Best of Seattle: The bizarre sculptures of the Artists Republic of Freemont (PHOTOS)

Welcome to Fremont– a small neighborhood in Northwest Seattle that feels like the center of the Earth.

Fremont residents march to their own beat, and the area is known as a counterculture hub. This is where Nirvana recorded Bleach, an album that forever changed music, for just $600 in a local home. It doesn’t faze Freemontians that their main throughway, the historic Fremont Bridge, opens 35 times a day for at least 5 minutes at a time. Ask a local whether this disrupts their lives and they will tell you to set your watch back 5 minutes, forward it by 5 minutes or just throw your watch away.

Fremont citizens have referred to their turf as “The Artists’ Republic of Fremont” since the 1970s. It’s a bold claim but is backed up by the neighborhood’s offbeat public art scene. One cannot turn a corner without uncovering a Fremont gem. These are our top 5 quirky landmarks in Seattle‘s most eccentric neighborhood.

Freemont Seattle Troll Sculpture

#5. Fremont Troll (1990)

The Fremont Troll is nestled away on top of a hill under the Aurora Bridge. Residents and tourists alike pay homage to the troll all year long. Since trolls are known as pranksters, it is wise for any resident or visitor to make friends with this 18-foot concrete giant. The most elaborate and mysterious ritual occurs at Troll-O-Ween (Halloween). In the clutch of the troll’s left hand is an actual Volkswagen beetle with a California license plate. Passerby, beware!

Freemont Seattle Lenin Sculpture

#4. Lenin Statue (1994)

Fremont is home to the largest Vladimir Lenin statue in the United Sates. The statue is both imposing and controversial. After the Soviet Union fell in 1989, this Lenin statue laid face down in a Czechoslovakian dump until rescued by an American entrepreneur. Eventually the 16-foot bronze statue found its way to a highly visible corner in Freemont, at 36th street. If you look closely, you’ll notice Lenin’s hands are painted red to symbolize the bloodshed during his reign.

Freemont Seattle Guidepost Sculpture

#3. The Center of the Universe guide post (1991)

This colorful sign backs up Fremont’s claim to being “The Center of the Universe.” Arrows point to such places as Rapunzel, Milky Way, Louvre, Taiwan and Noogie. While scientists may not agree that the corner of 35th and Fremont Ave is the center of the universe, Fremont proudly stakes it claim. And who doesn’t like a good old fashioned noogie?

Freemont Seattle Rocket Sculpture

#2. 1950’s Cold War Rocket (1994)

This massive, 53-foot, disarmed cold-war rocket stands tall on the corner of 36th and Evanston. The Rocket bears the Fremont crest and motto, “De Libertas Quirkas”– which means “Freedom to be Peculiar.” The Cold War relic reportedly emits a strong enough signal to power an FM radio station; it also spews out steam and flashes neon lights when in launch mode. Any volunteers for take-off?

Freemont Seattle Interurban Sculpture

#1. Waiting for Interurban Sculpture (1979)

Six humans and one dog have patiently been waiting for public transportation in Freemont for thirty five years. Someone should tell these cast iron sculptures that the once-popular Interurban bus stop is actually across the street. This Fremont landmark is truly unique since the public is invited to add their own decorations. In Freemont, everyone eventually gets their chance to display their creative side. The appearance of this sculptures changes over 100 times throughout the year, making it one of the most interactive street art pieces in the world.

About the Writer

Today’s contributor is New Jersey transplant Anthony Veglatte, who now calls Seattle home. He enjoys exploring the “Emerald City” and is developing expert knowledge of local Thai restaurants, micro brew pubs and speakeasy bars.

Anthony’s top advice for travelers? Stay in hostels!

Follow him on Twitter at @wholenessmoving.

>> Do you have a favorite attraction in Seattle’s Freemont neighborhood? If so, share your pick with other readers by leaving a comment below.

About Guest Writer

This guest post was written by a Downtown Traveler contributor. If you are interested in writing for us, visit the "contacts" page.