Why is the enchanted highway so special?
The Enchanted North Dakota Highway consists of the world’s largest scrap metal statues and concrete sculptures built at 32-mile intervals. In North Dakota, these giant sculptures are stunning tourist attractions because of their size and number. The two-lane highway starts at Exit 72 on I-94 near Gladstone and ends 32 miles down the road in the small town of Regent. Huge metal sculptures appear along the country road and each one has a parking space for those who want to pass. At the beginning of the highway, there is a metal figure “Geese in Flight” at the exit-72. Other sculptures include “Teddy Rides Again,” “The World’s Largest Tin Family,” “Grasshoppers in the Field,” “Pheasants in the Prairie,” “Fisherman’s Dream,” and “Crossing the Deer.” In addition to being attractive places, nearby cities like Regent have grown significantly and include a number of top restaurants and souvenir shops with exclusive services.
How the sculptures were created along the Enchanted Highway
The city of Regent died quickly and eventually relaxed. It was isolated from the rest of the nearby towns and was thirty miles south of the nearest main highway. If the trend continued, the city would eventually be abandoned. In order for the city to come to life, something unique had to be done.
Gary Greff, a metal sculptor and retired teacher, has devised a master plan to build ten giant metal structures that will attract tourists to the city. Work began in 1990 with the most famous giant shotgun sculpture called “Geese in Flight” in 2001. Gary’s plan was to create huge sculptures with picnic areas and playgrounds and set each up a few miles along the highway. Seven sculptures have been successfully completed with an additional sculpture along I-94, which is essentially an art panel directing travelers south to Regent. The metal sculpture of a goose in flight claims to be the largest outdoor sculpture in the world. The seventh and most complex building is the “Fisherman’s Dream”, which was completed in early 2007, and consists of a metal fish structure jumping through a 70-meter-high metal pond. The largest construction of locusts in the world was completed in 1999. Three miles north of the Regent is shown Teddy Roosevelt riding a horse and the Tin family just 1.5 miles from town.
Bigger plans for the future
Gary maintains all the maintenance himself, mowing the grass under the statues and ensuring the fence is in good condition. With a little help from local farmers, Gary continues to build along the Enchanted Highway. A local scout company helped with some signs and setting up picnic tables.
Gary has a bigger plan to include a water park, a restaurant and an amphitheater in addition to the statues. It also plans to expand the souvenir shop in Regent and attract more visitors for road trips on the I-94 bypass instead of I-90, which crosses South Dakota. A more complex structure, a cobweb, is still under construction, and will consist of a giant spider made of metal spiders.