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.
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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.

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