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Replica Viking ship could soon have new home

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The replica Viking ship that has been on display for decades in Duluth’s Leif Erikson Park could finally have a new home by the end of this year.

The Duluth City Council Monday will take up a resolution to authorize the city to lease a triangular parcel of land for the 42-foot long ship from the Minnesota Department of Transportation at an annual cost of $100, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

According to Visit Duluth:

The Leif Erikson ship was built in Korgen in Northern Norway according to drawings from the 12th century and is a true type of the vessel that Leif Erikson used in the discovery of America in the year 997.

Some history on Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, founder of the first European settlement on what is now called Greenland.

Around A.D. 1000....According to one school of thought, Eriksson sailed off course on his way back to Greenland and landed on the North American continent, where he explored a region he called Vinland. He may also have sought out Vinland based on stories of an earlier voyage by an Icelandic trader. After spending the winter in Vinland, Leif sailed back to Greenland, and never returned to North American shores. He is generally believed to be the first European to reach the North American continent, nearly four centuries years before Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492.

The replica ship made history when it set sail in 1926 from Bergen, Norway, to Labrador and then to Boston. Visit Duluth says the voyage was intended to show how Vikings likely became the first Europeans to visit North America.

“It was a tremendous feat of sailing and a big deal at the time,” Neill Atkins told the Duluth News Tribune. “Four guys from Norway did something that no one else had in modern times.”

The paper reports preservationists have raised about $100,000 to build a glassed-in pavilion on the proposed site. Some preservationists say it could take another $50,000 to see the project through to completion.

The ship is currently in storage at the Lafarge cement terminal, where repairs to the ship are underway.

More on the ship from Visit Duluth:

The vessel is 42 feet long, 12 feet 9 inches beam and draws 4 feet of water....The vessel is built of Norway Pine. The Dragon's Head and Tail were made by the architect Gerhard Lilletvedt of Bergen. These are made of small pieces of Pine and are considered by other architects as being masterpieces. Duluthian Emil Olson purchased the ship from Captain Folgaro and crew soon after the voyage, and he donated the Leif Erikson to the City of Duluth. The ship was placed on display in Duluth's Lake Park, which was later named Leif Erikson Park around 1929.

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