World's Largest Crow Audio Transcript
Reading at the Centennial Memorial Park
The call of the crow welcomes you to the community of Belgrade, Minnesota, and to the site of the 1988 Centennial Memorial.
It is fitting that the crow is the visible symbol of this unique monument. You are standing in Crow Lake Township. Just 93 feet to the East lies Crow River Township. Two nearby churches identify with these same names. Two forks of the Crow River traverse our community. It is the North Fork of the Crow River that has lent its name to North Fork Township about 2 miles North from this site. Crow Lake, the source of the Middle Fork of the Crow River is just 733 yards away, (if you will pardon the expression) as the crow flies! The famous Little Crow chain of lakes begin about 9 miles to the South of Belgrade.
All of the uses of the word “Crow” here in West Central Minnesota probably began with or were emphasized by the name of the famous Sioux Indian warrior, Chief Little Crow.
The huge bird that you see here is the worlds largest crow. It is 18 feet high and the branch stands on is 31 feet long. It is built with a metal skeleton, plastic form, fiberglass skin and automotive paint. The entire structure from the bottom of the pedestal to the very top measures 43 feet.
In 1884-85 the Soo line first came through this area of Stearns County and the town site was named Belgrade by the Yugoslav native who first surveyed it for the railroad.
This Centennial Memorial project began when a retired Navy Officer from Belgrade was inspired by a visit to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. He and a dedicated group of local volunteers have brought this idea to fruition.
First came the handsome section dedicated to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and within a year over 4.000 bricks, each with a name and birth year of a Belgrade area resident, had been purchased to be commemorated in this beautiful memorial wall.
Here we proudly list the names of our immigrant founders, first homesteaders, farmers, townspeople, spouses, their descendants, even to the 6th generation. To the memory of these beloved people who built our community over the first century, we have dedicated this Memorial. New names will be periodically added to the wall. You will be interested to know that 565 names have already been added to the wall.
The many state and national flags you see displayed here are gifts from present and former residents to honor their country of birth, state of origin or present habitat. The flag poles, concrete benches, tables and sets have been donated by civic minded individuals and organizations. You are most welcome to use the facilities here or just across the highway for rest, relaxation or a picnic meal.
We hope that you will enjoy, as we do, the sight of all fifty of our American State flags flying proudly at this Memorial. We achieved this goal on July 4, 1994, and if you would like to help with this endeavor to keep all these flage flying, you can make a donation in the slot or better yet, pick up a form and join our “Adopt-a-Flag” program.
As you leave here today, you might consider the wily crow in a new light. CORVUS AMERICANUS ….. it has never been domesticated ….. many beautiful places and fine institutions carry its name…. and he never even sees a scarecrow anymore. Besides, people may still swallow their pride occasionally but they never REALLY eat… crow!
This message was written by Warren Gustafson and narrated by Bill Dean Gysberg.
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