Pine City, Minnesota: Tall Voyageur StatuePays tribute to the bearded, buckskin-wearing French paddlers that explored the region. "Francois" is carved from redwood, not pine.
- Main St. N., Pine City, MN
- Voyageur Park. On the west side of Main St. N./6th St. SW, between 1st Ave. NW and the north bank of the Snake River.
Visitor Tips and News About Tall Voyageur Statue
Christmastime with the Voyageur. Quick and easy stop with a city park, boat landing and county fairgrounds. Recommended stop for a quick break and to stretch your legs.[Gary Hopkins, 12/25/2012]
It began as a 42-foot tall redwood log. Resident Nancy Mach approached the sculptor, Dennis Roghair, about creating a large statue tied in with the theme of the nearby NorthWest Company Fur Post, a Minnesota Historical Society site.
The year was 1991. It was anticipated to take three weeks to complete the project; the goal was to have it complete by the annual Fall Rendezvous (now called the Festival of the Voyageur).
First, Mr. Roghair had to secure the log, which he had been working to get for years from Sylvestor's Lumber Yard in Isanti, Minn. The lumber yard eventually donated the log to the cause, valued at $20,000 (The transfer was actually from Mr. Vernon Sylvestor of East Bethel, Minn., to the Friends of the NorthWest Company Fur Post). The redwood log came from California, originally purchased by an Anoka, Minn., restaurant in approximately the 1940s. Patrons would take their photo with the large piece of wood, which spanned over seven feet in diameter.
After leaving Anoka, the log traveled about the State due to various sales and ended up at the aforementioned lumber yard.The statue was carved by Mr. Roghair using only measurement tools and a chainsaw. The City of Pine City budgeted $15,000 toward the cost of the carving and the local community fundraised for the remaining costs of approximately $26,000 (total costs included $22,000 for labor and materials and $4,000 for construction of a field-stone base or pad for the carving). The voyageur statue ended up being completed on November 3, 1992. Delays were attributed partially to fundraising. At one time, there was discussion about scaling back on the height of the statue to save costs, but that became too unpopular across the community.
Francois is the official name of the statue. Another name he has been given is Pierre. Some locals in the community say his facial features strikingly resemble the late Johanna Cox, a longtime resident of the city. A six-foot tall, life-sized version of the statue was carved as well. It once sat at the municipal building at Wiseman Square, in the rotunda, but was relocated due to the library expansion in 2011.
A miniature version of the statue was also carved and graces the desk of the Pine City mayor.[Nathan Johnson, 02/04/2012]
Fun fact: In December, the Voyageur sports a super-sized Santa Hat.[B.C.M., 02/25/2007]
Pine City's "Voyageur" stands watch over the Snake River, Cross Lake and historic downtown Pine City, MN (pop. 3,255).
The 35-foot tall redwood voyageur statue, carved by renowned chainsaw sculptor Dennis Roghair, welcomes visitors to the "Northwoods" as they leave downtown Pine City on "Old Hwy. 61." Located in Riverside Park, the Voyageur is dedicated to the history of the early settlers of the Pine County area. It marks the city's beginnings as a trading post for the French Voyageurs and Indians.
The odd thing about this statue is that it is made of redwood instead of Minnesota pine.[Nathan Johnson, 02/03/2007]
Note: Pine City is not made out of pine, either.
Large redwood voyageur located at Riverside Park in Pine City, MN. Riverside Park is located near I-35 just north of downtown Pine City, off of highway 361.[Tiffany Joy Ernst, 08/10/2003]