Mike Binkley knows a thing or two about roadside attractions. It’s his job, after all, to find the best of Minnesota for his bi-monthly “Finding Minnesota” reports. Check out a few of his favorite attractions below.
Pierre the Voyageur
Corner of Highway 61 and Stanley Road
Two Harbors, MN
Many travelers know him as the “giant with no pants.” Pierre the Voyageur has been overlooking Two Harbors for about 50 years along the North Shore. He is now adjusting to a new location outside the Earthwood Inn, about a mile south of town. His head now turns, giving him views of both Scenic 61 and the 61 Expressway. Eventually, his new owners hope to have him talking and greeting visitors.
Largest Albino Stag
As of July 2011, this leaping deer statue was white, but there was a movement among the locals to bring back some color. The whitewashing happened in 2010 after the natural colors had faded, it was time for a repainting, and organizers wanted to differentiate their deer from an identical statue in Deerwood, MN. The new white version has drawn children with wands, who think it resembles Harry Potter’s Patronus.
Honk the Moose
Carl Schuster Park
Biwabik, MN 55708
Based on a real life moose that became a children’s storybook character, this life-sized statue stands in Biwabik’s downtown park. In 2010, there was a bit of a scandal when Honk disappeared from his platform in Schuster Park. Unaware that city workers had removed the statue to have it refurbished, many townspeople believed it had been stolen. Some even started a Facebook page, “Bring Honk the Moose Home.”
World’s Largest Floating Loon
Anchored in Silver Lake, this 21-foot bird known as “Ginny” is believed to be the largest floating loon in the world. Ginny is one of the main attractions during Virginiaʼs annual Land of the Loon Festival in June, but she stays floating throughout the warmer months.
World’s Largest Iron Man
Highway 169 near Highway 73
This mammoth tribute to iron miners is said to be the third largest free-standing memorial in the United States (behind the Statue of Liberty and St. Louis Arch). It is 81 feet high and weighs 150 tons. You can find it across from the Minnesota Discovery Center.
Huge Hockey Stick and Puck
Monroe and Grant Streets
Weighing five tons, this Christian Brothers stick is believed to be the worldʼs largest free standing hockey stick. Itʼs part of Evelethʼs Hockey Plaza, with a large puck and giant mural on a nearby building. This stick replaced an earlier one that
was three feet shorter. Eveleth is also home to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.
Along Highway 61
Two Harbors, MN
Outside a gift shop where you can stock up on Beanie Babies, sweats and moccasins stands this 8-foot fiberglass rooster along Highway 61. Itʼs been there since 1963, although it has endured some near-death experiences. In 2003, someone smashed the statue by throwing it off a bridge. Before that, some college kids stole it and held it captive for a time. A hand-written sign on the roosterʼs back now reads: “No sitting!
Keep off. You are being watched.”
Near Broadway and St. Louis Avenue
Cloquet, MN 55720
Just beneath the Highway 33 bridge in Cloquet, youʼll find this giant fiberglass voyageur along with a replica fort, in Dunlap Island Park. It was dedicated in July of 1976 by then-Senator Hubert H. Humphrey. Itʼs a symbol of the early settlement in Carlton County.
Paul Bunyan’s Marble
900 West Lake Street
This enormous ball of granite is said to be one of the marbles that got away from Paul Bunyan as he and Babe the Blue Ox made their way across Minnesota. It weighs more than four tons and is on display at the Minnesota Museum of Mining.
— Mike Binkley has spent more than two decades covering news in the Twin Cities. Catch his bimonthly stories exploring the highlights of the state in Finding Minnesota.