Olmec Head PDF Print E-mail

Español...En 1964, la Ciudad de Covina adoptó


Learn more about Olmec art by visiting  the following sites:

Smithsonian Institute

In 1964, the City of Covina adopted former President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s People-to-People Program and established a sister-city relationship with Xalapa (or Jalapa), the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz.

Both Covina and Xalapa agreed to the terms outlined in the program:  namely, to cultivate a two-way relationship built on an understanding of each other’s history and culture.

Over the course of the next 25 years, the Covina Sister City Committee worked with Xalapa to establish camaraderie and mutual support.  An exchange program was developed, thus affording students from both countries the opportunity to learn about their sister city’s rich heritage.  Additionally, a series of city and country events served to educate people about the partnership.

In the 1970s, a piece of property, privately owned by the Jobe family, was acquired by the City of Covina, at which point the Sister City Committee, the Covina Redevelopment Agency, and the Jobe family worked to transform it into a public place of beauty and enjoyment for the community.  The park’s redevelopment began in 1978, and following the completion of a three-phase process, it was renamed Parque Xalapa in 1981.  (In 1998, the park was again renamed to be Jobe’s Glen at Jalapa Park.) Click here to see a location map.

On the occasion of the dedication, officials from Xalapa were so pleased to learn that Covina had named a park in honor of the partnership, that they presented the city with a statue of a Jaguar God.


For more information on the Jaguar God art visit this site: Tribes

Then, in 1989, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Covina-Xalapa partnership, Veracruz Governor Dante Delgado Rannauro donated a replica of a Giant Olmec Head (Cabeza Colossal Olmeca #5) to Covina to be displayed at Parque Xalapa.  Special permission from the federal government had to be granted for this Olmec head to be replicated and exported.  At this time, the piece was one of only two replicas of its type outside of the Mexican republic, and it is believed that it represents a local chief of the Olmec culture who lived between the years 1200 and 900 B.C.

Weighing in at 7.5 metric tons, the piece was the fifth Olmec head to be found in San Lorenzo, a city located in the southern part of Veracruz, during a joint expedition of the Smithsonian Institute and the National Geographic Society in 1945.  Carved in basalt of the same period as the original, the sculpture is a replica of Cabeza Colossal Olmec #5.  Indeed, it is an exact copy of the original.

For a period of years, the City of Covina displayed the sculpture at the Covina Police Department.  Then, in 2011, the Covina Police Department began to repair leaks in the police department basement.  Since the area where that Olmec head was located had to be removed to effect repairs to the foundation walls, it was an opportune time to relocate the Olmec head to its original intended destination, Jobe’s Glen at Jalapa Park.  At the same time, planning began to construct a Police Memorial to be located near the entrance to the Police Department.  The memorial, serving as a tribute to Sergeant Scott Hanson, the first Covina Police Department officer killed in the line of duty, will be completed in the spring of 2013.

In 2012, the Olmec Head was moved to its new home Jobe’s Glen at Jalapa Park.  Covina residents who visit the park will now have the opportunity to enjoy this historical piece in its beautiful new surroundings.  Educational opportunities will be present in the form of computer “qr codes” which will link visitors to websites providing specific detailed information about the Olmec statue, provided by the City of Covina, the City of Xalapa, and the state of Veracruz Mexico.  Additional links will also open the doors to the City of Covina, its parks, and Jobe’s Glen War Memorial.