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Building Guide for

Seasons Greenings: Roadside Attractions


The Big Chair
Washington, D.C.
built 1959

Building Materials
willow, cedar, mahogany
pod, birch bark, birch sticks,
dusty miller, gourd, horse
chestnut bark, grape vine,
acorn caps, hickory nut hull,
eucalyptus pods, cloves,
dawn redwood cone, fungi

Intended as an advertisement by
a furniture maker hoping to draw
curious customers into his showroom,
The Big Chair (technically known as
Chair) is public artwork that sits
at an intersection in the Anacostia
neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
At the time of its construction, it was
considered the largest chair in the
world. The original chair was 19.5
feet tall and made entirely of solid
Honduras mahogany. After several
decades, the chair began to rot, and a
new chair with the same dimensions,
credit: Ted Eytan

made of aluminum, replaced the


disintegrating wooden chair in 2005.
The Big Duck
Flanders, New York
built 1931

Building Materials
Facade: gourd
Door: salt cedar twigs,
acorn handles, grape
vine hinges
Foundation: oak, white
pine bark
Body/Head/Wings:
gourds
Beak: yucca pods
Eyes: rose hips

The Big Duck is the creation of duck


farmer Martin Maurer, who wanted
a unique shop where he could sell his
ducks and duck eggs. The building
speaks to Flanders heritage as the
center of Long Islands duck-farming
industry. The Big Ducks location and
appearance ensured its success as a
retail poultry store until its closure
in 1988. Since then, the building has
belonged to Suffolk County and is the
centerpiece of Big Duck Ranch, which
is listed on the National Registrar of
Historic Places. The Big Duck is the
origin of the architectural term duck,
credit: Joel Kramer

which refers to a building that takes


the shape of the everyday object or
product to which it relates.
The Blue Whale
Catoosa, Oklahoma
built 1972

Building Materials
sea grape leaves,
sugar pine cone
scales, gourd slices,
sala leaves, acorn
caps, willow

credit: Carol Highsmith

This giant blue whale was hand-made by Hugh Davis as a gift to his wife Zelta, who adored
blue whales. It measures 20 feet tall and 80 feet long and features a ladder leading up to a secret
compartment in its head. The pond surrounding the whale quickly became popular among locals
for swimming and picnicking. Davis expanded the attraction to include a reptile exhibit and trading
post, but the park closed when he and his wife were no longer able to maintain it. Eventually the
park fell into disrepair, but a community group raised money to restore it and maintains it to this
day. The site remains a popular destination for picnicking and enjoying the massive blue whale.
Boll Weevil Monument
Enterprise, Alabama
built 1919

Building Materials
Harry Lauders walking stick,
willow, gourds, palm bark, pine
cone scales, turkeytail fungus,
acorn caps, lotus pod, Australian
pine cone, coconut, grape vine,
baobab pods, mahogany pods, star
anise, pintado hearts, lafi pods, arti
pods, devils horn, pine stems, coral
stick, screw pods

This monument is a tribute to the boll weevil,


which changed the agricultural history of
Coffee County, Alabama. After boll weevils Photographs in Carol M. Highsmiths America, Library of

wiped out their cotton crops, farmers turned to


credit: The George F. Landegger Collection of Alabama

planting peanuts instead. They discovered that


the Alabama climate was perfect for growing
Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

peanuts, and Coffee County soon became


the leading peanut producer of the United
States. Locals erected the 13-foot-tall statue in
appreciation for the insect. The statute shows a
woman in Grecian attire holding a boll weevil
above her head. It is the worlds first monument
to an agricultural pest.
Cadillac Ranch
Amarillo, Texas
built 1974

Building Materials
grout, salal leaves,
ruscus leaves, myrtle
leaves, bamboo,
gourds, acorn caps, red
sandalwood seeds

credit: Richie Diesterheft

Created by an art collective called The Ant Farm, Cadillac Ranch is an iconic art piece located along
the Route 66 highway in Texas. Ten Cadillac cars in a line are half-buried, nose-down, in the middle of
a field. Over the decades, tourists have torn off parts of the cars and covered them with innumerable
layers of spray paint. In an era when Cadillac cars were a symbol of luxury and wealth, Cadillac Ranch
was a commentary on materialist values.
Coffee Pot and Cup Water Towers
Stanton, Iowa
built 1971 (coffee pot) and 2000 (cup)

Building Materials
bamboo, gourd, kiwi vine, estrella, Harry
Lauders walking stick, birch bark, acorn
cap, leaf pod, mahogany pods and leaves,
pistachio shells, coconut, putka pods,
grape vine
Coffee Facts
The coffee bean is actually the seed of the
coffee cherry; there are two beans per
cherry. There are two dominant species
of coffee plants: Coffea arabica and Coffea
robusta. It takes about 5 pounds of coffee
cherries to derive 1 pound of roasted
coffee.

