Hamm's Bear homeless
St. Paul council rejects offer to put monument in city park
Sept 4, 2003 - The St. Paul City Council has rejected on offer to put a six-foot monument of the famous Hamm's Bear in a local park, although it said another spot in the city might be appropriate.
Kirk Schnitker, president of the Hamm's Club a group of Hamm's enthusiasts said he was discouraged that the council overruled the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Commission, which last year approved a plan to accept the monument from the club and erect it near Hamm's Falls in Como Park.
"I don't think they really want it," said Schnitker. "From my perspective, what they're saying is, 'We'll take it if we have to, but we'll put it someplace where people aren't going to see it.'"
The club raised about $12,000 for the granite monument, which shows the bear rolling a log. The bear became a familiar sight on TV commercials of the '50 and '60s, accompanied by the jingle that began, "From the land of sky-blue waters . . ."
Club members picked Como Park because it's a heavily used park in a city that was home to the Hamm's brewery for decades. But the council said it wasn't the right spot.
Although the monument doesn't mention beer, Council Member Jay Benanav said it would still indirectly promote alcohol. Council Member Kathy Lantry said the best place would be at the old Hamm's brewery site, which has awaited redevelopment since Stroh's closed in 1997.
The famous bear first appeared in 1952 in Hamm's Beer TV ads that featured a pristine version of Minnesota, where Hamm's was created in 1865. The ads helped shape the state's outdoorsy image.
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