Tracker Pixel for Entry

King of his castle

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Arts | August 23rd, 2017

Gary Greff’s new sculpture and the future of the Enchanted Highway

When HPR spoke to Gary Greff in 2015 he was in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to fund his latest sculpture. We spoke of his plans to build a 70-foot spider web composed of ¾ inch cables suspended from an array of colorful prairie flowers. Cement mixers were to be transformed into salvaged metal spiders.

Greff, the visionary behind the world’s largest salvaged metal sculptures and creator of North Dakota’s Enchanted Highway, is a self-taught sculptor and hotel proprietor in Regent, North Dakota.

With the help of the folks from Emerging Prairie, the kickstarter campaign was launched to raise $15,000 for Greff’s spider web. During that period over $20,000 was raised.

Unfortunately Greff’s vision was put on hold once he found out he couldn’t secure the land needed to support the colossal arachnids. The land that hosts his sculptures, along the 32-mile stretch of southwestern North Dakota highway, is on loan from area farmers.

Unfortunately not everyone along the highway is enchanted by his work.

“I talked to the people who raised the funds and they said you’re better off doing something rather than nothing,” said Greff. His latest endeavor harmonizes with his medieval-themed hotel the Enchanted Castle and will be outside of the hotel. The Enchanted Castle occupies the former high school in Regent, has 19 guest rooms, a steakhouse, a tavern, and a continental breakfast.

The majority of the funding for Greff’s sculptures comes from his own pocket, whether it be from income generated by his gift shop or hotel. He has also received grants and individual donations. In 2004 he received a $44,000 grant from the Bush Foundation, though with purchasing materials for the pieces and renting the necessary equipment to complete each piece safely, such as cranes, funds dry up fast.

Greff, a Regent native, moved to Poplar, Montana, to pursue a career in education. He moved back to his hometown in 1989 to take care of his aging parents. Upon his arrival he noticed that Regent was dying and decided to put it on the map one way or another. One idea was a tearless onion product.

But that year the 32 mile ribbon of road connecting Regent to Gladstone was paved and a small metal sculpture of a man holding up a hay bale received some media attention.

Something clicked within Greff. Though he had never laid a bead of weld in his life,he began to line the highway with the world’s largest sculptures -- with the help of area farmers. They helped him with the first sculpture, but once it was finished their interest in future sculptures dwindled.

His latest endeavor is a 40-foot-tall knight in shining armor. While we were there, the frame of the knight night lay on the lawn of the former elementary school building which has been long empty. The headless knight lays on the sod with its massive arms outstretched like Frankenstein’s monster. The helmet only a few feet away is still a work in progress.

Greff’s greatest challenge with the piece was selecting the correct gauge of tin for the knight’s armor. The tin is carefully wrapped on a timber skeletal structure. “Metal doesn’t work like paper--it doesn’t just bend,” Greff said. He envisions the knight poised as if defending the Enchanted Castle from a fearsome sculpture of a fire-breathing dragon. The dragon’s eyes will light up and it will breathe fire every hour on the hour.

As he described his vision his eyes sparkled and he walked excitedly around the sculpture of his sleeping knight. His enthusiasm is contagious.

Greff doesn’t have a shop per se. He works on his sculptures outdoors. “That’s why I’d like to get the knight done by this fall -- if I can get out of here once.”

On average, each sculpture takes close to six years to complete. Add the maintenance of the existing sculptures--Greff is faced with a full-time job on top of running his motel and needs all the help he can get.

He tried to coax high school and college art students from nearby Dickinson to help out, but this effort was thwarted due to liability and limited interest.

He approached students who were a part of the Dickinson State welding program. Though unable to make the 50-mile trek, they were open to Greff bringing the pieces to them. He took one piece to Dickinson, but navigating a fifty foot metal sculpture through city streets seemed to be more trouble than it was worth.

Greff approached the state tourism board, but was met with minimal if any support. So his next plan of action is to approach the people. He plans on re-approaching the state tourism board in two years in hopes that they take on his project.

“I will go to the people, I’ll say North Dakota, you better step forward here. Tell me yes or no. If you say no I’ll cut them down. I have no qualms. If you say no that’s your choice and it’s the people of North Dakota who have spoken not the politicians from Bismarck,” he said.

“I always say you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. I’ve led Regent to water with the Enchanted Highway. They don’t want to drink,” Greff continued, “I also believe that one day that horse will get so thirsty that that horse will want to drink eventually. They’ll come and say--how can we be a part of this?”


The Enchanted Castle

607 Main St, Regent, North Dakota

Call (701) 563-4858

Recently in:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Savanna’s Act passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate on Friday and will move to the U.S. House of Representatives.The bill, S. 1942, is named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band…


Drink n’ Destroy

by Logan Macrae

Pixeled is every 1980’s nerd’s wet dream. This is the kind of place that you sat in your parent’s basement and dreamt about. Contemplating what college might look like, and through your braced teeth, you took a wheezy breath,…

Saturday, December 15th, 3-6pmJunkyard Brewing Company, 1416 1st Ave N, MoorheadCome bare the elements with us for a good cause. Bring your spare winter gear to be donated to Churches United for the Homeless. Coats, gloves, boots,…

by Josh Boscheejoshua.boschee@yahoo.comphoto courtesy of Mitch MarrEight words that perfectly describe the beautiful spirit of Kim Winnegge."I have given my whole life to words."Those of us who knew her remember these words as a…



by Ed Raymond

What happens if conspicuous consumption becomes global?The latest National Geographic has an editorial “The Global Peril of Inequality” by UCLA Professor Jared Diamond which the entire world should read. The author of many…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

by Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comUs North Dakotans love our Knoephla soup. I am no exception. I have fond childhood memories of sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen making this dumpling soup. From then until today, my taste buds go…


Snow and Flurry

by HPR Contributor

by Jacques Harvieux jacquesthejock@gmail.comMosh pit etiquette 101: The mosh pit is located front and center of the stage.Create a sizeable ring.When the music starts unleash mayhem. If you fall - get up immediately.If somebody…

“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” director Marielle Heller beautifully translates another personal autobiography to excellent results. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is based on the confessional 2008 memoir of literary forger Lee…

SEBEKA, Minnesota – Nearly a century ago the nation was racked by inclement weather, soaring unemployment, and despair following World War I and the lucrative Roaring 20s. The 1930s were an era of dust storms and lunch lines,…

by Ryan Jankeryan.janke78@gmail.comFargo-Moorhead Community Theatre presents “A Christmas Story: The Musical” which is underway at the Stage at Island Park and will run through December 22. It has been promoted as a show both…

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased…

by Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comphotography by Logan MacraeEver wish you could go to your favorite brewery without leaving your house? Finally, you can (sort of). Kilstone Brewing is now doing limited can releases of some…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

“(Søren) Kierkegaard…has opened our eyes to the shallowness of much of our pseudo-Christian life, and to the outright deception in politics which Christianity has been made to serve.” - William Hubben“The people starve…