credit: Jimmy Emerson


credit: Jimmy Emerson

The Coffee Pot water tower celebrates Stantons Scandinavian cultural heritage as well as the legacy
of Stanton-born Virginia Christine, the spokeswoman for Folgers coffee. The pot is painted in
Swedish style with hearts and flowers; it is 35 feet tall and 20 feet wide. It is capable of holding
800,000 cups of coffee (were it actually used as a coffee pot), earning it the title of Worlds Largest
Coffee Pot. High maintenance costs led the town to take the pot down, but it is still on display at
the towns historical society. The replacement water tower is shaped like a cup and saucer. It is 96
feet tall and holds 150,000 gallons of water. Its appearance mimics the Swedish style of the Coffee
Pot.
Coney Island Hot Dog Stand
Bailey, Colorado
built 1966

Building Materials
Roof: gourd
Facade: gourd
Door: birch bark
Window: winged euonymus
Foundation: elm bark
Relish: pimenta basil
Mustard: oak leaves
Awning: pod, pinecone scales
Picnic Tables: cedar
Railing: forsythia, Harry Lauders
walking stick

credit: LT Hanlon

A classic example of roadside architecture, this diner is shaped like a giant hot dog complete
with toppings. The hot dog is 42 feet long, and the building weighs 18 tons. The original owner
envisioned a chain of hot-dog-shaped diners across the state, but his business closed and he
sold the building. Successive owners have relocated the diner from Denver, to Aspen Park, to
its current location in Bailey, Colorado. The diner underwent renovations and reopened for
business in 2016. It serves a variety of local fare and, of course, coney-style hot dogs.

Wheat Facts
Wheat (Triticum spp.) is grown in 42 U.S. states. A bushel of wheat can make 42 one-and-a-half
pound loaves of white bread. If an average loaf contains 24 slices, that means 500 sandwiches
can be made from one bushel of wheat. Over the past 10 years, 59 million acres of wheat were
planted in the U.S. -- equal to 44 million football fields!
Corn Palace
Mitchell, South Dakota
built 1892
Building Materials
Domes: gourds, pistachio shells, burr oak acorn cap,
sandalwood seeds, salal leaves, stewartia pods, Australian
pine cones
Marquee Sign: birch bark, grape vine, mung beans,
pistachio shells, star anise seeds
Upper Marquee Flourish: willow
Center Mural Awnings: gourds, cedrela pods
Facade Front Wall: corn husk, pine cone scales, star anise
pods, fungi, horse chestnut bark
Facade Side Walls: corn husk, cedrela pods, mung beans,
peppercorns, horse chestnut bark,
Murals: grape vine, mung beans, integrifolia leaves, brazilia
pods, jequitiba pods, birch bark, mahogany pods, willow
Trim/Windows/Doors: palm stem, willow, winged
euonymous, honeysuckle, acorn caps, bamboo, hickory
bark, horse chestnut bark, cottonwood bark, red dawn pine
cones, red pine cones, roping

Corn Facts
The U.S. is the largest producer of
corn (Zea mays) in the world, and
corn plays an important role in the
countrys economy. Every state in
the nation grows corn, and Iowa
and Illinois are the top producers.
Only 1 percent of corn planted
in the U.S. is sweet corn. Corn is
found in shampoo, toothpaste,
credit: Parkerdr

chewing gum, marshmallows,


crayons, paper, and more.

The original Corn Palace dates back to an era when crop palaces were gaining ground among
agricultural communities in the Great Plains as a way to showcase their agricultural products.
The Corn Palace demonstrated that South Dakota was a viable agricultural location, capable
of producing bountiful crops. It was rebuilt several times over the decades, and adorned with
onion domes and minarets. Each year, an artist designs a mural made out of ears of corn to
cover the exterior of the building. In addition to being the main tourist attraction in Mitchell,
the Corn Palace is also a functional basketball arena.
Dinosaur Park
Rapid City, South Dakota
built 1936

Building Materials
Tyrannosaurus rex
gourds, horse
chestnut bark,
bamboo, peach pit,
pistachio shells,
coulter pine cone
scales, driftwood

Triceratops
gourds, horse
chestnut bark,
sponge fungus,
willow, eucalyptus
pods, coral stick,
driftwood

Argentinosaurus
gourds, horse
chestnut bark,
driftwood, anise,
mahogany pods
credit: Minnesota Jones

Dinosaur Park consists of seven dinosaur statues placed on a hill overlooking Rapid City, South
Dakota. Developed by the city along with the Works Progress Administration, its creators
hoped the location would attract tourists coming to the Black Hills to visit Mount Rushmore.
Most of the dinosaurs depicted are based on fossils that have been found in South Dakota
and the western United States. The dinosaurs in the park are Apatosaurus, Tyrannosaurus rex,
Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Edmontosaurus annectens, Protoceratops, and Dimetrodon (technically a
synapsid, not a dinosaur). As in the ancient past, time has not been kind to these dinosaurs, and
some are missing their teeth and claws.
Ear of Corn Water Tower
Rochester, Minnesota
built 1931

Building Materials
Ear: gourd
Kernels: acorn caps
Husk: oak leaves
Tower: honeysuckle vine,
palm fronds

credit: Jonathunder

This giant ear of corn is 150 feet tall and has towered over the town of Rochester since 1931. It
has 16 rows of kernels, a typical number found on a real ear of corn. In addition to providing
water, it is a symbol of the importance of agriculture to the surrounding community.

