Leif Erikson - Humboldt Park, Chicago, IL
Posted by: adgorn
N 41° 54.401 W 087° 42.090
16T E 441818 N 4639654
Quick Description: Leif Erikson standing dressed in Viking attire holds a shield in his proper left hand and rests his proper right hand at his waist on his belt. He has a beard and a mustache.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 6/23/2013 10:52:48 AM
Waymark Code: WMHCD2
More from the Smithsonian website:
The figure is placed on a rough boulder-shaped granite base which rests on a low circular concrete base.
Dimensions: Figure: approx. 9 x 4 x 3 ft.; Base: approx. H. 6 ft. x Diam. 12 ft. x Circum. 30 ft.
Inscription: (On base:) LEIF ERIKSON/DISCOVERER/OF AMERICA signed
Chicago's Norwegians donated the monument. The cost was approximately $10,000. There was originally a sword and sheath on the figure's proper left hip. Original placement was just west of current site on recreation building road. The Chicago Park District Monument and Sculpture Photographic Archives contain black and white photographs of the sculpture before and after placement on the granite base. The Chicago Park District Monument and Sculpture Preservation Files contain miscellaneous letters including proposals to move the monument, information concerning the proper spelling of Erikson's name, and conservation treatment reports with slide documentation. IAS files contain two images of the sculpture, one from the Chicago Tribune, ca. 1940, each with a different version of the sword and sheath."
From the Chicago Park District's website (visit link
"Sigvald Asbjørnsen sculpted this bronze figure of Leif Ericson, which stands on a massive granite boulder in Humboldt Park. Born in Oslo, Norway, Sigvald Asbjørnsen (1867–1954) began studying art at a young age. He received a scholarship at sixteen, and studied at the Royal Academy in Oslo. In 1892, he emigrated from Norway to the United States. He soon learned that preparations for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park fostered exciting opportunities for artists in Chicago. After participating in the fair, he continued to live and work here, producing figurative sculptures, portrait busts, medallions, and other artworks for parks, libraries, and museums throughout America.
Chicagoans of Norwegian descent commissioned Asbjørnsen to create this monument to the Norse explorer and adventurer Leif Ericson (c. 970 – c. 1020) who is believed to have been the first European to set foot on the American continent. Leif Ericson’s father, Eric the Red, established the first settlement in Greenland. During a journey from Norway to Greenland around 990 C.E., Leif Ericson landed at Newfoundland. Because he arrived well before Christopher Columbus, Ericson is often recognized as the “Discoverer of America.”
On October 12, 1901 tens of thousands of flag-waving Scandinavian-Americans participated in events to celebrate the monument’s unveiling. Despite heavy rain that day, the festivities included a parade and a two-hour ceremony in Humboldt Park. On “Leif Ericson Day” in 1950, the statue was moved 250-feet from its original site to face Humboldt Boulevard, making it more accessible to the public. Among the large crowd celebrating the monument’s re-dedication was its then elderly sculptor, Sigvald Asbjørnsen."
Asbjornsen also did a statue of explorer Louis Joliet, located in front of the library in Joliet, IL and waymarked by yours truly.