The Gloom Over Seattle
The Fremont Troll
The Fremont Troll (also known as The Troll, or the Troll Under the Bridge) is a piece of public art in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, Washington in the United States. The idea of a troll living under a bridge is derived from the Scandinavian folk tale “Three Billy Goats Gruff.”
The Troll is a mixed media colossal statue, located on N. 36th Street at Troll Avenue N., under the north end of the Aurora Bridge. Aurora Avenue North was renamed “Troll Avenue” in its honor in 2005. It is clutching an actual Volkswagen Beetle, as if it had just swiped it from the roadway above. The vehicle has a California license plate.
The piece was the winner of a competition sponsored by the Fremont Arts Council in 1990, in part with the goal of rehabilitating the area under the bridge which was becoming a dumping ground and haven for drug dealers. It was built later that same year. The Troll was sculpted by four local artists: Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter, and Ross Whitehead. He is interactive—visitors are encouraged to clamber on him or try to poke out his one good eye (a hubcap). The Troll is 5.5 m high, weighs two tons (1814 kg), and is made of steel rebar, wire, and concrete.
The artists have chosen to exercise their copyright to control commercial use of Troll images. Postcards, beer, and other products approved by the artists are commercially available, and use is free to non-profit organizations.