Los Angeles sculpture missing 50 years found thanks to single book reference

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A sculpture that sat outside the Los Angeles Central Library from 1926 to 1969 made a mysterious disappearance. Fifty years later, its been found

The Well of the Scribes went missing in 1969 when gardens were demolished to make way for a surface parking lot.

"The gardens were fortunately restored in 1993, but the well of the scribes went missing," said City Librarian John Szabo.

A single reference of the well in Susan Orlean's "The Library Book" led journalists to dig for answers.

Brandon Reynolds wrote an article about it for Alta magazine after his managing editor was intrigued.

"We looked through documents and the city didn't have any paperwork on it," Reynolds said. "People who were more in-the-know than I, said, 'Oh, it's probably been melted down.'"

Then, an email came.

"We were thrilled to receive an email just over a month ago from an antiques dealer in Bisbee, Arizona who indicated he might have a portion of the well," Szabo said.

He flew to Tucson and drove to Bisbee where the well had been for a decade and he saw it for the first time.

"I was completely speechless. I dropped to the floor to look at it, to touch it, to see it. I'd seen it in photos in books before but to see it close-up was a magical, breathtaking experience," Szabo said.

It's unclear how it made its way there but it was finally returned home and unveiled Friday. It's part of the library's theme, "The Light of Learning."

"On this piece we see six scribes from the Americas and from Europe," he explained.

They're hopeful to recover the second half with the Eastern scribes, and the center Pegasus.

"We've always been hopeful but I think we're especially hopeful now that part of it has been discovered, that we might find the other two pieces."

Anyone with any information on the missing pieces can email them.
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