Giant Pioneer Woman.

Giant Pioneer Woman

Field review by the editors.

Falcon Heights, Minnesota

Norman Anderson of Minnesota has fallen into obscurity, which is a shame. He was an early user of fiberglass over a sculptural filler to make relatively inexpensive, durable giant statues, and he had some talent. In 1954 he created the big Smokey Bear in International Falls, and in 1958 he sculpted this Pioneer Woman.

Roughly 25 feet tall and undernourished, wearing a hood and a shawl, carrying a book (probably a Bible), she was built as part of Minnesota's centennial celebration and stood on the State Fairgrounds. "Dedicated to the Women of Minnesota," reads the plaque on her base. The notion that the statue should depict a 1958 woman was probably never considered.

Old photos show that the statue originally had a shiny copper-colored exterior; subsequent makeovers have given the woman a more subdued look.

Anderson built another statue for the 1958 State Fair: a King Neptune, 26 feet tall. Anderson's choice of materials, however, was combustable, and Neptune burned up in 1963. Other sculptures by Anderson may have suffered similar fates. It's impressive that the Pioneer Woman has lasted this long.

Giant Pioneer Woman

Ramberg Center

Address:
1271 Underwood St., Falcon Heights, MN
Directions:
From MN-51 turn west at the stoplight onto Dan Patch Ave. Drive through the State Fair gates, then drive three blocks. Turn left at the French Fries building onto Underwood St. Drive two blocks. You'll see the statue on the right, in front of the Ramberg Center.
Admission:
Free except during the State Fair.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Fairchild the State Fair GopherFairchild the State Fair Gopher, Falcon Heights, MN - < 1 mi.
Forgotten Joyce Kilmer Memorial FireplaceForgotten Joyce Kilmer Memorial Fireplace, St. Paul, MN - < 1 mi.
Can Can Wonderland: Mini-GolfCan Can Wonderland: Mini-Golf, St. Paul, MN - 1 mi.
In the region:
Witch Hat Water Tower, Minneapolis, MN - 2 mi.

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