Corn Facts
Corn (Zea mays) is native to America and is grown on every continent except Antarctica.
Selective breeding over thousands of years, in addition to recent advances in scientific research,
has altered the plant to produce the large ears of corn that we have today. An ear of corn can
have between 500 and 1200 kernels, with one silk for every kernel in an ear of corn.
Elwood, the Worlds Tallest Concrete Gnome
Ames, Iowa
built 2010

Building Materials
Hat: gourd
Beard and Hair: roots, driftwood
Ears: badam pods
Eyes: lotus seeds
Eyelids: acorn caps
Lips: hickory nut hull
Skin: tobacco leaf
Body and Shoes: gourds
Shirt: palm fiber
Shovel: driftwood
Flower: bell pods

The tallest concrete gnome in the world is


dubbed Elwood and lives at the Reiman
Gardens of Iowa State University. It is 15 feet
tall and made of 3,500 pounds of steel rebar and
concrete. The Reiman Gardens commissioned
him for their theme A Celebration of Garden
Ornamentation, hoping to attract visitors and
set a world record for the worlds tallest gnome.
Unfortunately, right before completing the
project, they heard about an 18-foot-tall gnome
credit: Scott McLeod

that had been built in Poland. Luckily that


one was made of fiberglass, leaving the title of
Worlds Largest Concrete Gnome to Elwood.
Golden Digger
Tulsa, Oklahoma
built 1952

credit: Greg McKinney


Building Materials
Man: tobacco leaf, English walnut hull
Tower: bamboo
Train: bamboo, pistachio shell, willow, pecan shell,
acorn caps
Clouds: sponge fungus
Tulsa Buildings: variety of wood
Sky: birch bark
Track: winged euonymus

The Golden Driller is a statue of an oil worker that is 75 feet tall, making it the fifth-tallest statue
in America. It rests its right hand on an oil derrick, a type of machinery used in oil drilling and
extraction. The statue was dedicated to the workers of the petroleum industry, which was (and
still is) an important source of economic activity for Oklahoma. The state has been one of the
leading oil producers in the U.S. since 1907, and the Golden Driller is its state monument.

Crude Oil Facts


Crude oil, a fossil fuel, can trace its roots to both plants and animals that lived millions of years
ago.
Hollywood Sign
Hollywood, California
built 1923

Building Materials
Letters: willow cut lengthwise
Hillside: osage orange branch

credit: Thomas Wolf

The iconic Hollywood Sign sits on the Santa Monica Mountains. Each letter is 45 feet tall, and
the entire word stretches to a length of 350 feet. Originally the sign spelled out Hollywoodland,
the name of a housing development that was never completed. The sign fell into disrepair,
but since it had become a well-known landmark, the city governments of Hollywood and Los
Angeles worked together to repair it in 1949. They removed the word land from the end to
reflect the name of the city rather than the housing development.
Jimmy Carter Peanut
Plains, Georgia
built 1976

Building Materials
Lips/Teeth: drift wood
Body: tobacco, cork

The smile on this peanut is meant to mimic the toothy


grin of President Jimmy Carter. Three Indiana residents
made the statue in honor of then-candidate Carters visit
to Indiana when he campaigned in 1976. After Carter
won the presidency, the statue moved to his hometown
of Plains, GA, where it remains today. It stands 13 feet
tall and is the worlds second-largest peanut. Local legend
attributes the large hole in its back to Secret Service
agents, who cut it open during Carters visit to Indiana to
ensure there were no assassins or bombs hidden inside.

Peanut Facts
Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) are believed to have originated
in South America. They are technically a legume, not
a nut, belonging to the same family as peas and beans.
credit: Richard Elzey

Georgia grows almost half of all the peanuts in the United


States. The average American eats about 6 pounds of
peanuts per year, mostly in the form of peanut butter.
Jolly Green Giant
Blue Earth, Minnesota
built 1979

Building Materials
Skin: horse chestnut bark
Tunic: salal leaves, birch bark,
oak leaves, magnolia leaves
Boots: palm fabric
Eyes/Mouth: lily petals

Food Preservation Facts


Canning, drying, fermenting, freezing, and root
cellaring are all excellent ways to preserve fresh
vegetables at home.

