The Weirdest Thing Every State Is Extremely Proud Of
Apparently, we should call this country the United States of Stonehenge Replicas.
From San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to the Cloud Gate in Chicago, there are iconic monuments scattered throughout all of the 50 states. Some, however, are definitely more unusual than others. In Alabama, for instance, people take pride in unclaimed baggage. And over in Louisiana, one of the most popular gravesites is that of Nicolas Cage—even though he isn’t dead yet. For your amusement, we’ve rounded up the weirdest, yet most unique landmark every state is fiercely proud of. Hey, we all need something to stand for, right?
Alabama: The Unclaimed Baggage Center
Have you ever wondered where your “missing” luggage disappears to? Well, it’s quite possible that your long-forgotten carry-on is sitting in a facility in Scottsboro, Alabama. This city is home to the Unclaimed Baggage Center, a one-of-a-kind store that sells lost or unclaimed airline luggage items. On the retail floor, you’ll find everything from iPads to a $15,000 Rolex watch. The unique shop has become an iconic symbol and tourist attraction for the state of Alabama, hosting more than a million visitors annually from over 40 countries.
Alaska: The Abandoned Igloo City Hotel
What’s a hotel without any guests? Just ask the Igloo City Hotel in Alaska. In 1960, craftsman Leon Smith began construction on Igloo City, hoping to create a unique hotel experience for visitors from all over the world. However, the 58-room igloo was still not up to building code standards by the time Smith passed away in 1999, and so his dream of the igloo being a guest-filled hotel never came to fruition. Today it stands as a place for travelers to visit and marvel at what might have been—from the outside, that is.
Arizona: The Turquoise Arch McDonald’s
You won’t find the iconic golden Mcdonald’s arches in the town of Sedona, Arizona. Sedona is known for its natural beauty and the city fights to make sure nothing obstructs that. So, when a McDonald’s was built in Sedona in 1993, city officials would only agree to a soft blue “M” as they felt the gold would clash with the land’s surrounding red rocks. Though there are more than 36,000 McDonald’s worldwide, this iconic Arizona destination is the only one to feature turquoise arches.
Arkansas: The Mammoth Orange Cafe
This orange cafe isn’t in the business of selling actual oranges. Rather, the Mammoth Orange Cafe is a giant orange restaurant off the side of the road in Redfield, Arkansas, known for serving up fried delicacies like fried pie and fried catfish.
California: Salvation Mountain
In the desert of California, Salvation Mountain stands, featuring numerous Bible verses and religious murals. The expansive work of art was created over the course of 25 years by Leonard Knight as a tribute to Christianity. As a now-iconic symbol for California, the scenic hill has been featured over the years in everything from Kesha’s “Praying” music video to the 2007 film Into the Wild.
Colorado: World’s Largest Fork
There’s a nationwide competition for the world’s largest fork—and Creede, Colorado, currently houses the frontrunner. Created to one-up another large fork in Missouri, this aluminum sculpture is 40-feet long and weighs more than 600 pounds.
Connecticut: The Giant Frog Bridge
A nearly 500-foot bridge spans the length of the Willimantic River in Connecticut. But what makes it so unique is not its size—it’s the four 11-foot bronze frog statues perched atop the spools of thread adorning its corners. Why frogs, you ask? Added by artist Leo Jensen in the early 1990s, local historians claim the sculptures were built to represent the 1754 “Frog Fight” during which many people mistook the sounds of dying frogs for foreigners coming to kill the town’s residents.
Delaware: The Giant Doctor Bag
A giant doctor’s bag sits outside the Apex Medical Center in Newark, Delaware. However, the only person fit to carry this bag around is a literal giant, seeing as it’s nearly 20 feet tall!
