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The Happy Face Hill by the Freeway

By David Reyes

Photo Credit: David Reyes, Happy Face Hill overlooking the 118 freeway.

SIMI VALLEY, CA - When you are heading westbound on the 118 freeway towards Simi Valley, you’ll see on a hillside an official landmark that was made in 1998, the happy face hill. If you ask someone who lives here about it then the typical response includes how much it makes them happy.

Curt Solomon who has lived in Simi Valley for more than 50-years says that he’s more impressed by how it was made. “It’s kind a unique never seen one before. That’s carved out of the natural shrubbery or out of the grass,” said Solomon.

This unique landmark was made by retired gardener Sonny Klamerus who said he's very proud to have made this landmark. “If you look up Happy Face Hill, you're going to get a picture of that. So that hill is a happy face because of me and I think that’s cool,” said Klamerus.

Photo Credit: Sonny Klamerus

Klamerus used his own equipment to make the face and it took him a couple of hours to complete it once he started it. He used Round Up in the Spring and later in the year he used his string trimmer to remove the dead foliage.

Right now Happy Face Hill is being maintained by the Simi Valley Rotary Club and Sonny says that he isn't happy with their redesign of the happy face.

“An artist doesn’t like his artwork changed,” said Klamerus. But the reason the Rotary Club took over the landmark was because Klamerus had financial trouble and couldn’t afford the gas to drive from his home in Northridge to Simi Valley.

Photo Credit: Sonny Klamerus

One of Sonny’s wishes is to go to the Simi Valley town council and ask them to survey residents about which design they prefer, the current design by the Rotary club or the Klamerus’ original design.

Whatever the outcome, Klamerus has a message for everyone who lives in Simi Valley. “Smile! And smile with vertical eyes and a real smile ear to ear. I did for you.”

David Reyes video report

David Reyes audio report

By David Reyes

Contributions: Sonny Klamerus and Curt Solomon

Photo: David Reyes and Sonny Klamerus

Video: David Reyes


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