The Jolly Green Giant lives up to his name, standing


more than 55 feet tall. It weighs 8,000 pounds and is
made of fiberglass. A local radio talk show host wanted
to attract passing motorists to the town using the image
of the Jolly Green Giant, a well-known mascot of the
canning company which had a canning plant in the same
town. The host had a talk show where he would interview
passing travelers and then give them a can of vegetables.
People kept telling him that they wanted to actually
credit: Doug Kerr

see the Green Giant, so he raised funds from local


townspeople and commissioned the giant statue.
Leaning Tower of Niles Water Tower
Niles, Illinois
built 1934

Building Materials
Ash bark, birch bark,
honeysuckle vine, Harry Lauders
walking stick, cork bark, elm
bark, grape vine, white stick,
horse chestnut, eucalyptus pods,
black walnut slices, osage orange
bark, cedrela, hickory nut hulls,
beechnut seeds, star anise pods,
mahogany pods, wild thistle,
willow, sequoia, reed

Roughly half the size of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in


Italy, Niles Leaning Tower is not a tower at all but a
clever solution to hide a large water tank. Businessman
Robert Ilg needed a mechanism to supply water to
outdoor pools in the park he built, but he also wanted
to preserve the natural beauty of the area. To that end,
he built a water tower resembling the Leaning Tower
of Pisa, using reinforced concrete so that its lean would
stay consistent. Ilgs outdoor pools are gone, but the
credit: Miroslaw Mucha

tower remains as a major attraction in the city. No


doubt due to shared architectural inspiration, Niles and
Pisa became sister cities in 1991.
Lucy the Elephant
Margate City, New Jersey
built 1881

Building Materials
cork bark, gourd, white fungus,
turkey tail fungus, walnut shell,
bamboo, eucalyptus leaves,
pistachio, peach pit, hickory hull,
mahogany pods, orange slices,
coral stick

Lucy the Elephant is a six-story elephant-


shaped building that is the oldest
surviving roadside tourist attraction in
America. Lucys original purpose was to
promote real estate sales, and potential
buyers would stand on the carriage atop
the elephant surveying land parcels for
sale. Today, Lucys carriage still serves as
an observation deck for tourists. Lucy
the Elephants builder, James V. Lafferty,
won a patent that gave him exclusive
rights for constructing animal-shaped
buildings for the duration of 17 years.
Lucy is the only surviving creation
of Lafferty, who also built two other
credit: Harriet Duncan

elephant-shaped buildings. Lucys tusks


technically identify her as a male, but
local tradition has solidified her identity
as a female.
Mr. Potato Head
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
built 2000

Building Materials
Skin: tobacco leaf
Hat: gourd, vine
Eyebrows: monkey face pods
Eyes: gourds
Nose: gourd
Mustache: baobab pods
Teeth: driftwood
Ears: gourd
Hands: eucalyptus leaves
Shoes: oak bark, eucalyptus
leaves, honeysuckle vine

This giant version of the Mr. Potato Head


toy is 6 feet tall and made of fiberglass.
Toy company Hasbro paired with the state
of Rhode Island to distribute 37 statues
across the state in 2000, each customized
by artists to highlight parts of the states
history and culture. As part of the tourism-
promoting project, Mr. Potato Head was
named the official family-travel ambassador
of Rhode Island. This iconic toy has been
in production since 1952 and was featured
in the movie Toy Story. Originally the toy
consisted of a set of plastic parts that could
credit: Matt Cloutier

be pushed into a real potato.

Potato Facts
A medium-sized potato contains no fat or cholesterol, has only 110 calories, and has 18 percent
of the recommended daily value of potassium - more than a banana. Today potatoes are grown in
all 50 states of the U.S. and in about 125 countries throughout the world. Idaho produces the most
potatoes in the United States. In October 1995, the potato became the first vegetable to be grown
in space. NASA and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, created the technology with the goal
of feeding astronauts on long space voyages and eventually feeding future space colonies.
Mount Rushmore
Keystone, South Dakota
carved 1927-1941

Carved over the course of


decades, from 1927 to 1941, the
faces of four U.S. presidents adorn
the granite edifice of Mount
Rushmore. The sculptor, Gutzon
Borglum, chose to depict the
likenesses of George Washington,
Thomas Jefferson, Theodore
Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln
because of their wide appeal and
credit: Mike Tigas

importance to American history.


Mount Rushmore attracts three
million visitors per year.

Building Materials
George Washington: Theodore Roosevelt:
palm fiber, palm pod, driftwood, mahogany black walnut bark, badam pods, driftwood
hull, palm stem, sponge fungus, horse chestnut
bark, bur oak acorn, arti pods Abraham Lincoln:
tree burl, driftwood
Thomas Jefferson:
lacy pine bark, mahogany pod, driftwood Base:
black walnut bark, white pine bark, elm
Niagara Falls and the Maid of the Mist
Niagara Falls, NY, USA and Ontario, Canada

Building Materials
Maid of the Mist:
birch bark, reed, ruscus leaf,
gourd, cedrela, oak leaf,
pistachios, monkey cup pod,
mahogany pod, grapevine

Niagara Flora Facts


The Niagara River Gorge is home to 14
species of rare plants, some threatened
and endangered. The total number of flora
species documented on Goat Island over
the last two centuries is over 600.

credit: Robert F. Tobler


Geologically speaking, Niagara Falls is young. Approximately 12,000 years ago, water
descended over the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. Native Americans living in the Niagara
region were most likely the first people to witness the power of Niagara Falls. Father Louis
Hennepin, a French priest, was the first European to document the area during a 1678
expedition.

In the 1800s, the emerging rail system brought hordes of visitors to Niagara Falls, making it
a prime destination for travelers from all over the globe. This included Napoleon Bonapartes
younger brother, Jerome. In 1804, he honeymooned at Niagara Falls with his American bride
which, according to some, started Niagara Falls honeymoon tradition.

