The Fremont Troll is an 18-foot tall shaggy-haired sculpture that lurks beneath the north end of the Aurora Ave. Bridge (officially the George Washington Bridge) at N. 36th & Troll Ave. N. in Seattle WA.
According to Scandinavian folklore, trolls live under bridges and seek tribute from those who cross over their home. In the case of the Fremont Troll, it holds an actual Volkswagen Beetle (replete with California license plate) in its left hand, apparently seized from some sorry soul who refused to pay the appropriate toll to the Fremont Troll, whose one good eye is a shiny hubcap.
The whimsical sculpture is the product of four local artists: Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter and Ross Whitehead who won the Fremont Arts Council competition in 1989 to create the piece of public art. Built in 1990, the troll attracts thousands of tourist annually who like climb the structure and have their pictures taken with the beloved icon.
The Troll project employed a number of volunteer laborers who helped clear the area, dig the foundation and tie the wire mesh over the statue’s steel frame. According to Whitehead, one of the four artists who come up with the idea for the sculpture, “We used 80 sacks of cement and 7 yards of sand on the upper structure of the troll, including the skin and hair, and, I believe, two yards of concrete for the foundation.”
The Volkswagen Beetle originally contained a time capsule of Elvis memorabilia but when vandals stole the license plate the time capsule was removed. The dozen concrete columns supporting the area near the Fremont Troll under the Aurora Bridge is known as the Hall of Giants.
Hale’s Ales, based in Fremont, produces “Troll Porter”, a beer named after the Fremont Troll.
The Fremont Troll was featured in the romantic comedy film “Ten Things I Hate About You” (1999).
In 2005, Aurora Avenue North spanning the underside of the bridge was renamed Troll Avenue.
On 31 October every year, the Fremont community celebrates a “Trollaween” party in honor of their beloved troll that winds its way through the heart of the Fremont community.
To get to the Troll, travel along North 36th Street until you come to the junction of Troll Avenue. You can’t miss the Troll as it is right under the bridge of this junction.
The Fremont Troll
N 36th St and Troll Avenue N.
Seattle, WA 98103