An 18-ft. tall troll made of cement clutches an old VW car underneath an overpass in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. The car is an actual Volkswagen Beetle encased in concrete, which used to be red and bear a California license plate.
The Troll was constructed in 1990 after winning a Fremont Arts Council competition for designs to improve the freeway underpass, which then was a dumping ground. He was sculpted by Steve Badanes, along with two of his University of Washington architecture students, Will Martin and Ross Whitehead, and Steve’s then-girlfriend Donna Walter.
The troll has had a rough go of it, and is often getting spray painted. One incident involved giving the troll green fingernails, tattoos, fangs, and a green eye.
The paint can’t be easily removed from the troll and to cover it a fresh layer of concrete is added every time, so the troll has been growing blobby concrete lumps. While painting it is poor form, climbing on it is encouraged.
October 31 is recognized as the Fremont Troll’s birthday. Known as Troll-o-Ween, it includes a celebration and stage performances open to the public.
Know Before You Go
The Troll is literally located under a bridge at the dead end of a street, so parking is tight. It's best to park a little farther out and enjoy the walk through the neighborhood to give the Troll a visit.