In 1895, the worlds first large-scale hydroelectric generating station opened in Niagara Falls.
Hydroelectric power plants on both the American and Canadian sides of the Falls can produce
up to 2.4 million kilowatts of electricity.
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
Bemidji, Minnesota
built 1937

Building Materials
cork bark, juniper, acorn caps,
fungi, walnut shell, cinnamon
stick, pear pods, pine cone
scales, pistachio shell,
magnolia leaves, palm leaves,
aspen leaves, palm pods,
orchid petals, pandanus pods,
corn husk, fungus, salal leaves,
gourds, Australian pine fruits

credit: Tastocke

Located in Bemidji, Minnesota, the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues are one of the
earliest roadside attractions in America. The sculptures were made during the rise in popularity
of automobile travel to attract the attention of passing motorists. They are made from cement,
stucco, and steel. American folklore states that Paul was 63 axe handles tall, and that it took a
crow an entire day to fly from one of Babes horns to the other. The massive pair are credited with
creating the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota by making footprints that filled with rainwater. The Paul
Bunyan structure stands18 feet tall and is about 5 feet wide. Babe the Blue Ox stands 10 feet tall
with the width between the nose and tail at 23 feet.
Peachoid Water Tower
Gaffney, South Carolina (another in Alabama)
built 1981

Building Materials
Peach: gourd
Leaf: royal poinciana pod
Tower: palm fiber, horse chestnut

credit: Owen1962
The Peachoid is a 135-foot-tall water tower constructed and painted to look like a peach. An
example of novelty architecture, it holds 1 million gallons of water. The people of Gaffney
selected the symbol of a peach for their water tower because at one point the county that Gaffney
is located in produced more peaches per year than the entire state of Georgia.

Peach Facts
The average American eats about 6 pounds of peaches (Prunus persica) per year. About
half of all peaches produced in the U.S. are sold as fresh fruits. There are two basic kinds of
peaches: clingstone, where the flesh of the fruit clings to the pit, and freestone, where the pit
is easily disconnected from the flesh. Freestone peaches are the most popular kind for fresh
consumption. California is the top peach producer in the U.S., followed by South Carolina and
then Georgia. Some say that the alkalinity of South Carolina soil makes for sweeter peaches.
Pineapple Water Tower
Honolulu, Hawaii
built 1928
Building Materials
sugar pine cone scales, palm paddles,
willow, honeysuckle vine, kiwi vine,
esterealla, badam pods, gourd

Pineapple Facts
The common name pineapple was an archaic
term for pine cones, and English explorers confused
the pineapple (Ananas comosus) fruits for pine
cones. Bromelain, a mixture of enzymes found
in pineapples, is capable of breaking down raw
meat and can be used as meat tenderizer. It is also
responsible for the feeling of mouth-soreness that
some people experience after eating pineapple.
Large-scale pineapple production in the U.S.
began in the early 20th century, mostly in Hawaii.
In European iconography, pineapples symbolize
hospitality.

The giant pineapple water tower of Honolulu


provided water for the Hawaii Pineapple Co., which
later became Dole Pineapple. The tank, which was
painted like a pineapple with 46 steel leaves on
the top, was 40 feet tall and held 100,000 gallons of
water. The topmost part of the tower stood almost
200 feet above sea level and was also a beacon for
arriving ships. The Dole pineapple cannery closed,
the water tower fell into disrepair, and ultimately in
1993 it was dismantled and put into storage.

The builders Chicago Bridge and Iron became so


well known for its production of the pineapple
tank that over the years it went on to build other
advertising water towers: the Gerbers Baby Food
credit: Ian Abbott

Jar (Rochester, NY), the Sir Walter Raleigh Tobacco


Can (Louisville, KY), and a Monarch Flour Sack
(Toronto).
Randys Donuts
Inglewood, California
built 1953

Building Materials
Roof: sand
Facade: grout, willow
Door: birch bark
Window: willow
Donut: gourd
Trim: winged euonymus

Wheat Facts
There are six types of wheat: hard red
winter, hard red spring, soft red winter,
soft white, hard white, and durum. Gluten
flour and bread flour provide high protein
content and elasticity, which can be good
for glazed donuts. An all purpose flour,
cake flour, or pastry flour would be better
for cake donuts.

