For a few years, my office was located in the upstairs of a camelback shotgun house on Frankfort Avenue. I’d tell people that I worked in the hump. Free office space for start up non-profits is always a plus. I coexisted nicely with the artist, Madison Latimer, and her studio downstairs.
But the real gravy was that next door was a cornerstone of the Clifton neighborhood and unofficial tourist attraction featured just this week on American Pickers on the History Channel.
Jerry Lotz is a creative genius. Part collector, part artist. In this picture, the lady liberty in the background has a Richard Nixon face. The hand has the peace sign / victory fingers. In the other hand he welded a cardinal bird that I looked at for 2 years before I realized it was fake!
Okay, so maybe that’s just me.
But I can tell you that there wasn’t a week that went by when he would cut a rose off a bush and bring it to me or make sure my car didn’t get broken into if I worked late.
Unless the weather especially sucks, Jerry’s fans hang out on the sidewalks of Frankfort and Williams peering in windows, through iron gates and taking pictures. Few get to meet Jerry. He’s been harassed, assaulted and ridiculed. He does not appreciate the moniker “Jerry the Junkman.” The friend on the show was right, he doesn’t just talk to anyone or sell to anyone. As the folks from the show showed, his stuff is far from junk. The pickers bought a rare Schwinn auto-cycle off him for $1000 and it’s clear he could have gotten more.
He told the Pickers that he buys what’s “ornery, unusual or different.” What’s not to love?