Can you solve this mystery on Monster Road?

Nov 3, 2016, 2:31 PM

Monster Road...

Who put the giant concrete urns on the old railroad overpass structures on Monster Road in Renton? (Feliks Banel)

(Feliks Banel)

The thousands of cars speeding overhead on Interstate 405 near the border of Renton and Tukwila have no idea what they’re missing. Directly below, on a winding industrial thoroughfare called Monster Road, a “mystery art project” is piquing curiosity and confounding the experts.

Mount St. Helens just got a lot more mysterious

On either side of Monster Road, in an area just north of the old Longacres racetrack, stand matching concrete structures. They are all that’s left of an old railroad overpass.  The main BNSF north-south railroad line is nearby, so the old overpass likely is from a siding that served some kind of industrial purpose many years ago.  From the style and condition of the concrete, it appears the overpass was built sometime in the 1960s.

The mystery here isn’t the old relics of railroad infrastructure, though it would be interesting to know where the old siding led. The mystery is the two giant concrete urns, or perhaps they are planters. They’re about six feet in diameter and rest on top of each of the structures. Where did they come from? Who put them there? When? And why?

Mystery on Monster Road

The northern structure is easily visible from vehicles passing on Monster Road; the southern structure is almost completely concealed with blackberry vines and other vegetation. When both were visible, it must have created quite a sight – like the entrance to an important city in “Mad Max” or perhaps something from the grand arena in “The Hunger Games.”

Ornamental Stone is a local manufacturer of concrete planters for public spaces. In comparing photos they provided, the Monster Road planters don’t appear to have been made by them.

We also reached out to the Washington State Department of Transportation, City of Renton, and BNSF Railway but have not yet heard back anything . . . concrete.

Monster Road, by the way, is called that for a farmer who once lived nearby named Charles A. Monster. Thank you, Mister Monster!

Can you help solve the Mystery on Monster Road? Comment below or send email to

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Can you solve this mystery on Monster Road?