These are creations from 1986 by Wolf Creek, a folk art studio based in Eldora, Iowa. Wolf Creek has been producing delightfully primitive hand-carved figures since 1978 when a young entrepreneur named Rick Sharp began producing a line of wood toys in his hometown of Beaman, Iowa. Sharp named his company after the creek that runs through the town and hired local retirees as his production workers. The wide range of handcrafted products he began marketing included carved animals, wooden blocks, trains, cars and other items that eventually developed a national reputation in the gift industry. Today, Wolf Creek products can be found in Japan, Italy, France, England, Australia and Germany, as well as on the sets of such television shows a L.A. Law, the Wonder years, and Mr. Belvedere.In 1980, Sharp was approached at a trade show by representatives of the Lillian Vernon catalog company. They were interested in a bat-and-ball rack made by the company and asked Sharp if he could fill a shipment of 5000 in two weeks.Though t were only a few of this product on hand, he said "yes" and immediately went into production 24 hours a day to meet the request. During the production of this order, Wolf Creek was destroyed by fire and was forced to start rebuilding West of Beaman. In order to continue production, and meet the deadline for Lillian Vernon, the facility was operated from a barn until completion of the new facility. This was the turning point for Wolf Creek Products.In 1984, due to a need for more space, the firm moved into a 1921 vintage building in the nearby town of Eldora. Continuing to improve business and develop new products, the company's designers at the time, Carol Altenhein and David Rodemann, with input from other company employees, created many of Wolf Creek's unusual figures. Some of these same products are still being marketed today.Sadly, in 1986, the 36-year-old founder of Wolf Creek suffered an unexpected heart attack and died. At that point Rick's brother, Gregg Sharp, who had joined Wolf Creek in 1980 as a partner and business manager, restructured the company and sold a partial share of the business to Devan Direct Marketing, Inc., a firm based in Des Moines, Iowa. Instead of inexpensive items, the company began to produce more expensive products. One of the first of these being the 13-piece Noah's Ark set in 1987. The company then changed hands in 1993 when it was sold to an individual from Des Moines.
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