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.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Giant Replica Runestone

November 24th, 2007 - Alexandria, MN

Giant Replica Runestone

We were being very Minnesotan on this day. Few things are more Minnesotan than looking at an oversized replica of a Viking artifact when it's 32 degrees outside and quite windy (but we weren't cold because we are hearty Minnesotans and hearty Minnesotans are never cold, rather it was "brisk" out) and then going for ice cream. It can be 20 below and Minnesotans will still line up for ice cream. It's the key to Dairy Queen's success as a Minnesota franchise.

I talked a bit about the Kensington Runestone earlier when I posted about Big Ole. In brief, a large stone was found by a farmer near Kensington, MN with Viking runes carved into it in the late 1800s. The stone provides evidence that the Vikings were here before Columbus. Many people believe this stone to be a fake. The Runestone Museum makes a strong case for the stone.

The inscription in English, according to the Holland Translation, is:

On the front of the stone - We are 8 Swedes and 22 Norwegians on an exploring journey from Vinland through the west. We had a camp by a lake with 2 rocky islands one day's trip north from this stone. We were out and fished one day. After we came home we found 10 of our men red with blood and dead. Ave Maria save us from evil.

On the side of the stone - We have 10 of our party by the sea to look after our ships 14 day's trip from this island. Year 1362.

Giant Replica Runestone

This replica is 5 times larger than the real runestone and is made from granite. It was commissioned by the Alexandria Kiwanis Club in 1951. Both the replica runestone and Big Ole went to the 1964 New York World's Fair.

We saw the power of the runestone first-hand. On November 4th, we were at the Minnesota Vikings game against the San Diego Chargers. The actual Kensington Runestone was on display on the plaza before the game (we didn't know this until they announced it before kickoff) and was on the sideline during the game. The Vikings dominated the Chargers with exceptional defense and a record setting performance by Adrian Peterson. That's right, the runestone was there as the Viking rookie set the NFL single-game rushing record. What more evidence do you need than that?

Tip: If you are visiting this replica stone on a Sunday, prepare yourself for the possibility of encountering church traffic.

Warning: Old People Driving Slowly

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