Why Is The Enchanted Highway So Special?
The Enchanted Highway of North Dakota consists of the world’s largest scrap metal statuaries and concrete sculptures constructed at intervals along the 32-mile stretch highway. In North Dakota, these giant sculptures are breathtaking tourist attractions due to their scale and number. The two-lane highway begins at Exit 72 on I-94 near Gladstone and terminates 32 miles down the road in the small town of Regent. The giant metal sculptures appear along the county highway, with each one of them having a parking area for those wishing to stop by. At the beginning of the highway is the ‘Geese in Flight’ metal figure found at Exit-72. Other sculptures include “Teddy Rides Again," "World's Largest Tin Family," "Grasshoppers in the Field," "Pheasants on the Prairie," "Fisherman's Dream” and "Deer Crossing". Aside from being attraction sites, nearby towns such as Regent have grown significantly to include numerous high-class restaurants and gift shops with exclusive services.
How The Sculptures Along The Enchanted Highway Came To Be
The town of Regent was quickly dying and becoming depopulated over the course of time. It was isolated from the rest of the towns nearby and was thirty miles south of the nearest major highway. If the trend continued, the town would eventually become deserted. To bring the town to life, something unique had to be done.
Gary Greff, a metal sculptor, and retired teacher came up with a masterplan to build ten giant metal structures that would attract tourists to the town. The work began in 1990, with the most famous giant scrap metal sculpture going up in 2001, called the “Geese in Flight”. Gary’s plan was to create giant sculptures with picnic areas and playground facilities and place each one of them a few miles along the highway. Seven sculptures have been successfully completed with an additional sculpture along I-94 which is essentially an artistic billboard that directs travelers to head south into Regent. The Geese in flight metal sculpture claims to be the world’s largest outdoor sculpture. The seventh and most complex structure is the “Fisherman’s dream” which was completed in early 2007 and consists of a metallic fish structure leaping through a metal pond surface 70 feet high. The World’s largest grasshopper structure was completed in 1999. Three miles north of Regent is a depiction of Teddy Roosevelt riding a bucking horse and a Tin family is just 1.5 miles away from the town.
Bigger Plans In The Future
Gary does all the maintenance by himself by cutting grass under the statues and ensuring that the fencing is in good condition. With a little help from the local farmers, Gary continues to build along the Enchanted highway. A local boy scout troop helped with some of the signs and installation of picnic tables.
Gary has a bigger plan which is to include a water park, restaurant, and amphitheater beside the statues. He also plans on expanding the gift shop in Regent and attract more cross-country road-trip goers by taking a detour into I-94 rather than I-90 which crosses through South Dakota. A more complex structure, the Spider Webs is still under construction and will consist of a giant spider made of metal arachnids.