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Duluth's beloved 'Viking Ship' sailing toward a comeback on lakeshore

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The Leif Erikson has weathered its fair share of storms over the years, but it looks like the 42-foot Viking ship will finally return to its "homeport" in Duluth.

The ship, a replica styled after the vessels Scandinavian explorer Leif Erikson and other Vikings sailed in, may soon be on permanent display after a long absence from public view, reports the Duluth News Tribune.

According to the paper, the group behind the restoration effort – Save Our Ship – says they hope to begin construction on a glass display building in Leif Erikson Park this spring, funds permitting.

That the ship and the park share a name is no coincidence. The park was named for the vessel, which was built in Norway in 1926 and sailed to Duluth the following year, according to the Zenith City Archive. The site says it was then purchased by a local businessman and gifted to the city.

It remained in the park as a popular local attraction for decades, but the years were not kind to the little ship.

Zenith City notes that restoration efforts began in the 1980s, but a continual lack of funds kept the Leif Erikson from ever returning to her former glory.

Though she's currently sitting in mothballs in a storage facility away from the park, project organizers recently reported on their website that the city granted them a "zoning variance" greenlighting construction of the permanent display structure right near the ship's former home.

It will sit on corner of London Road and Superior Street, according to FOX 21. The station reports that construction could finish this fall.

Meanwhile, the restoration effort is accepting donations.

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