Celebrating Big Ole through the Years

March 15, 2017    //    Explore Alexandria

Ole collage

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Alexandria’s famed and beloved Viking statue Big Ole will turn 52 years old this April! He has had a long history over all those years in Alexandria, including slightly different looks and locations. During most of 2016 Big Ole underwent structural repairs and got a new paint coat, adding yet another chapter to his long history. Let’s take a look back at some of the past photos and history of our giant Viking as we welcome him to his first full year of his new look!  A special thanks to the Douglas County Historical Society for providing some photos and history!ole

Built in 1965 by a fiberglass sculptor named Gordon Schumaker, Big Ole was an addition to the Minnesota display at the World’s Fair in New York. The display also featured the Kensington Runestone in an animated scene to illustrate “Minnesota, Birthplace of America.” It took a special trailer to transport the 28 foot tall/4 ton Big Ole from Minneapolis to New York, but he arrived safe in time for the World’s Fair opening on April 21, 1965. The photo below is Big Ole at the World’s Fair in New York, May 1965.

1965 Worlds Fair
Photo courtesy of Douglas County Historical Society.
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