From Highway 36, the first thing you might notice is the gigantic grin—or maybe the jaunty red scarf or the outstretched arms. No matter what, it’s almost impossible to miss North St. Paul’s colossal snowman.
“In the 1960s, they used to build a snowman out of real snow, real dirty stuff, for the Snow Frolics festival,” says Paul Anderson, curator of the North St. Paul Historical Society’s museum. “But it was really labor-intensive.”
Turns out, there was a better way. In 1969, North St. Paulite (and snowman builder) Lloyd Koesling went to Disneyland with his family—and when he saw the park’s concrete-and-stucco sculptures, inspiration struck.
“He thought, Well, that’d be a good way to build a snowman, and we wouldn’t have to construct the thing every year,” Anderson recounts.
Eventually, the city came around to the idea, and volunteers started building it a few years later. Sure, it’s had its share of drama since then, including vandalizations, a move to a new location (it was so large and heavy its head needed to be removed for transport, the ghastliness of which sparked at least one letter to the editor in the local paper), and locals who still express their distaste for it—but still, the snowman’s place in the hearts of North St. Paul’s community stands tall.
Height of the snowman in feet. It’s touted as the “World’s Largest Snowman”—but is it really? “Well, who’s going to contest it?” says North St. Paul Historical Society Museum curator Paul Anderson. So far, no one.
The snowman’s weight in tons. It’s made of steel angle iron, concrete, and stucco.
Year the snowman was completed, after two years of volunteer labor.
Length of its smile in feet.
Amount the state paid to protect the snowman when Highway 36 was reconstructed in the early 2000s, including reinforcing the ground around it so it wouldn’t take a mighty tumble.
Year it moved to its current location off Highway 36, from its original perch on North St. Paul’s main street.
Total cost of materials, which North St. Paul’s Chamber of Commerce paid.