Without a plaque or other indicator, the hidden troll sculpture of Wichita, Kansas lays in wait, chained beneath an unassuming storm grate.
Known as “The Wichita Troll” for lack of a proper name, this gruesome sculpture is a well-kept local secret. Visitors walking by it (or even over it) on the sidewalk during the day are likely to miss it entirely, but at night a sickly green light illuminates the seven-foot tall creature. With a large, grotesque head and spindly appendages clothed in cobbled together black fabric, the troll stares up out of the grate with a look of rage for being chained in his industrial jail.
The work was installed in 2007 by local artist Connie Ernatt as part of an effort to revitalize their riverside area. Ernatt has contributed a number of works to the Wichita area, but her toothy, bronze monster may be the most unknown by design. The statue does not seem to appear in guide books, and its existence is only sparsely noted online. Given that the work has no formal indicators pointing to its existence, mystery seems to be an essential part of the work.
In 2012 the troll was vandalized when someone stole one of the creature’s arms, but it was promptly repaired. It seems that the fabled regenerative properties of trolls are no mere myth.
Know Before You Go
Park in the lot east of the Westar Power building—don’t park in their lot, it is heavily surveilled. Follow the trail towards the river and make a right. Walk past the power building to find the storm drain.