Florida: The World’s Largest Entertainment McDonald’s
Sure, you can find a McDonald’s on pretty much every street corner in America, but only one of those is the world’s largest entertainment McDonald’s. The original closed its doors in 2015, but luckily the company decided to replace it with an even bigger and better one in Orlando, Florida, in 2016. This super-sized location features unique food items like pizza, cake, and pasta; a 22-foot-tall kids’ play area; and more than 100 arcade games. Oh, and it’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Georgia: The Tree That Owns Itself
One of the weirdest things you’ll find in Georgia is a tree with no owner. Aptly named the “Tree That Owns Itself,” this white oak in Athens, Georgia, was granted autonomy in the 19th century through a deed the land owner drew up before he died. As stated, the tree was given rights to the eight-foot plot of land it stood on—and while the original tree was knocked down by a storm in 1942, neighbors planted a new tree in its spot to honor the original owner’s wishes.
Hawaii: The World’s Largest Hedge Maze
The Dole Plantation in Wahiawa, Hawaii, isn’t just home to some of the juiciest pineapples in America; it also houses the world’s largest hedge maze. At the company’s plantation, you can snack on some juicy fruit while navigating your way through more than three acres of Hawaiian hedges.
Idaho: The World’s Largest Beagle
This giant good boy is located in Cottonwood, Idaho at what’s appropriately named Dog Bark Park. Possibly the world’s largest beagle, this dog building is actually a small bed and breakfast that you can rent a room in. The beagle-shaped inn was built by a local husband and wife duo in 2003, and now features a gift shop and visitor center that attracts numerous dog-loving citizens every year.
Illinois: The Brooks Catsup Bottle
South of downtown Collinsville in Illinois stands the world’s largest catsup bottle. (Yes, that’s catsup, not ketchup.) Unfortunately, though, there’s no condiment in this bottle. Built in 1949, the structure functions as a water tower instead. It’s known for being an iconic, albeit strange landmark in Illinois and is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Indiana: The Martini-Drinking Elephant
Perched on a wooden cart, this glasses-wearing and martini-glass-sipping pink elephant sits outside a local liquor store in Fortville, Indiana. When the statue isn’t outside guarding the store, it’s being paraded around in local holiday festivals.
Iowa: The Hula Hoop Tree
Covered in more than 50 hula hoops, this tree in Amber, Iowa, is certainly a weird fixture. According to locals, the tree was apparently adorned by two hula hoops after a storm—and since then, colorful hoops have just appeared around its branches throughout the years.
Kansas: The World’s Largest Ball of Twine
Probably one of the weirdest state landmarks on this list is the world’s largest ball of twine in Cawker City, Kansas. Started by Frank Stoeber in 1953, the ball weighed nearly 5,000 pounds and stood at eight feet tall by 1961 when it was given as a gift to the city. Today, the ball of twine sits as an iconic Kansas tourist attraction and citizens still add twine to it every year at the annual Twine-athon.
Kentucky: The “Florence Y’all” Water Tower
Over the years, the Florence Y’all Water Tower has become an iconic Kentucky symbol. Located off the interstate in Florence, Kentucky, the developers of an up-and-coming mall gave the land to the city for the water tower in the early 1970s with the stipulation that it had to say “Florence Mall.” However, after legal concerns surrounding the advertisement of an unbuilt mall arose, city officials had to scramble and eventually cost-effectively changed the words to “Florence Y’all.”
Louisiana: Nicolas Cage’s Future Pyramid Tomb
Surrounded by crumbling, century-old graves in New Orleans’ oldest cemetery sits a modern, white pyramid marked as the future tomb of Nicolas Cage, who purchased the plot about a decade ago. It stands nine-feet-tall and has the Latin words “omnia ab uno” inscribed on it, meaning “everything from one.” Despite the actor still being alive, the odd sculpture has become a cultivating attraction for anyone in Louisiana.
Maine: The L.L. Bean Boot
This large boot, which sits outside the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine, is one of the state’s most iconic landmarks. At 16-feet-tall, it is estimated to fit a size 410 foot (if that even exists).
Maryland: Starry Night in Door Knobs
Though Vincent Van Gogh’s original Starry Night sits peacefully in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, you can get a glimpse of a re-imagined version in Bethesda, Maryland. Located on the side of a hardware store, the mural was created using more than 1,250 door knobs and door accessories by the store’s owner, David Goldberg. Thanks to his work of art, Goldberg is now often referred to around town as David van Go-berg.
