It was so windy – it blew a voyageur's arm right off

A popular piece of roadside architecture in Two Harbors lost a limb in this week's high winds.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

This might sound like one of the tall tales told around the campfire after a hard day of paddling.

But the winds up by Lake Superior were so strong this week they blew a voyageur's arm off.

Honest.

His name is Pierre and he's 20 feet tall. He stands by Highway 61 on the edge of Two Harbors, welcoming travelers to town – and to the Earthwood Inn.

But late Monday the same storm system that caused icy roads in Duluth and spawned a couple of tornadoes further south blew Pierre's arm clean off.

Actually it didn't blow very far. The Lake County News Chronicle has video that shows the arm and Pierre's paddle looking forlorn on the ground next to the three-limbed voyageur, who still manages to crack a wry smile. (Warning: the video may be too intense for true lovers of roadside architecture.)

For comparison's sake, here's a "Before" pic from happier times.

Now, the harsh reality that came crashing down this week like a page out of Humpty-Dumpty's life story.

Ready for some good news?

The News Tribune got ahold of the owners of the Earthwood, who are out of town but learned about Pierre's injuries from an employee.

Sandra Fritz and Eric Potts tell the newspaper, whatever it takes to make Pierre whole again, they're ready to do it.

“We’ll definitely restore him, put him back together. We love Pierre, so we’ll get him all mended up and back to normal,” Fritz said.

Pierre's Story

Pierre's Facebook page notes that he's sometimes called the Pantsless Voyageur of Two Harbors because he has forsaken trousers. (Hey, he's got a long coat and high boots.)

He started his life in 1960 alongside the Voyageur Motel. The News Tribune reports Pierre is made of railroad ties, rebar, and concrete and says his legs were once telephone poles.

According to Roadside America, in his glory days Pierre's eyes glowed and moved, his head pivoted, and he would speak to visitors (with help from a motel employee positioned in a hidden booth).

While the Voyageur Motel no longer exists, the Earthwood's owners adopted Pierre in 2011. It took a crane and a flatbed truck to move him to his new home. A photo gallery on the Earthwood Inn's website documents Pierre's arrival.

He may be a one-armed sentry today, but we have a feeling Pierre's paddling days are not over.

Next Up

covid-19, coronavirus

Wisconsin reports record 104 deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday

That's roughly 10% of the total in the nation in a 24-hour period.

Drywall

Husband and wife sentenced for fraud scheme through their drywall firm

The Annandale pair bilked an insurance company out of more than $300,000.

ambulance

4 pedestrians suffer life-threatening injuries after being struck by vehicle

Two vehicles crashed into a car that was on the side of the road after striking a deer.

Marcus Carr

Gophers season preview: New lineup, deeper bench, more questions

Mathew Goldstein takes a deep dive into the murky waters of the college hoops season.

20201107_vivir-1151-Edit

Photos: ViV!R, Minneapolis' new Mexican cafe and shop, is now open

The team behind the acclaimed Popol Vuh have opened the cafe in the same space.

MasklessJudgesinWiscoyTownship

At Wiscoy Township's sole precinct, election judges ditched masks

Voter and Wiscoy resident Kaitlyn O'Connor took a photo of the judges after asking them to wear masks, she said

paisley park

Paisley Park to open pop-up shop at Mall of America

The new store is set to open on Black Friday.

blue-and-white-sorry-we-re-closed-wooden-signage-1171386

COVID-19: Here's what Gov. Walz, Republicans are proposing to help businesses

Once they come to an agreement, Walz will call a special session to pass the legislation.

Jacob Frey

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey planning to run for reelection

Frey said in a radio interview that 2020 has been a "horrible" year.

Monello

Monello, P.S. Steak will switch to sandwiches, noodles during shutdown

The Minneapolis eateries are pivoting during the closure of dine-in service.

Related

It was so windy – it blew a voyageur's arm right off

A popular piece of roadside architecture in Two Harbors lost a limb in this week's high winds.

The prison sentence for this sex criminal is St. Louis County's longest in decades

His two sentences will be served back-to-back, not at the same time.

3 men and a moose: Check out this lake rescue

A moose fell through the ice on a northeastern Minnesota lake – twice – on Monday.

3 men and a moose: Check out this lake rescue

A moose fell through the ice on a northeastern Minnesota lake – twice – on Monday.

Watch the full moon rise behind Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge

Hundreds of still photos taken over 45 minutes were used to make an 18-second video.

Watch the full moon rise behind Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge

Hundreds of still photos taken over 45 minutes were used to make an 18-second video.