The Big Stuff Project

My wife and I are on a mission to visit all the oversized local landmarks throughout Minnesota. This blog chronicles those visits and covers other related topics.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cloquet Voyageur

June 25th, 2011 - Cloquet, MN

Cloquet Voyageur

There are various voyageur statues scattered across northern Minnesota. This one is located in Cloquet on an island in the St. Louis River. The plaque on it's base calls it "A Cloquet Bicentennial Project". It was dedicated on July 5th, 1976 by Senator Hubert H. Humphrey and Representative Jim Oberstar. It's made of fiberglass and is still in pretty good shape. Up close you can definitely see some wear and tear and some vandalism, but until you get pretty close to it it looks really good. It also didn't hurt that the sun was hitting it at a great angle for viewing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dala Horse - Cloquet

June 25th, 2011 - Cloquet, MN

Dala Horse

This oversized Dala horse stands in front of Berquist Imports, a Scandinavian gift shop, along the main road through Cloquet. A much larger one exists in Mora, MN. I don't have any information on this one. The statue itself is probably around 12 feet tall. For more on Dala horses, see the Mora post.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Buffalo House

June 25th, 2011 - Duluth, MN

Buffalo House

This giant buffalo on a trailer sits just off of I-35 southwest of Duluth. It's used as a sign for the Buffalo House restaurant and bar... and campground... and sports complex. The Buffalo House is down the road past the giant buffalo. The buffalo itself is not the prettiest giant buffalo I've ever seen. The road ditches around the buffalo were pretty wet, so we opted not to go up close. Instead we took this shot from the road and headed on to Cloquet.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fiberglass Moose of Minnesota

June 25th, 2011 - Moose Lake

Fiberglass Moose - Moose Lake

We came across a few large (nearly life-sized since moose are large anyway) fiberglass moose in northern Minnesota. The first was in Moose Lake. A moose is an obvious mascot for Moose Lake. It's located on the main road through town next to the tourist information building.

June 25th, 2011 - Biwabik

Honk The Moose

A very similar moose resides in Biwabik. This one, however, is based on a children's book. Honk The Moose was written in 1935 and was based on a true story about 2 boys who discovered a moose in the town of Biwabik. The boys called him Honk because of the honking noise he would make. Most of the characters in the book were based on actual residents of Biwabik. The book won some awards including the 1936 Newbery Medal Runner-Up. Back around 2001, the mayor of Biwabik acquired the rights to the story and brought it back into print.

The fiberglass Honk The Moose stands in a park in downtown Biwabik. The park also has a nice building for holding wedding receptions that can make you feel a little uncomfortable when you drove into town for the sole purpose of taking pictures of/with Honk but instead you're almost crashing a wedding. Not that that's what happened or anything...

July 1, 2011 - Karlstad

Moose Capital

Finally, a third moose stands in a park along Highway 59 in Karlstad. The city of Karlstad makes the claim of "Moose Capital of the North". Since moose are native to northern climates, this begs the question what is the Moose Capital of the South? Moose Lake? When your town is about a half hour drive from Canada, almost everything is "The South".

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"World's Largest Walleye"

June 25th, 2011 - Rush City

"World's Largest Walleye"

The sign next to this giant fiberglass fish makes the claim that it is the world's largest walleye. It's not. Not even close. Rush City also makes the claim as the Walleye Capital of the World. According to Roadside America, there are several other cities that make this very claim.

This fish was allegedly caught in Rush Lake by Paul Bunyan. The fish allegedly weighed 1999 pounds and 15.5 ounces, just shy of a ton. Paul allegedly used a 62 foot white pine for a rod, a 3 ton logger's winch for a reel, and a 1 inch manila rope for his line. If you're wondering what kind of bait to use to catch a giant fiberglass walleye, Paul used a 35 pound tiger muskie... allegedly.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bonus: World's Largest Totem Pole, Woodsy Owl, a fisherman, and a real castle

July 31 to August 4, 2010 - Northern California

World's Largest Totem Pole

This is the last old one before I get into the new ones from our recent trip. Last summer we went to visit my wife's sister and her husband who live in Eureka, CA. They were nice enough to take us to see the local big stuff.

The World's Largest Totem Pole resides in nearby McKinleyville. There are a number of places along the Pacific coast that claim the world's largest totem pole, often with some kind of qualifier like "from one log" or something. At 160 feet, this one is definitely a contender. It was carved from one continuous log and weighs 57,000 pounds. The base that holds it up weighs 214,000 pounds.

Our trip started by flying into Sacramento, where they drove down from Eureka to meet us. We spent that evening at the California State Fair, mostly because they had a beer fest that night. While exploring the fair grounds we came across a fiberglass Woodsy Owl.

Woodsy Owl

The next day we spent in the Napa Valley. One of our stops was a winery called Castello di Amorosa. It's a real castle. It was built using parts of old European castles and anything they couldn't find was built by hand to be as authentic as possible. It was pretty neat and well worth the tour admission. The wine was also very good. We ended up buying a few bottles.



Finally, while in Eureka we went to the harbor and saw a large fisherman statue. It's surrounded by water, so you can't go right up to it. It's a memorial statue and it honors those "whom the sea sustained...and those it claimed." It was dedicated in 1981.

Large Fisherman

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lou T. Fisk - World's Largest Codfish

September 22nd, 2009 - Madison, MN

Lou T. Fisk

In 1982 two Madison Chamber members suggested to the city council that Madison should be nicknamed the Lutefisk Capital of the United States. So, naturally, they ordered a 25-foot-long fiberglass codfish from F.A.S.T Corp. in Sparta, WI. The project costs $8,000 (a bargain) and was funded by the Madison Chamber of Commerce.

Lou was officially dedicated in a ceremony on June 23rd, 1983 where he was paraded through town and placed in Jacobson Park at the south end of town. Lou was designed to be placed on a travel trailer so he could continue to participate in parades. He has even traveled the country including stops in Madison, WI, Madison, OH, Madison, NJ, Madison, NY, and Madison, CT.

On July 31st, 2008 a powerful storm packing winds of over 100 mph knocked Lou off of his base damaging the fish. He was sent back to F.A.S.T. and repaired. The repairs took about 6 months.

Each November, as part of Norsefest, the town holds a lutefisk eating contest, so if you've been itching to stuff your face with some delicious lutefisk then you should travel to Madison in November.

City of Madison's Lou T. Fisk page