Waiting for the Interurban
North 34th Street, Fremont, Seattle, Washington, USA
An Interurban is an electric railcar that connects a city with its surrounding residential areas. These people are waiting for one. And have been doing so since 1979 when this sculpture by artist Richard Beyer was unveiled. Six people waiting for an Interurban with a dog. A dog with a human face. But these six aluminium people and their aluminium dog with a human face have a long wait ahead of them. The Interurban train service that passed through Fremont to downtown Seattle and other areas stopped in the 1930s. Yet, their wait has been far from boring. The statue was commissioned to help create a focal point and a sense of community identity for the Seattle neighbourhood of Fremont. Immediately, it attracted the attention of local people, who have enjoyed decorating the six aluminium people and their aluminium dog ever since. They’ve been dressed in sports kit, party clothes, hats and scarves, and have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, good causes and team victories. There are a few rules; nothing rude, no advertising, and you can only leave your decorations on the statue for a week. Which is fair enough. And it all helps break up the interminable wait for an Interurban that will never come.
And if you’re wondering about the dog’s face, local legend has it the face is based on that of Armen Stepanian, the man who pioneered Fremont’s recycling system back in the 70s. The story goes Armen wasn’t keen on the idea of a sculpture at a bus stop, and so the sculptor took his revenge…