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Willmar, Minnesota: Golden Chief Kandiyohi Statue

A unique, all-gold, serious-looking big Indian, holding a fish.

505 Becker Ave. SW, Willmar, MN
Courthouse Square, at the corner of Becker Ave. and 5th St. SW.
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Chief Kandiyohi's fish.

Chief Kandiyohi Statue

Chief Kandiyohi is holding buffalo fish. Legend has it that when the first explorers arrived in this region, they asked the Indians what this area was called. The natives misunderstood, and thought the men were asking what kind of fish were in a local lake. "Kandiyohi" is Dakota for "where the buffalo fish come," or, loosely translated, "there are buffalo fish."

[Duke, 12/26/2016]

Chief Kandiyohi Statue

Chief Kandiyohi Statue

Willmar is the county seat of Kandiyohi County, so it is unsurprising that the place is equipped with a monument to their patron, an Indian represented as a fisherman wielding a peavey. What is surprising is that the golden statue is not still gracing the roof of some financial institution.

From the marker at the present location of the statue:

This Indian image first became part of Willmar in 1915, when it appeared as the Kandiyohi County Bank symbol. That same year, artist Eben E. Lawson, commissioned by the bank, created "Kandiyohi," a smaller sculpture which was the basis for this larger statue.

In 1929, "Chief Kandiyohi" (a nickname the Indian symbol received, although there never really was a chief by that name) found a home with the Bank of Willmar following several bank mergers.

Bank of Willmar President Norman Tallakson contracted to have the 17-foot statue made in 1956. It was mounted on the bank overlooking Litchfield Avenue for 27 years.

On July 25, 1983, the statue was moved to this site, after it was donated to the City of Willmar and Kandiyohi County by First American Bank and Trust of Willmar.

[Chuck Rhode, 05/31/2005]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Great Northern LocomotiveGreat Northern Locomotive, Willmar, MN - < 1 mi.
World's Largest CrowWorld's Largest Crow, Belgrade, MN - 22 mi.
Giant Corn GazeboGiant Corn Gazebo, Olivia, MN - 24 mi.
In the region:
Cosmic-Themed Town, Cosmos, MN - 21 mi.

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