May 29, 2024

Kensington Rune Stone Park unveils new developments amid warm season

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Jake Sias
Grant County Herald

Kensington Rune Stone Park has undergone significant enhancements during the mild fall and winter season. Efforts to demarcate the park’s namesake stone’s original discovery site and improve visitor amenities have been the focus of recent projects.

In a quest to provide context to the enigmatic past of the Kensington Rune Stone, park officials have endeavored to pinpoint and denote the exact location where Swedish farmer Olof Ohman unearthed the controversial stone in 1898. While the precise spot remains elusive due to changes in the landscape over the years, a sculpture and informational plaques were installed in October at the park, marking the most probable site of discovery according to written accounts.

The stone’s narrative, which includes runic inscriptions suggesting a Scandinavian expedition reached the area in 1362, has sparked decades of debate among linguists, historians, and geologists. The discussions revolve around the stone’s authenticity and its implications for early European exploration of North America.

In anticipation of spring, plans are in place to surround the site with an aspen grove, a measure intended to offer both seclusion and an aesthetic touch to the area, allowing for a more contemplative visitor experience away from the proximity of the road.

Adding to the park’s allure, a new observation deck now offers visitors a scenic view of the state waterfowl production area. The deck’s construction, completed in December amidst the unusually warm weather, permits guests to appreciate the serene beauty of the wetlands. Although the deck is accessible, the finishing touches, including spreading gravel for the surrounding area, are scheduled for the spring, ensuring a completed aesthetic and functional visitor experience.

The Kensington Rune Stone has been a centerpiece of local heritage and intrigue, housed at the Runestone Museum in Alexandria. The park’s improvements serve not only as a tribute to the region’s rich tapestry of stories but also as a commitment to preserving and interpreting its history for future generations.

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