Duluthian Emil Olson purchased the ship from Captain Folgero and crew soon after the voyage, and he donated the Leif Erikson to the City of Duluth. The ship was placed on display in Duluth's Lake Park, which was later re-named Leif Erikson Park around 1929. There the Leif Erikson steadily deteriorated after years of neglect and vandalism. The state of the ship reached a low point in 1980, prompting a former Duluth City Councilor to suggest that the Leif Erikson be burned in the traditional Viking manner of putting a ship to rest. This suggestion inspired Emil Olson's grandson, Will Borg, to contact his boyhood friend, Neill Atkins, who was also serving on the City Council at that time to help form a restoration committee.
Neill and Will brought together a diverse collection of volunteer workers to begin fundraising efforts to restore the ship to its original condition. Fundraising activities began in 1985. Since that year, the Restoration Project has raised over $100,000 through a number of ways. For over 10 years, dedicated volunteers have solicited donations from corporations and individuals, sold souvenirs, food and beer at public events concessions and organized 10 annual Viking Ship Festivals. The Viking Fests were a one-day event featuring Scandinavian food, arts, crafts, and entertainment to help raise funds, the last of which was held in 1996.
builders began the actual rebuilding of the ship in 1991. Most of the
restoration has been completed, and the ship has been moved to the eastern
end of the park. A protective covering
© duluthvikingship 2004-2008 & leiferiksonvikingship 2008-2013