The Fremont Troll

Field review by the editors.

Seattle, Washington

The Fremont troll -- a big, fearsome, car-crushing bruiser -- took up residence under the north end of the Aurora bridge on Halloween 1990. He was sculpted by house builder Steve Badanes -- who had never made a statue before -- two of his University of Washington architecture students, Will Martin and Ross Whitehead, and his then-girlfriend Donna Walter. Badanes's design for head-and-shoulders sculpture won a contest sponsored by the Fremont Arts Council.


The shaggy troll, 18 feet tall, glares southward with his shiny metal eye -- a Volkswagen Beetle hubcap. In his left hand he crushes the rest of the old-style Beetle, which originally contained a time capsule of Elvis memorabilia; it was removed after the car was vandalized and the California license plate was stolen (The crushed car and out-of-state plate were meant as protests against "outsider" development). There are plenty of places to pose, and interaction with the troll is encouraged as long as you're respectful.

The community pays tribute to the troll every October 31st with a mobile "Troll-o-ween" party, starting under the bridge and wandering to other funky art sites and events in Fremont. Of which there are plenty: Fremont is also home to the largest Lenin statue in the U.S.

Every few years something weird happens in the troll's vicinity to being it back into the news. In 1998, for example, a man shot a bus driver and ran the bus off the Aurora bridge, crashing on top of an apartment building adjacent to the troll -- for a while you could still see evidence of the impact. In late 2013 over a dozen bloody sheep skulls mysteriously appeared in a yard adjacent to the troll, perhaps the remains of its midnight snack.

Also see: Creatures Guide: Troll

The Fremont Troll

N 36th St., Seattle, WA
Under the Aurora Ave. Bridge -- sometimes called the George Washington Bridge -- at N. 36th Street. Counterintuitively, the Fremont Troll is not under the nearby Fremont bridge.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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