Randys Donuts is a bakery that prides


itself on its donuts, pastries, and iconic
giant donut sign. The sign is 32.5 feet in
diameter and is placed on the roof so that
it is aimed towards the closest intersection,
for maximum visibility by passerby. The
giant donut sign is novelty architecture at its
finest, both a clear symbol of what customers
Photographs Division, LC-HS503-532
credit: Library of Congress, Prints &

can expect from the shop and a well-known


neighborhood landmark.
Route 66 Diner
Albuquerque, New Mexico
built 1946
Building Materials
Building:
Roof: palm fronds
Clock: acorn, gourd
Facade: winged euonymus, redbud seed pods,
palm stem, willow, elm bark
Lights: star anise, wheat
Sign: red oak, birch bark, blue straw flowers,
Harry Lauders walking stick

Diner (Interior):
salal leaves, palm bark, acorn caps, eucalyptus
leaves and pods, pintado hearts, butterfly
bark slices, walnut shell, willow, grape vine,
cinnamon, gourds, Harry Lauders walking
stick, birch bark, bamboo, turkey tail fungus,
sea grape leaf, badam pods

credit: Aranxta Hernandez

In the heyday of Route 66 road travel during the 1950s and 1960s, this historic building was a
Phillips gas station and service garage. It was converted to a diner in 1987 and retains much of
the original building, including a working hydraulic lift. The diner prides itself on its collections
of Route 66-era items, such as neon signs, Betty Boop memorabilia, and one of the largest PEZ
candy dispenser collections in America.
Santa Monica Pier (end of Route 66)
Santa Monica, California
opened on September 9, 1909

Building Materials
driftwood, fan palms, sago palm,
acorn caps, sand, hemlock wood,
ruscus leaves, various colorful
leaves, black bamboo, wisteria

The first concrete pier


on the west coast, the
Santa Monica pier was
constructed in the early
20th century. It was
built as a conduit for the
disposal of treated sewage
into the ocean, a practice
that only lasted into the
1920s. Around that time,
an additional pier was
connected to the original,
credit: Pacheco

creating space for an


amusement park. In 1919,
rusted concrete piles caused
a partial collapse of the Municipal Pier, leading to the installation of creosote-treated wooden
piles. Eventually the entire concrete deck was replaced with wooden boards.

The Santa Monica Pier was a popular destination for fisherman. Elzie C. Segar even created the
character of Popeye based on local fisherman Olaf C. Olsen. Today the Pier features the worlds
only solar-powered Ferris wheel and the century-old Looff Hippodrome.
Sapp Bros. Coffee Pot Water Tower
Omaha, Nebraska
built 1971

Building Materials
Roof: elm bark
Facade: coconut
Foundation: willow
Handle/Railing: Harry Lauders
walking stick
Platform: cedar, brazilia pod
Percolator: mahogany pod

The Sapp Bros. water tower was first erected


to meet local water needs in Omaha, NE. It
is now an icon for truckers driving across the
Midwest, serving as a reminder to stop and
rest during long truck routes. There are more
than 15 Sapp Bros. coffee pot water towers in
existence today.

Coffee Facts
In the U.S., coffee (Coffea
spp.) is grown in both
Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The
leaves and cherries of the
coffee plant contain caffeine,
which functions as a natural
pesticide. Coffee is a small,
evergreen tree. An understory
plant, it can grow to 30 feet if
credit: Melissa Corey

left unchecked.
See Rock City Barn
Maryville, Tennessee
painted 1936

Building Materials
Brick Facade: pine bark
Roof: white pine bark

credit: Brent Moore

The See Rock City marketing campaign is almost as famous as the Rock City attraction itself.
In order to promote the newly-created mountainside attraction, painter Clark Byers would go
door-to-door offering to paint barns for free, if they let him add the phrase See Rock City to
the barn roof. This barn is particularly iconic because its located along a heavily traveled road.
Barns were the canvas of choice for the advertising campaign due to their large size and prime
location along the secondary roads that led to Rock City. At one point, there were 900 barns
across 19 states advertising Rock City; today, only 62 are still standing. Rock City remains a
popular tourist destination.
Spoonbridge and Cherry
Minneapolis, Minnesota
built 1985

Building Materials
hollow log, gourds,
horse chestnut bark,
monkey cup pods

Spoonbridge and Cherry is an art piece


featured in the Walker Art Centers
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The
giant spoon weighs 5,800 pounds and
the cherry weighs 1,200 pounds. The
sculpture is 29 feet long and 51 feet tall.
The cherry stem is a fountain, spraying

Photo courtesy of Meet Minneapolis


water from the top of the stem into the
spoon and the pond below. During the
winter, the snow-covered spoon and
cherry are reminiscent of a bite of an ice
cream sundae. Artists Claes Oldenburg
and Coosje van Bruggen are known
for their larger-than-life renditions of
everyday objects.

Cherry Facts
The U.S. is the world leader in cherry (Prunus spp.) production. Top producers are California,
Oregon, Washington, and Michigan. The U.S. produces 370 million pounds of sweet cherries
annually. 175 million pounds of those cherries are frozen, canned, or used to produce
maraschino or glac cherries.
Teapot Dome Service Station
Zillah, Washington
built 1922

Building Materials
Harry Lauders walking stick,
birch bark, oak bark, shelf
fungus, acorn caps, cherry
sticks, leaf gall, mahogany fruit
centers (gas tanks)

Tea Facts
Tea (Camellia sinensis) is
currently grown in 17 states in
the U.S., including Maryland
and Virginia.

