Lounging in the 60s

Trash Can

Object Name

Trash Can


Walking through Beaver Meadows Visitor Center in the years following its 1966 opening, you would almost certainly come across one of three custom, geometric-style trash cans. While this artifact was fabricated in Los Angeles, this receptacle owes its unique design to Taliesin.
This receptacle was solely intended for indoor use and likely occupied highly-trafficked corners in Beaver Meadows. Note the rust-orange color, consistent with the modernist visual aesthetic embraced by Olgivanna Lloyd Wright. Its smooth, sleek surface reveals no seams, confirming the frame’s single solid cast. Secured in place by a metal pin, the angled lid swivels in to accept the visitor center’s waste.
Despite its utilitarian function, this trash can displays one of the most unique structural designs in the collection. In keeping with the same Wrightian architectural philosophy shaping the design of Beaver Meadows Visitor Center itself, the garbage can’s appearance exhibits a compelling mixture of artificiality and naturalness. Like Mission 66’s modernist architecture, the trash can’s simple design aesthetic does not draw much attention to itself, yet perhaps hints of the natural world imbued in its form served as a slight visual cue that compelled guests to leave the visitor center and explore the wider park.

Condition and Design Aesthetic

Park records do not indicate when this individual unit was retired, though its cracked and weathered fiberglass exterior suggests that it remained in service for many years. The frame itself is comprised of a single solid cast, with the only component part being an angled swivel lid secured by a metal pin. Most of the fractures occur along the fragile upper rim that encircles the lid. Years of heavy use have exposed the white interior beneath the orange veneer. The bottom corners of the can are also heavily chipped and worn down, implying that it was frequently moved around. This damage was likely exacerbated by the need to physically lift the bulky unit up and set it down elsewhere in order to access and replace the interior garbage bag. Although the trash can’s solid design leaves it functional, its cracked appearance and inaccessibility were likely the main contributors to its retirement.

Despite its unglamorous utilitarian function, this trash can displays one of the most unique structural designs in the collection. Although clearly manufactured, its angular features and gritty color scheme are somewhat reminiscent of the countless red boulders scattered throughout Rocky Mountain National Park (and embedded in the exterior walls of the Beaver Meadows facility).


Collection Number

ROMO #21447

Date of Requisition

May 4, 1966


Fiberglass; Metal


20” L x 20” W x 37 H | 50.8 x 50. 8 x 93.98


Custom-made, from Architectural Pottery

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