The Enchanted Highway, the highway that features the World's Largest Metal Sculptures, begins at Interstate 94 Exit 72, the exit to Gladstone, N.D. Starting at "The Geese in Flight" sculpture, the paved road winds south through 32 miles of scenic prairie into the town of Regent, N.D. On the highway you will see eight metal sculptures ranging from 40 to 50 feet high. Each sculpture has a developed pull-out and several have picnic shelters. Local artist Gary Greff conceived of the project, built it beginning in 1989, maintains it and plans more sculptures. Ten sculptures are planned for the Enchanted Highway. A goal is to counter the trend toward extinction of small towns such as Regent, North Dakota. Cameras click, families giggle and then it's off to the next super-sized scrap-metal sculpture along this 32-mile stretch of highway in southwestern North Dakota. Driving the highway is also a great way to see the countryside, the farms and the vastness of the Plains.
Sculptor Gary Greff crafted his first Enchanted Highway piece, 'The World's Largest Tin Family,' from empty oil drums. The papa stands 45 feet tall and is anchored by 16 telephone poles. His wife stands 44 feet tall and has hair made of barbed wire. The 'Tin Family' son is 23 feet tall. The Tin Family, including a noticeable boy wearing a propeller hat and grasping the World's Largest Lollipop.
This site depicts a silhouette of Theodore Roosevelt on his horse and a stage coach. The silhoutte is made from 1 3/4 inch well pipe. Teddy stands 51 feet tall and weighs 9,000 pounds.
This site has a number of grasshoppers in a wheat field setting. The largest grasshopper is 40 feet tall and 50 feet long. There are two medium sized hoppers that are 12 feet tall and 15 feet long and three smaller grasshoppers. The grasshoppers were made from four oil field tanks. The World's Largest Grasshopper went up in Spring 1999.
'Pheasants on the Prairie' has four pheasant sculptures. This site was created to honor the bird that is in abundance in our area. The rooster stands 40 feet tall is 70 feet long and weighs 13,000 pounds. The hen stands 35 feet tall is 60 feet long and weighs 12,000 pounds. The chicks stand 15 feet tall are 20 feet long and weigh 5,000 pounds. Together the fowl family weighs a massive 30,000 pounds.
Geese in Flight depicts ten geese sailing by the sun. This Enchanted Highway site is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Largest Scrap Metal Sculpture. The sun burst is made or over 300 lengths of well pipe and there is more that 4.4 miles of welds holding everything together. The geese and hills are made from oil well tanks. More that $9,000 in paint was used to complete the sculpture. The sculpture is 110 feet tall and 154 feet long and weighs 78.8 tons (157,661 pounds). A large goose has a wing span of 32 feet and is 20 feet long.
'Deer Crossing' displays a white tail and mule deer. This sculpture uses a technique known as shadowing. Shadowing removes pieces of metal from the sculpture to accent the muscles and different parts of the deer's body. The metal used to create the deer originated from seven rusty oul well tanks. The buck stands 70 feet tall and is 60 feet long. The doe stands 50 feet tall and is 50 feet long.
In early 2007, Greff completed Fisherman's Dream, his seventh and most complicated Enchanted Highway sculpture, with metal fish leaping up 70 feet through a metal pond surface. The fish in "Fisherman's Dream" have scales created by cutting them individually. Considering that even the smallest is five-six feet in length there was some serious commitment to doing it right.
According to the artist himself there are currently 3 more giant road side metal sculptures on the way.
Regent is a popular pheasant hunting area, and wild game is abundant. In 2012, Greff opened a motel, The Enchanted Castle, in Regent. The motel continues the theme of the Enchanted Highway. The gift shop in Regent has miniatures of each statue and the Enchanted Castle motel and restaurant offer hot meals and a soft bed. Be sure and stop in for some ice cream in the town of Regent you just might be lucky enough to meet and talk with the man who made these sculptures.