Fremont Troll

The Fremont Troll (also known as The Troll, or the Troll Under the Bridge) is a piece of public art in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, Washington in the United States.

The Troll is a mixed media colossal statue, located on N. 36th Street at Troll Avenue N., under the north end of the Aurora Bridge. It is clutching an actual Volkswagen Beetle, as if it had just swiped it from the roadway above. The vehicle has a California license plate. The Troll was sculpted by four local artists: Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter, and Ross Whitehead. He is interactive—visitors are encouraged to clamber on him or try to poke out his one good eye (a hubcap). The Troll is 5.5 m (18 ft) high, weighs 6,000 kg (13,000 lb), and is made of steel rebar, wire, and concrete.
Aurora Avenue North was renamed "Troll Avenue" in its honor in 2005 and the troll was entered in the soapbox derby in 2007.

The piece was the winner of a competition sponsored by the Fremont Arts Council in 1990, in part with the goal of rehabilitating the area under the bridge which was becoming a dumping ground and haven for drug dealers. It was built later that same year. The idea of a troll living under a bridge is derived from the Scandinavian folk tale "Three Billy Goats Gruff."


Fremont has always been a vague and mysterious place. Some of the old timers here will tell you there were troll sightings ever since the Aurora Bridge went up in '32. Of course, nowadays there's plenty of sightings. It seems the sculpture has made Fremont into a regular magnet for Trolls, especially around the summer solstice and Halloween.

Historically, trolls are part of Scandinavian folklore. They were found either as dwarfs or giants (yes, as big as this one) living in caves, by the sea, in the forest or under bridges. They lived in clans or families and were characterized as being ferocious, ugly creatures fond of eating human flesh (and even the occasional Volkswagen). Most trolls used to dwell in dark places because they cannot tolerate sunlight. (Sunscreen has now changed all this.) They are usually grey or green in color, and sometimes scaly. Trolls are described as having monstrously ugly faces, enormous noses, arms that hang below their knees. They are known to be very strong and powerful. Trolls are fascinated by jewelry in general, gold, silver and shiny things on cars in particular. They are also attracted to small children and luminous women. Trolls often live to be very old. They are known to be incorrigibly mischievous pranksters by nature.

The Troll Monument
It all started in 1989 when our local Fremont Arts Council was approached about doing something more imaginative with the space under the Aurora bridge other than letting it turn into an urban grotto and tire dump. Encouraged by the prospect of support and funding, a national competition was organized to select the best ideas. Arts Council activists Barbara Luecke, Roger Wheeler, Peter Beavis, Peter Toms and Denise Fogelman juried the field down to five finalists who were then commissioned to create models that would be voted on by the community at the Fremont Fair.

The Troll created by a team led by sculptor Steve Badanes was voted the overwhelming favorite. A city matching grant was successful in funding the project. Thus, the Fremont Troll came to be. Made from rebar steel, wire and 2 tons of messy ferroconcrete, the Troll monument took about 7 weeks to complete.

Watch Your Car Parts
Fremont's neighborhood trolls have come a long way from the terrifying Trolls of legend. They have, in fact, become quite civilized, fun loving local celebrities. If you're lucky, you'll get to see one. Trolls love to cavort in parades and share an endless passion for dance and any kind of festivities. They aren't interested in eating people anymore, but have been known to take entire cars apart looking for shiny bits inside. So, a word of caution; it's best to hide any car parts you might have about your person and be sure to park your vehicles as far away from the Troll as you can.

- Locations - The United States - Seattle, Washington -