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Fremont is one of Seattle’s best-loved neighborhoods, but it wasn’t considered a part of the city. In fact, until 1891 Fremont was its own city separate from Seattle – of course, nowadays one would be hard-pressed to find a more quintessentially Seattle neighborhood.

Although a beloved Seattle neighborhood, Fremont is also considered a counterculture environment, despite the gentrification of recent years. Colloquially referred to as the “People’s Republic of Fremont” or the “Artist’s Republic of Fremont” this progressive area is at once distinct and characteristic of the general Seattle charm.

Located outside of Seattle’s immediate downtown, Fremont relishes its somewhat isolated position and the neighborhood is scattered with various signs reading “Set your watch back 5 minutes” or simply “throw your watch away”. Since 1995 a controversial statue of Vladimir Lenin has stood on a busy corner of the neighborhood, and remains a stalwart acknowledgement of the area’s progressive roots.

Despite the enduring controversy surrounding the Lenin statue, there’s another monument in Fremont that receives even more attention. The Fremont Troll is a such a unique monument that tourists and locals alike regularly flock to its home under the Aurora Bridge for photos.

The Fremont Troll has a Scandinavian folklore as its muse, and was created by four local artists in 1990. If you look closely, you can see the Troll is grasping a Volkswagen beetle with California license plates – almost as if he had just reached up and grabbed it from the road passing overhead.