By Brooke Marshall
I-94 running through North Dakota isn’t exactly the most scenic highway in America. But there’s a surprise at Exit 72 – a 110-foot tall scrap metal sculpture of a flock of geese flying across a massive eye with an iris of gold.
“Geese in Flight” is the first of seven enormous scrap metal sculptures that make up The Enchanted Highway, a museum spanning 32 miles and three towns. It’s also the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world; look it up in the Guinness Book of World Records!
Each statue is a reflection of the culture and landscape of western North Dakota. There’s a grasshopper the length of two school buses, a pheasant the size of a whale shark and a three-and-a-half-story doe next to a five-story buck in mid-leap. Teddy Roosevelt makes an appearance, as does a 70-foot trout in a piece entitled “Fisherman’s Dream.”
The sculptures were created by Gary Greff, a retired school principal and native of Regent, the town at the terminus of the Enchanted Highway. Back in the 1980s, job opportunities had begun to dry up in his beloved hometown, so he decided to reinvent it as a tourist destination – never mind that he had no experience with art or welding.
Greff’s latest project, a 50-foot knight battling a dragon, sits just outside the Enchanted Castle motel (another of his brainchildren, and so named because… well, it’s literally a castle). Regent also has a gift shop where tourists can buy miniatures of their favorite sculptures.