The Dakotas are known more for their abundance of empty space than their inhabited areas. But one local artist has turned a vast expanse along an isolated road into a surprising, enchanted art gallery that seduces travelers into visiting one of North Dakota’s tiny, off-the-trail towns.
Along a 32-mile stretch of Highway 21, giant geese fly in a frozen circle around the sun, massive fish swim among plant life, and Teddy Roosevelt waves from a bucking horse. At the end lies the 162-person town of Regent, a modest cluster of homes and shops, which can now boast that it has hosted visitors from all 50 states and countries around the globe.
The stretch of seven (soon to be eight) sculptures known as the "Enchanted Highway" was built to attract drivers from the busier I-94 onto the two-lane Highway 21 which connects the 103-year-old town of Regent to the main interstate. In 1990, Regent was on the brink of adding its name to North Dakota’s roster of ghost towns, when retired teacher Gary Greff came up with an idea to lure in tourists and keep the town above water.