Herr Gessler

On the corner of Main Street and Otsego Avenue in Gaylord, Michigan, stands a statue of Herr Gessler -- the evil 14th century Swiss ruler assassinated by William Tell

According to legend, Gessler hung his hat in the town square and demanded that the townsfolk bow before the hat.  William Tell and his young son refused to bow to the hat, and were arrested. Gessler told Tell that he and his son would be spared from execution if Tell would shoot an apple off the head of his son. Tell accepted the challenge and split the apple with an arrow from his crossbow.

The legend claims that Tell later killed Gessler and took his place as ruler. However, the townfolk of Gaylord, Michigan, disagree. They claim that Gessler escaped to Gaylord and now tries to ruin their annual Alpenfest by demanding people bow to his hat.

A 1500 pound statue of Gessler carved from a cottonwood tree

Ben and Sophia refuse to bow to the hat

Herr Gessler refused to smile for a photo