Wind damages ‘pantsless’ Minn. landmark

Wind damages ‘pantsless’ Minn. landmark
Sandra Fritz

Strong wind has been tearing through the Midwest, taking with it trash cans, power lines, and now part of a popular Minnesota landmark.

A community about a two-hour drive from the U.S.-Canada border experienced the monumental loss: Pierre the Voyageur’s arm and canoe paddle.

Sandra Fritz and Eric Potts, the owners of Earthwood Inn near Two Harbors, where 20-foot-tall Pierre has stood since 2011, were notified Tuesday about the damage by an employee, according to the Duluth News Tribune. The arm broke off about at the elbow, and the paddle fell down with it.

Now they have to figure out how to reassemble the nearly 60-year-old icon.

“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 told the News Tribune.

Built in 1960, Pierre was initially placed in front of a museum and gift shop in Two Harbors, the News Tribune reported. The statue was relocated via crane and flatbed trailer in 2011.

The roadside attraction is a symbol of the region’s history. Voyageurs (“travelers” in French) were French Canadians who played a critical role in the North American fur trade of the 18th and early 19th centuries, according to the Minnesota Historical Society. As skilled guides and strong paddlers, voyageurs assisted fur traders and explorers alike.