The Fremont Troll in Seattle, Washington
Deep in the heart of the Fremont neighborhood in beautiful Seattle, Washington, there lurks something dark and evil; something nobody had ever imagined… until 1990, at least. It is the Fremont Troll, and it has come for your Volkswagen Beetles.
The Fremont Troll is located underneath the north end of the Aurora Avenue Bridge in Seattle, and is the creative brain child of four artists: Steve Bandanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter, and Ross Whitehead. The Fremont Troll was created as a result of the Fremont Arts Council competition held in 1990. This competition was held in the spirit of cleaning up the area beneath the Aurora Avenue Bridge, which was becoming a wasteland of dumping and drug deals.
The Fremont Troll is a mixed media, outdoor sculpture; which includes an actual Volkswagen Beetle that the Troll has clutched in his left hand and a bright, shiny hubcap as his only good eye. He has become such a landmark that the City of Seattle voted in 2005, to rename a two block stretch of road Troll Avenue in honor of the Fremont Troll and what he stands for – all eighteen feet of him!
One of the best parts of the Fremont Troll sculpture is the simple fact that interaction is strongly encouraged. It is possible to climb all over the troll and pose for pictures, hang out, or just meet new people who have come to bask in his presence. When I first visited the Troll with my Mother, we ended up spending an hour there, chatting with other people and taking pictures for them.
To keep up this social aspect of this famous piece of Seattle art, the Fremont neighborhood has an annual art celebration every October 31, entitled Trolloween. This birthday celebration for the Fremont Troll begins in front of the guest of honor at Troll Avenue and winds its way along Fremont Street, stopping at other art sites and individual artist performances, until it finally ends at Fremont Bridge.
For more information on the Fremont Troll, and the many other artistic pieces in and around Fremont, visit the Fremont Arts Council website. In a city as artistically rich as Seattle, to have a community art sculpture that draws such attention and positive vibes, is a pretty big deal, and definitely worth checking out. My only words of advice, make sure you have plenty of time to chat, and make sure you bring a camera.