King Kong on Central Administration Building, 1990

Jan. 18, 1990

 phil

School board has “monkey” on its back: King Kong is atop the Central Administration Building in this snow sculpture in the front yard at 2101 E. 4th St. in Duluth in this Jan. 18, 1990, photo. (Chuck Curtis / News-Tribune)

Snow sculptures in winter are a common sight in the front yard of Harry Welty’s home on the corner of 21st Avenue East and Fourth Street in Duluth.

One of his creations, depicting a King Kong-esque gorilla atop the Central Administration Building in downtown Duluth, has become the mascot for the former Duluth School Board member’s Web site.

“You found Phil,” Welty said Tuesday in a phone interview. “I very much enjoyed making that one.”

Welty, who began building snow sculptures around 1987-88, estimated he spent about four days’ worth of time on the gorilla-administration building project in January 1990.

“I try to do it when [the snow is] warm, sticky,” said Welty, a member of Let Duluth Vote, a group opposed to the Duluth school district’s long-range facilities plan. “Then I’m working with clay instead of chipping away marble.”

Other Welty snow sculptures include the Lincoln Memorial, Bill Clinton playing saxophone, dinosaurs and Mount Rushmore.

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