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Big Gust.

Big Gust: Giant Policeman

Field review by the editors.

Grantsburg, Wisconsin

Big Gust (1872-1926) was once America's largest policeman. He was born Anders Gustaf Anderson in Sweden, but when he came to Grantsburg he stood 7.5 feet tall and weighed 360 pounds. According to the plaque at his statue's feet, which obscures the view of his size 18 shoes, Big Gust was not only the Grantsburg village marshal, but also the president of the fire department, and the town assessor and road supervisor. Unofficially, he was also the town dogcatcher and lamplighter.

Big Gust's statue, "sculpted to actual size by Alf Manley Olson," was carved from laminated basswood in 1980 and weighs as much as Big Gust himself. He's depicted wearing his policeman's uniform, and has a droopy mustache and heavy-lidded eyes. The statue is outdoors, but protected inside a glass-walled shelter with a wide roof to shed winter snow. A push button invites visitors to "listen to him tell his story."

Grantsburg has an annual Big Gust Days festival on the first weekend in June, and the town museum displays a giant crutch used by Big Gust after he slipped on ice in front of the firehouse. He's buried in Riverside Cemetery, under a headstone engraved "Big Gust."

Big Gust in 1910.

Big Gust: Giant Policeman

416 S. Pine St., Grantsburg, WI
South side of town, on the east side of Hwy F/S. Pine St. just north of its intersection with E. St. George Ave.
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