Viking (ship)

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The Viking at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893
A 1925 US 5c Postage Stamp featuring the Viking, for the Norse-American Centennial

Viking is an exact replica of the Gokstad ship, a Viking ship recovered from Gokstadhaugen, a Viking Era burial mound near Sandefjord, Norway in 1880. The Viking was featured at the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893.[1]


The ship was built at the Rødsverven shipyard in Sandefjord, Norway. The construction was undertaken by Norwegian shipyard and ship-owner Christen Christensen together with Ole Wegger (1859-1936) director of Framnaes Mekaniske Vaeksted. The ship was christened the Viking. The ship was sailed by Captain Magnus Andersen (1857-1938) and a crew of 11 from Bergen, Norway.[2] [3] [4]

The Viking sailed to North America, via Newfoundland and New York, up the Hudson River, through the Erie Canal and into the Great Lakes to Chicago, where the World's Columbian Exposition was taking place in 1893 to commemorate the discovery of America by Columbus. Carter Harrison, Sr., Chicago's four-term mayor, boarded and took command for the last leg of the voyage, arriving at Jackson Park on Wednesday, July 12, 1893 to much fanfare.[5]

After the 1893 Exposition, the Viking sailed down the Mississippi to New Orleans and wintered there. On her return to Chicago, the Viking was first located beside the Field Columbian Museum (now the Museum of Science and Industry) in Chicago, then placed in Lincoln Park under a fenced-in, wooden shelter. In 1920, the ship was restored by the Federation of Norwegian Women's Societies.[6]

In 1925, to publicize and promote the Norse-American Centennial in St. Paul, MN, a set of United States Postage Stamps were issued. The event honored the 100th anniversary of Norwegian immigration to the United States. One of the stamps featured a picture of the Viking based upon a photograph taken in 1893. The engravers included the American flag waving from the bow. [7]

In 1993 the Chicago Park District made it known that Viking would have to be moved from its location to make room for expansion of the Lincoln Park Zoo. Funds were raised within the Scandinavian-American community and in 1994 the ship was moved into a warehouse in West Chicago. Afterwards it was moved to Good Templar Park in Geneva, Illinois and secured under a canopy. The head and tail of the Viking are currently in storage at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. In 2008, stabilization of the ship was begun with funds awarded by American Express in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.[8] [9]

In 2012, trusteeship of the Viking was transferred from the Chicago Park District to Friends of the Viking Ship which had been established to further the preservation effort. Docent led tours are offered on scheduled dates during the months of April through October. In 2013 and 2014, stabilization efforts and exhibit improvements were made. Additional keel supports were installed in 2014. A further step in the stabilization effort will be to clean, treat and seal all of Viking's thousands of rivets. [10]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Karl E. H. Seigfried. (October 14, 2013). "Viking Ship Field Trip". The Norse Mythology Blog,. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  2. ^ Kane County Chronicle - Local News and Video for Kane County, Illinois - Votes for the Viking
  3. ^ "Ole Wegger, Director". Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  4. ^ Bård Kolltveit. "Magnus Andersen - Skipsfører Sjøfartsadministrator Journalist". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  5. ^ Kane County Chronicle - Local News and Video for Kane County, Illinois - Votes for the Viking
  6. ^ Viking ship from 1893 Chicago world's fair begins much-needed voyage to restoration (Chicago Tribune. June 26, 2008)
  7. ^ "Golstad ship". Topical Stamps. March 31, 2005. Retrieved October 9, 2015. 
  8. ^ Grant helping put time on Viking boat's side -
  9. ^ Kathryn E. Felter (April 1996). "Good Templar Park". Illinois History. Retrieved October 9, 2015. 
  10. ^ "The Viking Ship will be open from 1:00 to 4:00 PM on October 17". Friends of the Viking Ship. Retrieved October 9, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°53′N 88°31′W / 41.883°N 88.517°W / 41.883; -88.517