The Fremont Troll – a massive sculpture hidden beneath the Aurora Bridge and clutching an actual Volkswagen Beetle

David Goran
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The Fremont Troll (also known as The Troll, or the Troll Under the Bridge) is a public sculpture in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, Washington in the United States, under the Aurora bridge that carries state route 99, in the neighborhood of Fremont. It was originally constructed in 1990 over a period of seven weeks by four local artists named Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter, and Ross Whitehead, and was sponsored by the Fremont Arts Council as part of a competition for a new art project.

Built in 1990, the troll attracts thousands of tourist annually. source

Built in 1990, the troll attracts thousands of tourist annually. Source: Megan/Flickr

 

It is 5.5 m (18 ft) high, weighs 6,000 kg (13,000 lb), and is made of steel rebar, wire, and concrete. source

It is 5.5 m (18 ft) high, weighs 6,000 kg (13,000 lb), and is made of steel rebar, wire, and concrete. Source: Kleran Lynam/Flickr

Many members of the community were invited to help build the sculpture. This massive sculpture is 5.5 m (18 ft) high, weighs 6,000 kg (13,000 lb), and is made of steel rebar, wire, and concrete. A long beard and shaggy hair hangs down to the ground past his sad mouth and single, shining eye. In his left hand, he crushes an old style Volkswagen 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.

Many members of the community were invited to help build the sculpture. source

Many members of the community were invited to help build the sculpture. Source: Ell Duke/Flickr

 

The Troll clutches a real Volkswagen Beetle in his right hand. Source: Scott Beale/Flickr

 

The crushed car and out-of-state plate were meant as protests against outsider development. source

The crushed car and out-of-state plate were meant as protests against outsiders development. Source: Angela n./Flickr

 

The Volkswagen Beetle originally contained a time capsule of Elvis memorabilia. source

The Volkswagen Beetle originally contained a time capsule of Elvis memorabilia. Source: Kim F/Flickr

In 2005, in honor of the sculpture, the segment of Aurora Avenue North under the bridge, running downhill from the Troll to North 34th Street was renamed “Troll Avenue”. The sculpture is a popular spot for photographs with many visitors posing beneath his giant hands.

In 2005, Aurora Avenue North spanning the underside of the bridge was renamed Troll Avenue. source

In 2005, Aurora Avenue North spanning the underside of the bridge was renamed Troll Avenue. Source: Scott Beale/Flickr

The community pays tribute to the troll every October 31st with a mobile “Troll-o-ween” party, some kind of a birthday party for the Fremont Troll, starting under the bridge. Trolloween’s performances have included variety/comedy shows, dramas of trolls, musicals about trolls, Greek myths, Dr. Faust, Dante’s Inferno, Scottish folktales, and Don Juan.