Happy 50th Birthday, Big Ole!

June 30, 2015    //    James Feist

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Talk about aging well! Our famed and beloved Viking statue, Big Ole, turns 50 years old this year. There could be a few different dates to use for his actual date of birth, but for the purpose of fun we will go with the date of July 4th as stated in the intriguing and entertaining book “The Big Ole Legend.” Big Ole probably thought he could sneak past this milestone without notice but….not so fast big guy! So, to celebrate Alexandria’s 50 years with our favorite Viking, we have a special photo collection and history to share in honor of our Ole! A special thanks to the Douglas County Historical Society for providing the photos and history!
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.

Big Ole at the World's Fair in New York, May 1965. Notice anything different about his shield? Photo courtesy of Douglas County Historical Society.
Big Ole at the World’s Fair in New York, May 1965. Notice anything different about his shield? Photo courtesy of Douglas County Historical Society.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Feist