Massachusetts: The Turtle Boy Statue
This odd sculpture is very well-known in Massachusetts thanks to its less-than-kosher design of a nude, young boy riding a sea turtle. The sculpture—located in Worcester, Massachusetts—has inspired T-shirts, tours, and even an entire website. It was created by Charles Y. Harvey, though the artist died before it could be finished.
Michigan: The World’s Largest Cherry Pie Pan
Michigan is home to the world’s largest cherry pie pan and the former world’s largest cherry pie pan. Only 50 miles apart, the two landmarks have caused a rivalry between the towns of Charlevoix and Traverse City. The original was built in 1976 in Charlevoix, but when Traverse City built their 28,000-pound pie pan in 1987, it took the cake—or, well, pie.
Minnesota: The Largest Free-Standing Hockey Stick
On the corner of Monroe Street and Grant Avenue in Eveleth, Minnesota, sits the world’s largest free-standing hockey stick. Weighing around 10,000 pounds, it replaced the town’s original three-ton stick after the city learned that a British Columbia town had procured a stick that rivaled theirs. The stick is aptly named “free-standing” because while the Canadian version is technically larger, it stands bolted to the side of a building—unlike Eveleth’s iteration.
Mississippi: The Gold Finger Pointing to Heaven
A giant hand has adorned the top of the First Presbyterian Church in Port Gibson, Mississippi, since 1860. While the original hand was made of wood, the current hand is metal and was purchased to place on top of the steeple in 1903. The pointing finger was inspired by the church’s original minister, Dr. Zebulon Butler, who would gesture towards to the sky during most of his sermons.
Missouri: The World’s Largest Gas Pump
Missouri is known for having a lot of the so-called “world’s largest” attractions, from the world’s largest chess piece to the world’s largest roll of toilet paper. One of the weirdest, however, is a 21-foot-tall structure built to resemble a gas pump. Nicknamed “Big Pump,” the iconic structure sits in King City and sits on the National Register of Historic Places.
Montana: The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas
Spanning over 10 acres of land, the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is a spiritual site and public park located in Arlee, Montana. Beginning in 2000, various participants from all over the world began to congregate at the garden to create concrete Buddha statues to adorn the land (hence its name).
England may have the iconic Stonehenge, but Alliance, Nebraska, has Carhenge, an automobile replica of the English landmark. It consists of 38 automobiles spray-painted gray to look more like stones. Created in 1987 by Jim Reinders as a memorial to his father, the destination has become as big of a landmark for Nebraska as Stonehenge is for England—albeit a little weirder.
Nevada: The Alien Mailbox
You won’t find much on Nevada’s State Route 375, save for the mysterious alien mailbox. The only landmark on a 40-mile stretch, it stands 12 miles away from Area 51 and serves as an iconic spot for alien enthusiasts. It’s known simply as the “black mailbox” because originally, just one black mailbox stood where the two white ones now do. Inside the mailboxes, you’ll find letters from visitors far and wide—all addressed to “the aliens.”
New Hampshire: The Stairway to Nowhere
“The Stairway to Nowhere” is located off-road in the woods of Chesterfield, New Hampshire. This strange landmark is the remains of a castle that burned down in 1962. As a treasured artifact of New Hampshire, visitors are encouraged not to climb the staircase in order to keep the remains intact for as long as naturally possible.
New Jersey: Lucy the Elephant
While many roadside attractions came about with the rise of the automobile, Lucy the Elephant dates back to the horse and buggy era, making her one of the oldest surviving roadside tourist attractions in America. This six-story-tall elephant was created as a building in 1881 in the hopes that it would attract visitors to Margate City, New Jersey.
New Mexico: The World’s Largest Pistachio Nut
The world’s largest pistachio nut stands at 30 feet tall in Alamogordo, New Mexico. It sits outside PistachioLand, an 111-acre pistachio vineyard home to more than 12,000 pistachio trees. The sculpture was erected in 2008 to honor PistachioLand’s founder, Thomas McGuinn.
