Highway 73 just north of Marshdale has its gnome back, though this time it’s a ladies-only situation.
Maminka the female gnome now sits proudly outside the house that has been famous over the years for its iconic gnomes. The male gnome, Gnomie, was stolen more than a year ago, much to the dismay of owner Andre Yerkes, neighbors and motorists who drive up and down the highway.
Yerkes put a sign along the road to alert passers-by that Gnomie had been stolen, and he’s grateful for all the calls from people who believed they saw Gnomie at various locations.
“It always turned out to be a gnome but not Gnomie,” he said.
When Gnomie was stolen, Yerkes hid Maminka away, hoping to save her from the same fate. Recently he decided the neighborhood deserved to have its gnome landmark back.
“We know we’re risking this one being stolen,” Yerkes said, “but it’s the neighborly thing to do. We hope it will be up there for quite a while.”
He said people have begun stopping again to take pictures of Maminka.
Gnomie had been sitting on a stump in the front of the Yerkes home for more than six years, though for people driving up and down Highway 73, it seemed like he had been there forever.
Gnomie and his wife, Maminka, were carved by Rich Krupicka, the well-known Conifer wood carver who lives farther south on Highway 73.
Gnomie was beloved by Andre’s mom, Toni Yerkes, who had a collection of more than 200 gnomes.
Now the female gnome is back, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, she will be there for a long time to come.
“The whole idea,” Yerkes said, “is to try and bring a smile back to the community’s face.”