Reporting Mike Binkley
BELGRADE, Minn. (WCCO) — Throughout history, the mysterious crow has often been viewed with suspicion and fear.
It is the mischievous scavenger, often associated with death. A group of crows is called “a murder.”
What, then, should we make of a place with a giant crow on the edge of town — just beyond its cemetery?
“It’s a nice quiet town,” said acting police chief Casey Jansky. “People get along.”
No curses or spells?
“No, not that I know of,” he said, with a smile.
In fact, people are quite proud of the crow, which is believed to be the world’s largest.
“With the base to the peak, it’s about 42 feet,” said George Borgerding, the CEO of the local bank. “So it’s big. It gets your attention.”
The big crow dates back to the late 80s, when Belgrade was getting ready to celebrate its centennial.
Town leaders wanted a monument to help the town stand out. And it’s done that.
“When you go out of town and tell where you’re from, they say, ‘Oh, that’s the town with the crow,’” said Phil Olson, curator of Belgrade’s Centennial Museum.
They chose a crow for the town’s monument because Belgrade is near the north fork of the Crow River, not far from Crow Lake. The statue is also in Crow Lake Township. Right across Highway 71 is Crow River Township.
“Yeah, we have Crow River church and that’s where I go,” said Trish Thieschafer, who lives nearby. “So we go past the crow and go there. We are into crows around here.”
In fact, they like to point out that crows are among the smartest birds.
And since this giant one has been overlooking Belgrade, they’ve done just fine.
Just ask the man who was mayor at the time.
“Never heard of any black cloud over the town because of the crow,” said George Borgerding.
Nothing bad has happened since they put that up?
“Nothing that wouldn’t have happened anyway,” he said.
The big crow statue has had visitors from around the world — including six foreign countries just this summer.