Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Frog Lives

Flint-area blogger Scottr has uncovered the fate of the Genesee Valley frog. It has been liberated from its highly commercialized indoor home, freed from the Muzak and fluorescent lighting by the Ruth Mott Foundation:
"The Friendly Frog has found a new home at Applewood! Purchased from the Children’s Museum in late 2004, guests will find The Friendly Frog just inside the estate’s Lot K entrance gate on a brand new “lily pad”! The smiling amphibian was created out of terrazzo and concrete by renowned sculptor Marshall Fredericks (1908-98). Working from studios in Royal Oak and Bloomfield, Fredericks left a rich legacy of famous pieces that include The Spirit of Detroit to mark a chief government building for that city, and Christ on the Cross at Indian River. A bronze replica of The Friendly Frog is on view at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. A cast of the frog is owned by the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum at Saginaw Valley State University.

"The Friendly Frog’s first home was the Genesee Valley Shopping Center, which commissioned it in 1970 near the time of its opening. The frog’s richly textured surface and gracefully slanted back naturally invite climbing and sliding. Children strolling through Genesee Valley found it irresistible, but eventually the shopping mall decided to part with it. In 1986, Genesee Valley turned the frog over to the Children’s Museum, then housed at the North Bank Center in downtown Flint. The museum was able to put it on exhibit there, introducing it to a new generation of children. But when the Children’s Museum moved to its current quarters at 1602 West Third Avenue, the staff was advised that the floor would not sustain the weight. Carefully stored by Hank Fracalossi at C & S Motors since 1993, the sculpture was brought to Applewood in 2004. The Friendly Frog quickly became a favorite spot for photographs and brought back many fond memories for visitors. Its new 'pad' includes a colorful slip-resistant surface, water features, seating and pots of beautiful flowers. Be sure to bring the little ones in your life to Applewood this summer to meet The Friendly Frog, join The Friendly Frog Fan Club and create new memories!"

11 comments:

  1. Man, I loved that frog!

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  2. All this time I thought it was at the Children's museum. Nice to know where it is now.

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  3. I loved it too! I remember as a kid in the 70s climbing all over that thing with my siblings and cousins. So much fun. Good to know it's still around.

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  4. I loved this frog also. I was just looking at pictures I took at Mott Park where I found the frog happily residing. I'm glad he has a good home because I have wonderful memories of playing on him as a child. He was the highlight of my visit to the mall. (at least while I was too young to be interested in shopping lol)

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  5. Was there ever a frog at Meijers on Pierson Rd? I could have sworn that's where the frog was. I remember the frog and climbing all over it as a kid.

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  6. Meijer's had a play area where parents could abandon thier kids and go shopping. Can't remember all of the animals adorning that spot. But there were three statues (one was a bear) for kids to climb all over and crack their heads on. There was also a black and white TV perpetually set to static.

    Loved that Meijer's.

    During the Bicentennial Meijer's offered 50 tiny historical flags of various times in American history. They would sell a different flag every week. I begged my Mom for each and every one of those collectables. They're sort of worthless now. But I still have every one of them stored in a vintage Meijer's Thrifty Acres paper bag.

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  7. There was a play area at that Meijer, my mom used to leave us there when she went shopping. I think there used to be a frog there. I definitely remember playing on the frog at the mall! We loved that thing!

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  8. That frog or an identical copy was @ the center rd. Meijer for a period of time. Along with the elevated, shag carpet play area for parents to leave their kids while they shopped. Please respond to this comment if u have more info or dates. Jason

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  9. Whatever happened to the impression of the side of a person into a brass? (Sorry, it is hard to describe) That was also a prominent artifact at Genesee Valley for many years.

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    1. Whoa! Yeah! I remember that too . . . seems like it had 3 different profiles. I remember wondering "How did they make that? Standing in molten metal would not be good!"

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