FOLLOWUP: The re-return of Rolf

Two and a half weeks after the rogue statue of Rolf Neslund was found toppled and headless – again – it’s been restored – again. We received this emailed communiqué, photo included, from Lars Fujikawa, in whose name most previous communications have arrived since the original installation in 2020:

Rolf Neslund, Patron Saint of the Broken Bridge, has returned to his semi-rightful place on the West Seattle Bike Path, near the Delridge onramp, below the Pigeon Point Obelisk. ‘

Described as “West Seattle’s Quirkiest Memorial,” this lowest-common-denominator statuary depicts Captain Rolf Neslund, a well-known Duwamish River pilot, who rammed the old West Seattle bridge in June of 1978, retired and went on to an unfair grisly end. Rolf’s likeness was recently knocked down again, and his head stolen by unknown ruffians.

The Delridge Maritime Historical Society, in conjunction with the Center for General Annoyance is proud to once again prop the old fella up. Part Golem, part J.P. Patches, part weird historical footnote, this is Rolf’s third incarnation and sad to say it will likely be his last. The mold broke and there shall be no further grimacing visages of the old pirate. Please visit the Rolf Neslund Plaza and take in its graffitied vistas and stripped wire insulation ambience while you can! Now on a somewhat more secure plinth, he will boldly face his future, where he is likely to be mowed over by Sound Transit’s one-mile theme park mini-train to the Alaska Junction. It just doesn’t work out for Rolf.

We’re just two weeks away from what will be the 46th anniversary of the bridge collision for which Neslund gained infamy, two years before he was murdered by his wife.

29 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: The re-return of Rolf"

  • K May 29, 2024 (11:55 am)

    Just read up on this….they should make his story into a movie! 

    • Lola May 29, 2024 (1:26 pm)

      There is a book about his life by Ann Rule called No Regrets, that she wrote about his Wife and his terrible end.  It would make a good movie. 

  • Rose May 29, 2024 (11:59 am)

    Oh happy day! Welcome home Rolf!

  • Previous Rolf fixer May 29, 2024 (12:41 pm)

    Thank you Lars for your continued annoyance. Can we make a replacement mold for the next time? You are awesome. 

    • Pelicans May 29, 2024 (2:13 pm)

      I second that, Lars. Is it possible to make a mold of the existing head of dear Rolf? Also to strengthen and stabilize the pedestal, i.e. place rebar so far into the soil that it couldn’t be knocked over or stolen?  I would be willing to contribute funds for this. Please contact me through the WSB.

      • Lars Fujikawa May 29, 2024 (3:33 pm)

        Be not afraid Pelicans: Rolf’s new plinth has a concrete infused 3″ steel pipe in the middle and some sumptuous rebar through out, securely fashioned to the good earth. I give the vandals at least a month before they bring it down.

        • Pelicans May 29, 2024 (11:30 pm)

          Hopefully it will last much longer than that!

  • bill May 29, 2024 (12:47 pm)

    Is Lars Fujikawa any relation to Satoshi Nakamoto? Eager to learn any bits of information WSB readers mine on this subject.

    • JDB May 29, 2024 (1:31 pm)

      Not sure if you’re trying to be funny here but Lars Fujikawa is a real person who lives in this neighborhood. Satoshi Nakamoto is an unknown entity that created Bitcoin. 

    • Lars Fujikawa May 29, 2024 (3:28 pm)

      I do not know  Satoshi Nakamoto. I did know a David Nakamoto in Junior High and he did not invent Bitcoin, but he was pretty good at Baseball. As a kid I watched Brakeman Bill: do you know him?  I am eager to find out!

  • Alex May 29, 2024 (12:51 pm)

    There has got to be some crafty person out there who can make a rubber or fiberglass mold over the head and then cast a new one when needed.

  • Steph May 29, 2024 (12:54 pm)

    Seems a shame to lose him. Is there a problem with someone using silicone and making a new mold so he can be redone if he is vandalized again? Surely there are other spots for him.

  • ARPigeonPoint May 29, 2024 (1:50 pm)

    The best part is the snipe at the lightrail project. _Now on a somewhat more secure plinth, he will boldly face his future, where he is likely to be mowed over by Sound Transit’s one-mile theme park mini-train to the Alaska Junction. It just doesn’t work out for Rolf._

    • Grinder May 29, 2024 (3:08 pm)

      Perhaps the light rail project would be kind enough to relocate and set him up to be more secure. That or his fate may be the meat grinder (again).

      • Sufd May 30, 2024 (3:14 pm)

        …or they could name the new light rail station after him.

    • Wseattleite May 29, 2024 (3:31 pm)

      Right?  Most apt description I have seen yet. 

      • Arbor Heights Resident May 30, 2024 (2:46 pm)

        It would be apt if the rail were just to the Junction, unconnected to the other 115 miles of track in the completed network.

    • Peter May 29, 2024 (6:10 pm)

      They should name the light rail stop after him. 

  • ACG May 29, 2024 (6:43 pm)

    The Neslund story is such a strange one. I had heard bits of it from people, but didn’t know the details. Thank you for the link to the articles about his history. 

  • BlairJ May 29, 2024 (9:27 pm)

    Could someone with the appropriate technology please do a 3D scan of Rolf so that we can visit him virtually after his inevitable next demise?

  • Marie May 29, 2024 (9:38 pm)

    I wrote this article about the history of “The Bridges of West Seattle” a couple of years ago. There’s been a lot of drama involving bridges in that location, but the Neslund episode is the wackiest. If it wasn’t for him, would we have the high bridge at all? I hope that his memorial gets the respect it deserves from now on. 

    • Jim May 30, 2024 (9:22 am)

      Great article! Thanks.

  • Bus Rider May 30, 2024 (11:08 am)

    • Arbor Heights Resident May 30, 2024 (2:49 pm)

      Rethink the rethink! West Seattle voted for light rail- let’s stay the course and be connected to the regional transport system!

      • k May 30, 2024 (3:29 pm)

        “Rethink the Link” is Gondola with updated PR tactics.  They’re not thinking about the light rail to begin with so there’s no re-thinking to re-think.

    • LAintheJunction May 30, 2024 (5:41 pm)

      No. No rethinking, this project has nearly been rethought to death. Build the light rail. Let’s go!

  • Unfortunate May 31, 2024 (9:26 am)

    What’s with the weird, childish, and dishonest dig at light rail at the end of this post?

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