Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Cal the tortoise gets a makeover

About 20 years ago, The Red Hat Society of California City had artist Russell Mitchell, and the Fremont Valley Museum and Center for the Arts, build a desert tortoise to locate at the entrance of the city. The Red Hat Ladies had the tortoise shell painted to resemble a red hat with a purple band.

To raise money, the tortoise shell had 3,200 signatures on it and the donations were given to Autism Speaks.

Recently, the Desert Rose Garden Club noticed the tortoise was in pretty bad shape. A damaged shell and the paint faded to white, Cal the Tortoise needed some work. With members of the garden club, an automobile painter Eduardo Cortez and city workers, Cal was removed, restored and replaced. Along with the new shell and paint, he got weed block and black volcanic rock with risers to stand on. The new colors were selected from a picture of an actual desert tortoise, so the new Cal would look authentic. A coat of clear gloss and copper flakes add to the overall shine. Now he's is back in front of the boulevard greeting people as they enter our city.