Lean On Lenin in Fremont
One of Fremont’s more unusual pieces of public art is a 16-foot-tall bronze statue of Bolshevik Russian Communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. The statue was constructed by a Slovak Bulgarian sculptor, Emil Venkov, on commission from the Soviet and Czechoslovak governments, and installed in Poprad, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), shortly before the fall of Czechoslovak communism during the 1989 Velvet Revolution. Lenin was quietly removed and was lying in a scrapyard to be sold as scrap metal when Washington resident Lewis E. Carpenter found it. The statue was cut into three pieces and shipped to the U.S. at a cost of $41,000. Amidst the uproar in Seattle caused by importing a statue of a communist leader, Lewis Carpenter was killed in a car accident, and a local foundry offered to move it from the Carpenter home to a public square; nowadays, Fremont residents whimsically decorate him in red lights for the holidays. If you take a fancy to it, it’s for sale: the asking price as of 2006 was $250,000.
By Stephanie Perry, AFAR Local Expert
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3526 Fremont Pl N, Seattle, WA 98103, USA