The Enchanted Highway, North Dakota

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The Enchanted Highway is a 32-mile stretch of highway starting at Exit 72 on Interstate 94, about 20 miles east of Dickinson, in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of North Dakota. The paved county highway, which begins near the town of Gladstone and terminates at Regent, features a collection of large scrap metal sculptures depicting geese, deer, pheasants, grasshoppers, Teddy Roosevelt, and even a complete Tin Family. The sculptures were created by retired school teacher Gary Greff, from the town of Regent, who did it in the hopes of putting his hometown prominently on the map and thus prevent it from fading away into obscurity.

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“Pheasants on the Prairie”, one of the sculptures on the Enchanted Highway. Photo credit

Small towns in the country were slowly being deserted and Gary Greff was worried about this growing trend. So beginning in 1990, he started creating massive metal sculptures that he planned to place along the Regency-Gladstone Road every few miles to arouse the curiosity of drivers and tourist using the road. Gary wants to create ten sculptures. So far, he has completed seven and the eighth one is reportedly in progress. All the sculptures face north, toward the oncoming traffic from the interstate, and each one is accompanied by a pull-out area with place for picnic and tourists to unwind. It was Gary’s idea to rename the road the Enchanted Highway.

Gary is helped by volunteers and local farmers who know about metal works and welding. Some farmers also gave him generous terms on leasing land to erect the work – something like $1 for 20 year lease, with renewal. Local boy scout troops and shop class have helped with some of the signs and picnic tables. But Gary does most of the work and all the maintenance. He cuts the grass under the statues, and builds the parking areas and fences.

Although Gary struggles for money and material for each construction, his dreams are big. Gary eventually wants to add a water park, restaurant, and even an amphitheater. So far he has managed to add a spectacular inn with 19 rooms which should bring him some revenue for all the troubles that he went through.

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“Geese in Flight” has been listed as the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world by the Guinness World Book of Records. The main structure is 154 feet wide and 110 feet tall. The largest goose has a wingspan of 30 feet. It was created in 2001. Photo credit

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“Deer Crossing” was constructed out of used oil well tanks and erected in 2002. The jumping buck is 75 feet tall and 60 feet long.  The doe is 50 feet long and 50 feet tall. Photo credit

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“Grasshoppers in the Field” was built in 1999. The structure is 60 feet long and 40 feet tall. Photo credit

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“Fisherman's Dream” includes 6 large fish of different sizes including a 60 or 70 foot leaping trout going after a giant dragonfly. Photo credit

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“Pheasants on the Prairie” is a giant rooster and hen and their three chicks. This work was erected between 1996 and 1997. Photo credit

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“Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again” is a 51-feet tall wire sculpture of Teddy Roosevelt made out of pipes. It was erected in 1993. Roosevelt is accompanied by a small wooden stage coach being pulled by horses. Photo credit

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“The Tin Family” consisting of a Dad, Mom and a Son, was erected in 1991. The tallest character, the Dad, is 45 feet tall. Photo credit

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Sources: ND Tourism / Roadside America / Less Beaten Paths

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1 comment:

  1. I wish I'd known about this when I was in Dickinson a couple of years ago.

    ReplyDelete

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