Heavens to Murgatroyd! How embarrassing. I’ve been spelling this Minnesota exclamation Uf-dah, but I found out while playing tourist today that it’s really Uff-da, with or without the dash. After only twenty years of using it, I stand corrected.
I was off this morning to Fargo/Moorhead for some shopping. I’m not into shopping much, as my clothes can attest to, but I needed a city with big box stores, and Fargo, ND, is the closest one. I’ll tell you tomorrow what it was I couldn’t live without.
Fargo is an hour and a half drive away, so I thought I’d stop in at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center while I was there to find out what’s important to see in the area. For such a huge building, that was a former grain elevator, the visitors center portion is really quite small, but they hand out free bags of tasty hot popcorn. Score! This is a good place to stop if you’re in the area for several reasons.
A couple of weeks ago, I ordered the movie “Fargo”from Netflix, since I thought it would be about this town. It really wasn’t. It was more about a bizarre murder/kidnapping thing in Brainerd, MN. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that near the end, one of the bad guys kills his partner and puts his body through this wood chipper. The scene in the movie zeroes in on the socked foot of the unfortunate partner. Well, at the F-M Visitors Center, they lend you one of those winter hats to put on, and you can have your picture taken stuffing the poor guy down the actual chipper from the movie, don’tcha know. I just couldn’t pass that up! It turns out that the year they filmed the movie, there wasn’t enough snow in Fargo so they moved the set to Brainerd after the initial bar scene.
Al Hirt was the first star to be inducted. There are now 113 celebrities that have their feet and hands imprinted in 150 pounds of cement. I didn’t recognize all of them, but got a kick out of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. The Great Wallendas included footprints on a tightrope, and Meadowlark Lemon’s footprints were inside of a basketball hoop. The one that tickled me the most was the barefoot prints of Myron Floren. Do you suppose he practiced his accordion barefoot before appearing with Lawrence Welk??
After doing my shopping, I headed for the Hjemkomst Center. (pronounced yem-komst… Norwegian for homecoming) Note the unusual white portion of the building. It was constructed specifically to house the Hjemkomst Viking ship to preserve it after its journey to Bergen, Norway.
Inside the center was a beautiful mosaic tile collage that I’m afraid I didn’t do justice to with this photo. It depicted memorable moments in the history of the Fargo-Moorhead area with the important Red River coursing through it.
There are two major attractions in the center. The first is the Hjemkomst. Robert Asp built the Hjemkomst in a former potato warehouse in Hawley, MN, beginning in 1972. In the summer of 1980, Robert Asp sailed his ship on Lake Superior. He died of leukemia in December of that year. In the summer of 1982, Robert Asp’s family and friends sailed the Hjemkomst 6,100 miles form Duluth, MN, to Berge, Norway where they arrived on July 19, 1982. It’s impossible to get a total picture of this Viking ship in the museum as it’s more than 76’ long. There is a very nice movie that details the story of its building and journey through the Great Lakes and across the Atlantic ocean. What an accomplishment for a rather ordinary man. It is a shame that he didn’t get to participate in his dreamed of journey.
The second thing of importance at the center is the Hopperstad Stave Church replica. Guy Paulson began carving for the church in 1997, but the project took more than 5 years to complete.
Stave churches were built at the end of the Viking Age in Scandinavia from about 950-1350. Stave churches combined the native building traditions of the Norse culture and medieval Christian styles. The church in Moorhead is a full-scale replica of the Hopperstad Church, built circa 1125-1150 in the town of Vik, Norway. I had to ask what ‘stave’ meant, and was told it means that the structure is built with vertical wood posts. Huge pine trees were used from the Itasca State Park area for its construction. The carvings were very intricate and painstakingly done. Such craftsmanship went into this replica.
I really enjoyed visiting these few sights in the F-M area today, and would recommend them to fellow travelers. I’ll leave you tonight with something that brought a chuckle to me in the Hjemkomst Center gift shop.
Some of you may remember when Jack came to visit me about a month or so ago, and we headed out on a couple of journeys to see the ‘World’s Largest’ oddities in the surrounding area. We visited all three of these Roadside America locations. Seems there’s a murder mystery series that takes place at these same locations. Who would have guessed? If I were a murder mystery fan, I might just read them.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy