Summer Adventures: Fremont Troll
Be careful. Someone is lurking under the Fremont Bridge. Someone massive. Someone ugly. Someone grumpy.
It’s the Fremont Troll – one of Seattle’s most beloved pieces of art.
Finding his home under the Fremont Bridge in the self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe”– area natives say that Fremont has experienced troll sightings since the Aurora Bridge was built in 1932.
The story of the troll originates from Scandinavian folklore. These mystical creatures were known for living in dark spaces, in caves, under bridges or by the sea – with intolerance for sunlight (making Seattle their perfect habitat for the majority of the year). Trolls are characteristically ferocious and ugly – with long arms, enormous noses, ghastly eyes and a propensity to eat humans. Along with their ferocity came a more fun-loving, pranking side.
The idea for the Fremont Troll began in 1989 when the Fremont Arts Council wanted to add a piece of community art to the neighborhood. They held a national competition to come up with a unique and fitting idea, and after narrowing the field to their top 5 favorites, put the decision out at the Fremont Fair. The decision was made by a landslide. A team called Jersey Devils, led by sculptor Steve Badanes created the concept of the giant troll perched menacingly under the Fremont bridge. With the help of a grant, the project began, taking 7 weeks to complete the beast made of rebar and steel, wire and 2 tons of messy ferroconcrete. The completed giant now stands a menacing 18 feet high, and weighs in at over 13,000 pounds (so don’t mess with him!!!)
Along with the design of the troll, came its lasting victim- a genuine Volkswagen Bug held tightly in its ferocious grip. The car is complete with California tags- a passive jab at all of the “outsider development” that had been sweeping the area. The original Beetle actually held an Elvis time capsule, but it was removed after the car was vandalized and the plates stolen.
Now people can follow the troll on Facebook, visit year round, and stop by for any of the exciting events that happen – including Troll-a-ween hosted annually by Fremont Arts Council, and Shakespeare at the Troll.
- Bring your camera. There are photo ops galore.
- Bring some chalk. The neighbors love it when you give the old bugger a little extra pizazz.
- Parking can be tricky. The troll is a popular dude. Street parking is available, but it can be hit or miss so pack a little extra patience.
Check out what others are saying about the Fremont Troll:
“Nothing screams Seattle like a big, old troll clutching a VW bug under the Aurora Bridge.”- Yelp Review
“He's rather friendly and stays still while visitors climb all over him, snapping photos willy-nilly.” – Yelp Review
“I enjoyed myself here to see this magnificent sculpture troll clutching a VW beetle with California license plates.” – Yelp Review