Meet The Southern Minnesota Monument That Will ‘Change Directions’
While it isn't a monolith that suddenly appeared in Northfield's Bridge Square, it can draw plenty of attention as it might be the only monument in the US that can change directions in any given year. But why does the eagle at the top change the direction it faces? Is something loose? Is it meant to note daylight savings time? No and No. The eagle can be moved to change the way it faces as the result of a football game.
The iron eagle atop the Civil War monument in Northfield's Bridge Square has been known to change direction in the fall after the game between St Olaf College and Carleton College, with the eagle atop the monument being turned to face the direction of the campus that won.
According to the St. Olaf Touchdown Club and their website the tradition of "turning the eagle" has taken place for a long time, but no one really knows when it began.
"After each St. Olaf/Carleton game the winning team walks to the square and the seniors each turn the eagle until it is pointing to the respective campus. No one seems to know when or why this tradition started, but it means a lot to the players and those who live in Northfield. After "the turning" you often find "of age" Oles and their fans in local establishments enjoying a beverage -- the players still in shoulderpads."
The last time the teams played, way back in 2019 thanks to COVID-19, St Olaf won 36-19, extending their winning streak to 6 in-a-row and the direction of the eagle pointing towards the Ole campus for another year.
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