Talking Penguin Statue
Cut Bank, Montana
Cut Bank is a small town on US Highway 2, the quickest route between I-15 and Glacier National Park. If the park has glaciers, it stands to reason that this region is colder than most of the rest of the U.S. -- hence Cut Bank's claim to be the "Coldest Spot in the Nation" (ignoring Alaska, of course).
Cut Bank gives substance to its boast with a giant penguin statue, 27 feet tall, 10,000 pounds of concrete over a metal frame. The sculpture, by Ron Gustafson, is in a style and made of material that might make it appear to be a classic -- 70 or 80 years old. But it was built more recently, in 1989. And it has a hidden feature -- when working -- it talks!
Other towns claim dominion in the subzero battle, including International Falls, Minnesota, the so-called "Icebox of the Nation." Weather data shows that the town of Stanley, Idaho, is often the coldest place in the lower 48. But these rivals apparently never warm up enough to go outside and build a statue. For our cold cash, Cut Bank deserves the frosty title.