Waiting for the Interurban

Waiting for the Interurban, also known as People Waiting for the Interurban,[1] is a 1978 cast aluminum sculpture collection in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. It is located on the southeast corner of N. 34th Street and Fremont Avenue N., just east of the northern end of the Fremont Bridge. It consists of six people and a dog waiting for public transportation — specifically, the Seattle-Everett Interurban. While the interurban railway ran through Fremont from 1910 until 1939, it stopped on Fremont Avenue rather than N. 34th Street, which the statue faces.[2]

Waiting for the Interurban
ArtistRichard Beyer
TypeCast aluminum sculpture

The sculptor, Fremont resident Richard Beyer, included several subtleties in the sculpture which reward close viewing. The face of the dog was sculpted to resemble Fremont political leader and the city's "godfather of recycling" Armen "Napoleon" Stephanian, with whom Beyer had public disagreements in the 1970s.[3] People living and working in the Fremont neighborhood often dress the characters in apparel appropriate to a season or local event.[4]


Waiting for the Interurban sculpture in Seattle's Fremont District (circa 2017)

The statues were erected on June 15, 1978, and dedicated on June 17 during the Fremont Fair.[5] Concerns over damage to the statues from weather and automobiles led to the installation of a pergola.[6]

Sculptor Richard Beyer was selected in 1975 by the Fremont Arts Council to create Waiting for the Interurban, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Fremont's founding. The piece cost $18,210 and was financed mainly through private donations and the city's art fund.[7] Beyer initially went uncompensated for his work, until private fundraisers raised enough revenue to cover the $6,000 he was owed.[8] In January 1980, the Seattle City Council formally accepted the sculpture as a donation to the city.[9][10]

During the repairs of the Fremont Bridge that began in February 2006, the sculpture was moved about 100 metres (330 ft) east of its original location to History House, at the corner of N. 34th Street and Troll Avenue N., which runs up a hill to the Fremont Troll. History House also has exhibits showing some of the most imaginative displays by people who have decorated the statues over the years.[citation needed] The sculpture was returned to its original site following the completion of bridge repairs in May 2007.[11]

On August 17, 2008, another sculpture was dedicated a block away on N. 34th Street, known as Late for the Interurban.[12] The statue, sculpted by Kevin Pettelle of Sultan, Washington, portrays the 1970s Seattle TV clown J. P. Patches and his sidekick Gertrude.[13][14]


Andy Rooney included Waiting for the Interurban in a 60 Minutes piece he did criticizing modern art.[15]


  1. ^ "People Waiting for the Interurban, (sculpture)". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  2. ^ Frederick Bird (May 2000). "The Seattle-Everett Interurban Railway, 1910-1939" (PDF). Snohomish County History Series. Snohomish County, Washington. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  3. ^ Ramierz, Marc (June 2, 2002). "The face of Fremont. Wily. Inventive. Unrestrained. Showman". The Seattle Times. p. L1. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  4. ^ "Richard Beyer's Waiting for the Inter-Urban in Fremont is a particularly popular artwork frequently used to celebrate events such as birthdays and bon voyages; celebrants often embellish the sculpture according to the occasion.", Landscape Architecture, 78 (5–8), p. 57, 1988
  5. ^ "A long wait to Everett". The Seattle Times. June 16, 1978. p. C9.
  6. ^ "Fremont statue will get protection". The Seattle Times. June 23, 1978. p. A7.
  7. ^ Rinearson, Peter (August 4, 1979). "Waiting for payment". The Seattle Times. p. A3.
  8. ^ Daniel, Linda (October 25, 1979). "Interurban sculptor may wait no more". The Seattle Times. p. A1.
  9. ^ Rinearson, Peter (January 8, 1980). "Voting deadlocked for Council president". The Seattle Times. p. A14.
  10. ^ Seattle City Council (January 14, 1980). "City of Seattle Ordinance 108769". Office of the City Clerk. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  11. ^ McNerthney, Casey (May 30, 2007). "It's back! The wait for 'the Interurban' is over". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  12. ^ Solomon, Cara (August 18, 2008). "Patches Pals, red noses and all, gather for statue's dedication". The Seattle Times. p. B1. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  13. ^ Dougherty, Phil (November 12, 2008). "Late for the Interurban, a statue honoring Washington icons J. P. Patches and Gertrude, is dedicated in Fremont on August 17, 2008". HistoryLink. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  14. ^ Switzer, Jeff (March 11, 2008). "Sultan sculptor's J.P. Patches statue". The Everett Herald. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  15. ^ When Did This Become Art?

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 47°38′58″N 122°20′58″W / 47.649467°N 122.349455°W / 47.649467; -122.349455