It Is Rocket Science
It Is Rocket Science
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Situated between Ballard and Wallingford, and connected by the Burke-Gilman Trail, Fremont is also a neighbourhood that proudly flaunts its many displays of public quirkiness. These include a pair of topiary apatosauruses lingering off Phinney Avenue; a larger than life-size bronze homage to Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik totalitarian dictator, who seems to be perpetually striding away from an Italian gelateria behind him; a one-eyed VW-grabbing troll under the Aurora – sorry, The George Washington Memorial – Bridge; and last but not least, a mounted silver rocket pointed into the sky, as if ready for takeoff.


Looking like something out of a Flash Gordon 1930s sci-fi adventure, many mistake this 55-foot rocket to be simply just an art installation.  It is in many ways, but it actually is a REAL Cold War-era rocket – constructed from military surplus, using the tail boom of a Fairchild C-119 ‘Flying Boxcar’ transport aircraft dressed up with rocket-like fins – rescued from a surplus store, that has been a symbol of the neighbourhood’s offbeat character for years.


On the side of the rocket is the Fremont unofficial motto of De Libertas Quirkas (“Freedom to be Peculiar”). It’s also said that once, during a fight with the city over neighbourhood boundaries, Fremonsters – in a typical display of defiance – re-positioned the rocket in the general direction towards City Hall.


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