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Viva the Viking

It would be great if Philadelphia’s famed Viking statue went back up on its pedestal at the end of Boathouse Row.

Not only is it an icon of the river, sadly missing now since Oct of 2018, but it also marks the spot where returning rowers are supposed to slow down as they enter the more crowded boat launch areas along the Row.

According to a story in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, which you can read here, it’s still at the city’s Association for Public Art’s conservators studio. And there are concerns about putting it back up because a couple of times it has attracted gatherings of white nationalists on Leif Erikson Day. (Oct. 9), the story said.

Thorfinn Karlsefni, erected at top of Boathouse Row in 1020

Many of us thought that jugheaded Eagles fans might have taken it down the last time, on Oct 1, 2018, because the Eagles were playing the Vikings six days later. No one’s been charged. So the mystery remains. What also remains, is where the 7-foot 4-inch bronze statue can be placed so it will not be attacked again.

Days after the demise…

The Viking is actually Thorfinn Karlsefni, who came from Greenland to establish a settlement in North America about a year after Leif Erikson discovered the continent in 1003. The colony lasted about three years. His son Snorri was born here. (So he’s a citizen, right?).

The statue has stood on the Row since 1920, as part of the public art works erected along the river century ago — the bequest of Ellen Phillips Samuel. Other sculpture that celebrate America’s history from the bequest, include those in the Phillips Sculpture Memorial, a short distance upstream from Boathouse Row.

So maybe it now has to go, to keep clear of vandals, on top of a really tall base – like the statue of Thorfinn that stands in Reykjavik, Iceland by the same scuptor, Einar Jónsson.

Thorfinn in Reykjavik towers above spectators. Photo by Dotty Brown