Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Roadside Gaints

It was sooooooooo fun when I was a wee Mistress in past summers, when we would pile into the station wagon and hit the road for family vacations. My dad would do the driving and the trips were generally long in the car, and like Chevy Chase in the movie Vacation, he would HAVE to make sure we saw EVERY oddity roadside attraction there was!!! Of course, even at a young age, I found them neat to see, but I was probably looking at the cute boys in passing cars! Some things nevvvvvvver change! And we saw some really weird attractions. A two story bunny greeted us into a parking lot. A Japanese pagoda on the side of a mountain. Glow in the dark pixies danced in a cave. Grizzly bears look for a hand out in a gift shop. Tourists walk into the mouth of an whale. Call them tacky, call them kitsch, but without the many wondrous sights along the road, getting there would not be half the fun that it is. Roadside advertising had become a normal operating cost for businesses. Fanciful buildings, signs, and colossal sculptures were a colorful feature of highway culture and commerce during the 1920s and 30s. Highly visible and usually humorous, these "roadside attractions" were designed to catch the eye of the passing motorist and entice potential customers. All in all, the 1920s and—in spite of the Great Depression—the 1930s literally changed the American landscape. Ah well, I admit without seeing them the trips would have been boring. What's the oddest one you've seen?

Harvey the Rabbit at Harvey Marine store on Tualatin Valley Highway is a famous landmark on the busy, commercial strip, or is it the entrance to David Dust's Dust Bunny Nation?

The Big Apple near Cobourg, Ontario

Blue Whale in Catoosa, Oklahoma

The Japaness Pagoda in Reading, PA

The Haines Shoe House from Hellam,Pennsylvania was built by Colonel Mahlon N. Haines self proclaimed “Shoe Wizard”, owner of a 40 retail shoe stores in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Big Pineapple at Nambour, Queensland

The florist shop on Aurura Avenue, where this jumbo-sized elephant has been in residence for at least 50 years,


  1. Teapot Dome gas station down the road from here.

  2. Maybe we should take a road trip to see Harvey ... if I can ever finish with "The World's Longest Move".


  3. What a great post! I remember seeing these weird attractions when I was young also, and as a kid you really think they are pretty amazing.

  4. I remember the Bun Boy thermometer in Baker, CA every time I drove to and from Las Vegas. Very intimidating to look at during the summer when it's 107 degrees at sunset.

  5. Cool post Mistress. I know I have seen some of these attactions, but can't remember where I saw them or what they were. I know I have been to the whale though,

  6. Mistress Maddie #1 Fan6/02/2010

    Fun post! It's intresting to thing just how many of these things there are. I remember seeing a gaint fry pan, and of course South of the Border.

  7. Girl, you can't forget the gaint Hershey bars down in Hershey!

  8. I have seen so many of these things over the years I can't remeber all of them. And it's a shame, because as tacky as some of then are, they are being torn down and gotten rid of. Shame, after all they are part of the Americana landscape.

  9. The last gaint thing I saw wasn't a attraction on the roadside!!! These things though are pretty cool!

  10. Boy does this bring back the childhoods memories of summer trips.


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