Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Meet Iggy!

So, who is Iggy? Simply enough, he is a 40-foot long sculpture found at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Nick Swearer was the teen artist that created Iggy, based on the family pet iguana named Spot. He was using railroad spikes to create a tree, when he noted one day that it resembled the scales of a lizard. During the cold Minnesota winter of 1971, 15-year old Nick began working on an iguana leg in the basement. It became a long-term project that would take 4 years and 12,500 railroad spikes! For creating the entire iguana body, a chicken wire frame was pieced together. Railroad spike heads (cut off from the spike itself) was welded together to form a skin over the wire, which was melted away in the process. To create the face and some of the bottom parts of the iguana, sheet metal was used instead, hammered into bumps using a dished-out tree stump. The pieces were then welded together. The last part of the project involved taking the back spines and torching them away and beleved in steel plate. Upon completion, many different places were interested in purchasing the sculpture, but Nick decided to sell it to the Science Museum of Minnesota. The museum decided the statue would best fit outside near the front entrance, as a guard or host. The giant iguana is a favorite of many visitors to the museum that just can't help but to touch it. When the Science Museum made the move to their new riverfront location recently, Iggy received some much needed repair work, especially since part of the tail and a toe had been broken. Afterwards, he was taken on a whirlwind tour of the Twin Cities as a publicity stunt. The Science Museum made the choice to put him down by the riverfront entrance, once again welcoming guests to the museum. It was a difficult decision considering that the upper entrance on Kellogg would have ensured Iggy had more interaction with the people in downtown. Nevertheless, this 26-year old sculpture is an amazing piece of art.

I met Iggy back in 1998, when I had first begun exploring downtown on my own. I had just become interested in Saint Paul and I couldn't remember what downtown was like since I had not visited it extensively in a long time. On a Friday night, I biked down there, looking at the buildings and just exploring (no camera yet). By chance, I found the Science Museum and instantly became attracted to the giant lizard outside the entrance. I walked up to it, admiring the craftmanship and the fact we had a giant iguana in Saint Paul (I love lizards, I don't know why). By the time I got my camera, Iggy was taken out of public view and repaired. When they moved to the riverfront, I was very disappointed to see they put him down by the riverfront side, because that cut him off from downtown almost entirely. Yet, on a warm August day in 2001, I was eating at Cosetta, an Italian restuarant in the West Seventh neighborhood. With easy access to the riverfront, I headed down to the Science Museum, and finally got much needed pictures of Iggy. I'd hate to have the beautiful sculpture become some hard-to-find photo in my archive, so I decided to make the lizard my official mascot for the site. Since I have loved lizards and always wanted to have something about them, I decided I could have my cake and eat it too by nominating Iggy to be on my front page. Now visitors to the internet can meet Iggy on-line, but believe me, it's so much better to meet him in person! To give people a proper introduction, this page is dedicated to Iggy, my favorite piece of art in the whole Twin Cities!

Iggy Pictures

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Click on any of these numbers to see another photo of Iggy (opens in a new window).

All graphics and pictures of Iggy on this site were solely taken and created by me, Chuck Roberts, and are intended exculsively for this website. Information about Iggy was supplied from Nick Swearer's website ( All information for this site was re-written by myself and at no time have I intentionally committed any plagiarism. All the Iggy photos at this site are property of Iggy the Iguana is owned by Nick Swearer and the Science Museum of Minnesota. This site claims no legal (or otherwise) ownership or rights to Iggy whatsoever.