Almost century-old statue toppled along Philly’s Boathouse Row

Police are investigating after the statue of a Viking  was toppled from its base along Philadelphia's Boathouse Row. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Police are investigating after the statue of a Viking was toppled from its base along Philadelphia's Boathouse Row. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia police are investigating after someone apparently pushed an almost 100-year-old piece of art from its base on the Schuylkill River near Boathouse Row.

Vandalizing the the 7-foot-4 statue of a Viking took some effort, said Margot Berg, the city’s public art director.

“It was not an easy thing to do, but they managed to really completely sever the two parts of the pedestal, and sort of crack the statue off the upper part of the pedestal and get the upper part of the statue into the river,” she said.

The statue, which weighs several thousand pounds, will have to be pulled from the water and carefully evaluated before the next steps can be determined.

“We don’t know what it’s going to cost yet. We take it step by step,” Berg said. “First, secure the asset and see what we need to do to go from there.”

The statue was spray painted in the past, and has been the site of white nationalist demonstrations.

It depicts Icelandic explorer Thorfinn Karlsefni, who was said to have visited America’s shores as early as 1004, according to the Association for Public Art. Icelandic artist Einar Jónsson created the sculpture that was unveiled at the end of 1920.

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