September 5, 2012
Been boning up on an Arizona original for our next installment of Outrageous Arizona. His paintings hang in my office and several others hang in the halls of the True West World Headquarters. Who is this crazy AZ guy?
The Cowboy's Dream
He was born in Philadelphia as Alonzo Megarge
in 1883. Inspired by a performance by Buffalo Bill's troup in
Philadelphia, Alonzo came to Arizona at age 13 and sought out the cowboy
life, eventually earning his spurs as foreman of Billy Cook's T.T.
Ranch near New River. After investing in a ranch and going bust he
decided to become an artist.
At some point he added an extra e to his last name and shortened his
first name to become Lon Megargee. Lon was married at least eight times
and his bio is almost pure BS (he claimed he was born in Tombstone
among other windys) but these colorful eccentricities only added to his
Arizona cowboy artist cred. As one wag put it, "Lon Megargee was exactly
what an Easterner thought a Westerner should be." In 1949 or 1950 he created
what some believe is his masterpiece "The Cowboy's Dream" for A-1 Beer. The entire series is very collectable and can be seen in many of my friend's homes and offices.
His painting of a cowboy giving his horse a drink out of his hat is still reproduced inside every Stetson hat.
addition to being an artist, Lon Megargee built several houses that are
today resorts (The Hermosa Inn in Phoenix and Rancho Manana in Cave
Creek). He died of a heart attack in Sedona in 1960 and his ashes were
scattered across the T.T. Ranch, thus fulfilling the cowboy's dream.
Yes, my kind of guy. Outrageous and full of it. Oh, and I like how he painted. . .
"He uses his paintbrush like a pistol."
—A review by Ball: "Lon Megargee—Maverick Painter"