Hibbing Dylan Project plans lyrical monument to Bob

The Hibbing Dylan Project recently unveiled its plans for a Bob Dylan monument in the Nobel Laureate’s hometown. (IMAGE: Hibbing Dylan Project)

On Sunday, the Hibbing Daily Tribune reported on the Hibbing Dylan Project’s plan for a Bob Dylan monument on the grounds of Hibbing High School. The school board gave its blessing for the group to complete fundraising for the project.

The proposed monument would be a curved wall facing a bronzed chair on the west lawn of the historic Hibbing High School off of Bob Dylan Drive. The outside of the wall would feature the image of a guitar, using the same brick and stone found in the high school. The school-facing side of the wall would display Bob Dylan lyrics. The chair would allow a viewer to read the lyrics in contemplation of the place and their meaning.

Dozens of interested community members formed the Hibbing Dylan Project after Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature last year. Their initial goal was to raise funds to erect a Dylan statue. The Dylan family contacted them to indicate that they would prefer something more educational and inspiring as the goal. So the group settled on this.

Dylan Project co-chair Katie Fredeen described their project intent at a school board meeting last month:

“Bob Dylan was named a Nobel Laureate because of his writing,” said Fredeen during the presentation. “This concept works because the focus is on his work, and that will never change.”

In the center of this tribute — which is shaped like a guitar pick when viewed from above — sits a bronzed empty bentwood chair, a common sight in the high school during the late 1950s and early 1960s.

“The empty chair is an open invitation to current and future Hibbing High School students to inspire them to chase their dreams and to carry on Dylan’s legacy,” Fredeen explained, adding that they want the tribute to be interactive.

This tribute will also serve as a small open-air stage and amphitheater for students and teachers to utilize. The HDP’s intention is to create an educational space that can be used for poetry readings, speeches and musical performances from the choir and band.

“We want students to look out the window, see this and think maybe there is a place for me out there,” she said. “Here’s someone who graduated from here that grew up and became famous. This could inspire them to dream.”

Hibbing High School itself is an architectural wonder, full of unique marble, trim and glass that literally can’t be replaced. The lavish building was a product of a deal between the Oliver Mining Company and the village of Hibbing to move the town off of an iron ore formation in the 1920s. And it’s where Bob Dylan went to high school with the sons and daughters of miners. A palace for working class people.

In recent years, enrollment has dropped to a fraction of what it was when Dylan and thousands of other young Iron Rangers left the area. But the building stands as a testament to the aspirations of the town’s founders and a tool to help kids today get ahead.

You can read more about the project or get involved with the Hibbing Dylan Project at their website.


  1. Gerry Mantel says

    “Always carry a light bulb, a flashlight, and a 29-cribbage hand. And do not be afraid of the Big Boy.”

    (Bob could not have said it better ….)

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