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A Minnesota Roadside Tourist Trap To Get Full Fish-Lift

Where: 456 US Hwy 2 N.E. [map], Bena, MN, United States, 56626
September 16, 2009 at 1:11 PM | by | ()

For 16 years, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota has released a list of the ten most endangered historic places in the state. On this yearís list are obvious choices like historic hotels, classic ballparks, old buildings, and bridges. However, thereís one endangered species on the list as well, and itís The Big Fish in Bena, Minnesota. Donít worry if you havenít seen it, because with a little love, and probably a lot of worms, local residents are bringing it back to its original beauty.

The giant critter was created back in the 1950s, and is made up of wood and roofing materialóno taking the easy way and using fiberglass here. Originally designed to be an ice cream and hamburger stand, the 65-foot long fish has just been hanging out on the side of US Highway 2 ever since. Fans of the National Lampoon's Vacation film may recognize the structure, as it appeared in the postcard photo montage to start the comedy classic.

A local resident with some serious discretionary income has thrown down $10,000 to help renovate the building back to its former glory. Work has been going on throughout the summer, and the restoration team hopes to bring back its Muskie colors within the next couple of weeks. The new outer skin of the fish will be made of roofing material once again, and this time it should stand up to the harsh Minnesota winters a little better. Theyíre also looking to renovate the attached Big Fish Supper Club restaurant. We can see Clark Griswold and family pulling up in the station wagon any minute now.

Related Stories:
· Preservation Alliance of Minnesota - Ten Most Endangered Historic Places [Official Site]
· Big Fish: Endangered Roadside Attraction Undergoing Resuscitation [Bemidji Pioneer]
· Tourist Traps coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: jenniferrt66]

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