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.

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

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Paul Bunyan's Anchor, or The World's Largest Coat Hanger

September 22, 2009 - Ortonville, MN

Paul Bunyan's Anchor

We were a little disappointed with this one. We were hoping for something a bit more anchory. While I'm sure it's effective, it looks more like a hanger made from a huge slab of granite and some giant chain links.

The legend goes that Paul Bunyan was quite the fisherman and that Big Stone Lake was one of his favorite lakes to fish in. According to the plaque, "Big Stone Lake, visible here to the north-west, and the state's 10th largest, was one of Paul's favorites, not only for the variety and size of its fish, but because here he found a stone heavy enough to anchor his mammoth boat. Squared roughly from the region's famous granite, it weighed 110 tons." It goes on to say that this anchor was (conveniently) rediscovered on the eve of Minnesota's statehood centennial in 1958 and then was hoisted to the hilltop it now resides on as a memento of the state's 100th birthday.

Now this is a lovely story, but it seems to me that it has one Bunyan sized hole in it. Big Stone Lake is a large lake covering 12,610 acres and stretching 26 miles long, but it is a really shallow lake. At it's max, Big Stone Lake is only 16 feet deep. I would think a boat big enough to carry Paul alone would displace enough water that he would be scraping the bottom, if not completely stuck, but then you add a 110 ton rock too. I don't think that boat is going to be able to navigate Big Stone Lake. I wonder what happened to his boat... and boat trailer.

On the plus side. The anchor is next to the county museum. We didn't go in the actual museum, but they had some kind of wild bird exhibit thing in a separate building that was actually very interesting. They had a large and varied collection of taxidermied birds and an informational CD about 10 minutes long to guide you through the collection.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Big Stuff is Back

I mean it this time. We just got back from a vacation to beautiful Crane Lake in far northern Minnesota. We have a bunch of new blog material from this trip plus I have a couple of old ones that I never did post. So stay tuned.

Crane Lake