Life and on TV. Eiler is a philosopher, gardener and friend of man who devotes all his spare time spreading goodwill and cheer to all visitors to lovely Laguna Beach.
Born in Aarhus, Denmark, 1890
Sculptor -- Charles Beauvais
THE POTTERY SHACK
Eiler Larsen came to Laguna Beach in the early 1930's. There he found work as a gardener, but for more than 40 years he also passed his time by standing on a street shouting a greeting to all passers-by. In 1963, the Laguna Beach City Council gave Eiler the title of "Official Greeter and Goodwill Ambassador." Eiler passed away in 1975 at the age of 84 but has not been forgotten. Not just one but two statues of Larsen have been erected on the streets of Laguna Beach. They stand on two of Eiler's favorite greeting spots; one is at the outside of the Hotel Laguna, and this one (the more bizarre of the two) stands at the location of the now-defunct Pottery Shack, where Larsen also worked for a time. Another measure of the town's lasting affection for Larsen are the number of things named after him: not only is there a Greeter's Corner Restaurant, there's also an Eiler's Inn and an Eiler Larsen Lane.
Directions: The statue that is shown here is at 1212 S. Coast Highway (corner of Brooks Street and Pacific Coast Highway aka Highway 1). The other statue of Eiler is at the Greeter's Corner Restaurant, 329 S. Coast Highway.
Last visited: December 2008.
Standard disclaimer: Sites are described for entertainment purposes only, as they were at the time of my last visit. I can not vouch for the current condition of the site or its accessibility.