The Teapot Dome station is an example


of novelty architecture, which was
meant to attract travelers on the
expanding system of national highways
throughout the 1920s. The building,
made of sheet metal and concrete,
was a full-service gas station for many
years. Its creator wanted to remind
passerby of the Teapot Dome Scandal, a
bribery scandal that took place in 1921
and was regarded as one of the most
sensational scandals of early American
credit: Larry Myhre

politics, which saw the first Cabinet


member go to prison in U.S. history.
Twistee Treat Shop
Fort Meyers, Florida
(others in Texas, New York, Michigan, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Illinois)
built 1982

Building Materials
Roof: raffia
Facade: gourd
Door: birch bark
Window: winged euonymus
Foundation: oak bark
Sign: grape vine, cherry, gourd
Other: honeysuckle vine, shelf fungus

credit: Daniel Oines


Twistee Treat is a chain of ice cream stores that is still in operation today and has several
locations, each in the distinctive swirled shape of soft-serve ice cream in a cone. The original
Twistee Treat location was in Fort Meyers, Florida. The company constructed over 90 of these
ice-cream-shaped stores, with an estimated 30 still standing today.

Vanilla/Ice Cream Facts


Vanilla (Vanilla spp.) is an orchid. It is the only orchid to produce an agriculturally valuable crop.
Vanilla is Americas favorite ice cream flavor (followed by Chocolate, Cookies n Cream, Mint
Chocolate Chip, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough). Pecans are the most popular nut topping
for ice cream. Strawberries are the most popular fruit topping.
Volkswagen Beetle Spider
Avoca, Iowa
(others in Alabama, California, Nevada,
Idaho, Pennsylvania)
built in 2000s

Building Materials
Body/Hood: gourds,
birch bark, horse chestnut
bark, estrella, salal leaves,
myrtle leaves, willow, palm
paddles, aspen leaves
Legs: burr oak acorn caps,
sycamore sticks, driftwood,
horse chestnut bark

An old Volkswagen Beetle car


has been outfitted with eight
spindly legs and turned into a
spider. This sculpture sits in a
cornfield, across the street from
the artists fathers home. It is one
of many Volkswagen Beetle spider
sculptures scattered around the
country.
credit: Silly America
Watermelon Water Tower
Luling, Texas
built in 1950s

Building Materials
gourd, palm fronds,
bamboo, willow,
wisteria, kiwi vine

The Luling water tower resembles


a watermelon to honor the local
watermelon industry. The tower is 154
feet tall and 56 feet in diameter. The tower
is a notable landmark and attraction
for travelers. Every year, Luling holds
the Watermelon Thump, a festival with
competitions for melon-eating and seed-
spitting that has been ongoing since 1954.
The current world record for seed-spitting
is almost 70 feet.

Watermelon Facts
Humans have enjoyed watermelon
(Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus )for
thousands of years; the first recorded
watermelon harvest was almost 5,000
years ago in Egypt. Watermelon is
aptly named, as it is 92 percent water.
It is both a fruit and a vegetable,
credit: JD Hancock

and it belongs to the same family as


pumpkin, squash, and cucumber. It is
the most consumed melon in the U.S.
Wawona Tree Tunneled Sequoia
Yosemite National Park, California
tunnel carved in 1881

Building Materials
Sequoia Tree: cottonwood
bark, shelf fungus,
miscellaneous roots
Other Trees: honeysuckle
branches, willow, juniper
twigs, arborvitae foliage
Ferns: preserved
leatherleaf fern, preserved
maidenhair fern

Yosemites famous Wawona Tree tunnel was


created in 1881 as a tourist attraction. The
second standing sequoia to be tunneled, the
Wawona Tree stood for 88 summers before
it fell in the winter of 1969. Heavy snow, wet
soil, and, of course, the weakening effect
of the tunnel all led to the collapse of the
tree. At the time of its fall, the Wawona Tree
was approximately 2,100 years old, 234 feet
high, and 26 feet in diameter at the base. The credit: Library of Congress

famous tunnel was 9 feet high and 26 feet long


at the base.

Giant Sequoia Facts


Giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) are the worlds largest single trees and the worlds
largest living thing, by volume. The oldest known giant sequoia is 3,500 years old. Trees average
a height of 165-280 feet, and 20-26 feet in diameter. They are found only on the western slopes of
the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign
Las Vegas, Nevada
built 1959

Building Materials
grape vine, shelf fungus,
mahogany hull, putka
pods, sandalwood seed

This famous landmark is an iconic symbol


of the rollicking city of Las Vegas, and many
people consider it the official marker of the
southern end of the Las Vegas Strip. The
signs design is an example of classic 1950s
Googie architecture, which features bold
geometric shapes, neon, and starbursts. The
white neon circles surrounding each letter
in the word welcome represent silver
dollars, a reference to Nevadas nickname,
The Silver State. Recognizing the signs
role as an iconic landmark, the city has
recently added parking and sidewalks next
credit: InSapphoWeTrust

to the sign to allow visitors to access it


easily, cementing its status as a true roadside
attraction.
Willis Tower aka Sears Tower (beginning of Rt. 66)
Chicago, Illinois
built 1973

Building Materials
driftwood, various bark, birch
bark, oak leaves, walnut slices,
mesquite pods, lafi pods, winged
euonymus, grape vine, acorn
cap, pinecone scales, coconut

