Reports of troll activity in Fremont, a neighborhood of Seattle, Washington were rampant since the 1930’s. On a recent trip to Seattle we decided to visit Fremont in search of the famous troll. Located under the Aurora Bridge lies a large art installation created in 1990 when the legend of troll activity was confirmed and cemented in history.
How The Troll Came Into Existence
Seattle started the Neighborhood Matching Fund in 1989, which give residents more decision-making when it came to improvements and projects within their communities. The Fremont Art Council held a competition the same year to create art installations for neighborhood improvements utilizing this fund. Steve Badanes, along with, Will Martin, Ross Whitehead, and Donna Walter won the competition with their troll under the bridge concept, that was decided by a public vote.
Inspiration and Meaning
Inspiration stemmed from the folktale Billy Goat’s Gruff, a story about three billy goats who have to pass a bridge guarded by a troll. When the structure was designed and created Fremont began to undergo changes, as companies and developers moved into this artsy community. Rent and property value increased as the neighborhood shifted. The Fremont Troll is a symbol of resistance to this change.
The Fremont Troll is made from rebar steel, sand, wire and two tons of ferroconcrete. It stands 18 feet tall, has a shiny metal eye, and is crushing a Volkswagen Beetle in his left hand. Construction took a couple of months and cost approximately $20,000.
My Trip to the Troll
We visited the Fremont neighborhood on a Sunday morning right before the sun rose. There was a crisp breeze in the air and fog encased the neighborhood as we walked under the bridge toward the trolls location. It was larger than I anticipated from the photos viewed online and with the timing of our arrival there was not a sole on the street. Climbing on the structure was easy and is encouraged by the creators. Without a crowd we were able to take a nice picture that made a great souvenir.
After about a half an hour a friendly local walked his dog near us and explained in recent years an increased number of tourists have visited. Once the sun rose, he was correct. Hordes of people began to visit, as cars stopped and people jumped out to take photos. The Troll was covered with people and would have made taking a good photo and climbing more difficult.
This is a definite stop I would recommend when visiting Seattle. We decided to stop at this neighborhood on a Sunday to also visit the Fremont Market (Sunday only), which was about a 10 minute walk from the Troll. The market is spread over two or three streets with vendors selling graphic tees, vintage items, food, and more.
Visit the Troll on an early Sunday morning with a cup of coffee, take a walk to the Fremont Market, and venture around this great neighborhood looking for lunch options.
On a scale of 1-5, I would rate this roadside stop as a solid 5. It is free, fun, and unique.