At the time of its construction, the Sears


Tower (officially known now as the Willis
Tower) was the largest building in the
world. It held that title for almost 25 years
and is currently the second-tallest building
in the U.S. It has 110 floors, contains 76,000
tons of steel, and rises 1,730 feet high
(including antennae). It is considered to be
the beginning of Route 66.
credit: Beyond My Ken
Worlds Largest Basket
Newark, Ohio
built 1997

Building Materials
Facade/Basket Weaving: birch
bark, corn husk
Window: willow, reeds
Handles: grape vine, eucalyptus
pod buttons
Conservatory Window: birch
twigs, reeds, royal poinciana pods

This building was the headquarters


of the Longaberger Company, which
manufactures wooden baskets, and was
modeled after their bestselling basket.
It is seven stories tall and constructed
from locally-sourced cherry wood. The
basket handles weigh 150 tons and can
be heated during the winter to prevent
ice damage. Empty since July of 2016,
The company has the building on the
market, but it is proving difficult to find
credit: Niagara66

a buyer who wants a building shaped


like a giant basket.
Worlds Largest Baseball Bat
Louisville, Kentucky
built 1996

Building Materials
Bat: driftwood
Facade: grout
Upper Trim: shagbark hickory, cork,
pear pods, cedrela
Lower Trim: birch sticks, winged
euonymus, eucalyptus pods, hickory
hull, willow
Sidewalk: sea grape leaves credit: Ken Lund

The Worlds Largest Baseball Bat, made of hollow carbon steel, is 120 feet tall and weighs 34
tons. It is a replica of the bat that baseball legend Babe Ruth used during the 1920s. The giant
bat is taller than the five-story building on which it rests, the Louisville Slugger Museum and
Factory, and serves as a plumbing vent for the bathrooms. The Louisville Slugger has been
in production since 1884 and is Americas most famous type of baseball bat. Approximately
half of pro bats are made from northern white ash and the other half from maple. In the past,
hickory was also a popular wood for bats, but it is considered too heavy to meet the demands
of todays players.
Worlds Largest Chili Pepper
Las Cruces, New Mexico
built 2010

Building Materials
Giant Chili Pepper:
driftwood root, ruscus leaves,
cotton boll hull

Giant Chili Pepper Arrow


Sign:
red oak leaves, willow,
driftwood, birch bark,
bamboo, acorn caps, salal
leaves, reed

The Worlds Largest Chili Pepper sits outside the Big Chile Inn in Las Cruces. It is
47 feet long and weighs 50,000 pounds, and is made from concrete. Its purpose is
to entice visitors to stay at the hotel.
The world record for the largest
actual chili pepper was earned by a
cultivar developed in Las Cruces,
called Big Jim.

Chili Pepper Facts


New Mexico chili peppers
credit: rovingmagpie

(Capsicum annuum) are famous


for their flavor and heat. The state
is home to the Hatch valley, where
the tastiest chili in the world is said
to grow. Chili is a staple of the New
Mexican diet and comes in two formsthe immature green pods, which are often
roasted, and the mature red pods, which are made into a rich, smoky-tasting sauce.
Not for the faint of heart, these peppers can pack some serious heat.
Worlds Largest Pecan
Brunswick, Missouri
built 1982

Building Materials
cedar bark, Harry
Lauders walking stick,
shelf fungus, cedar slice
grapevine

Constructed by pecan farmer


George James, the Giant Pecan
is made of concrete and is a
tribute to the Starking Hardy
Giant pecan variety, which James
discovered. The pecan is 7 feet
tall and 12 feet long, and weighs
12,000 pounds. It is a contender
for the title of Worlds Largest
credit: Jimmy Emerson

Pecan. Brunswick is considered


the pecan capital of Missouri and
holds a Pecan Festival every year.

Pecan Facts
Pecan trees (Carya illinoinensis) are native to the southeastern and south-central regions of
the U.S. and belong to the hickory family. Commercial production of pecans began relatively
recently, at the end of the 19th century. Today, the U.S. dominates worldwide pecan production.
Worlds Largest Pistachio
Alamagordo, New Mexico
built 2008

Building Materials
kiwi vine, tobacco leaves, gourd, salal leaves, ruscus

credit: Jimmy Emerson


leaves, willow, honeysuckle vine, driftwood

This giant pistachio nut is 30 feet tall, made out of concrete, and finished with 35 gallons of
paint. Located on a pistachio farm, the owner built it as a tribute to his father, who was a big
fan of roadside attractions. It also serves to catch the attention of passing travelers and attract
them into the gift shop that sells all kinds of pistachio-based products.

Pistachio Facts
Pistachio trees (Pistacia vera) are a member of the cashew family, native to the deserts of
Central Asia. Today, California produces 99 percent of pistachios in the United States.
Pistachios are wind-pollinated, and one male tree provides enough pollen for eight to twelve
females. Pistachios are a longstanding part of human history; they are mentioned in the Old
Testament of the Bible, and the legendary Queen Sheba was said to have ordered that all of her
kingdoms pistachio crop be set aside for her.