New York: The Naked Cowboy
Unlike other states, New York’s weirdest treasure is not a monument or building; instead, it’s the free-moving Naked Cowboy. Robert John Burck is an artist from Ohio who has become an iconic state symbol due to his performances in New York City’s Times Square. It’s hard to miss him, seeing as he dons only a cowboy hat, boots, and white underwear.
North Carolina: The World’s Largest Chest of Drawers
In High Point, North Carolina, a 32-foot-tall chest of drawers sits right off the side of the road. Built in 1926, it was intended to mark High Point as the furniture capital of the world, with two socks hanging out of the middle drawer to honor the town’s hosiery industry.
North Dakota: These Giant Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea Figures
If you’re looking for giant traffic light-colored cutouts of expeditioners Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea, then Bismark, North Dakota, is the place for you. The bright, abstract statues stand nearly 30 feet tall and are housed alongside a replica of the 1800s keelboat that they used.
Ohio: The Basket Building
Newark, Ohio, is home to the only basket-shaped building in America. The seven-story building was created in 1997 as the headquarters for The Longaberger Company, designed as a replica of the manufacturer’s popular picnic basket.
Oklahoma: The World’s Largest Pop Bottle
The world’s largest pop bottle sits outside of Pops restaurant in Arcadia, Oklahoma, on the iconic Route 66. Taking after the road its located on, the pop bottle, referred to as “Bubbles,” is 66-feet-tall and is covered by hundreds of multi-colored LED lights.
Oregon: The World’s Smallest Park
Many parks are revered for their large acreage, but only one is honored for the exact opposite. Oregon’s Mills Ends Park is a small patch of greenery located on a median in the middle of the road in Portland. At only 452 square inches, it has been deemed the world’s smallest park.
Pennsylvania: The Koontz Coffee Pot
This coffee pot-shaped building was created in 1927 by David Koontz as a way to attract people to his service station in Bedford, Pennsylvania. Over the years, the Coffee Pot has been used as a bus station, bar, and diner—but after nearly being torn down in 2000, it was restored and moved to the Bedford County Fairgrounds where visitors can go inside to marvel at the town’s historical artifacts.
Rhode Island: The World’s Largest Bug
The 58-foot-long “Big Blue Bug” of Providence, Rhode Island, may be creepy, but it is oddly beloved by the city’s residents nonetheless. The pest company that houses the landmark has even sold limited edition Big Blue Bug stuffed animals. Big Blue is so beloved, in fact, that one woman got the mascot tattooed on her leg.
South Carolina: Peachoid
Affectionally called “Peachoid,” this peach statue is a water tower located off Interstate 85 in Gaffney, South Carolina. It was built in 1981 to establish the fact that South Carolina produces more peaches than Georgia, despite Georgia being known as the Peach State. Peachoid even had a cameo on Netflix’s House of Cards.
South Dakota: The Corn Palace
The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, is solely covered with murals made from corn and other grains. Built to highlight South Dakota’s healthy agricultural climate, the current palace was erected in 1921 and is the third iteration of the building. Used as a multipurpose space, the Corn Palace is redecorated every year and is visited annually by around 500,000 tourists.
Tennessee: Bass Pro Shops’ Egyptian Pyramid
Over in Tennessee, people are busy worshiping a Bass Pro Shops store. The Memphis Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee, was originally built in 1991 as a sports arena. However, it was abandoned in 2004, and in 2015 it re-opened as a Bass Pro Shops megastore.
Texas: The Eiffel Tower Wearing a Cowboy Hat
You don’t have to go all the way to Paris, France, to see the Eiffel Tower—just head on over Paris, Texas. The replica of the iconic Parisian landmark was built in 1993 and adorned with a cowboy hat in 1998 to give it its own Texas flair. Despite everything being bigger in Texas, this 65-foot model is less than one-tenth the size of the real Eiffel Tower.
Utah: The Hole N” The Rock
One of the nation’s most unique roadside attractions is located off the highway in Moab, Utah. There you’ll find a sandstone rock with the words “Hole N” The Rock” painted in large, white letters. Originally starting out as a small cave, the hole was expanded and turned into a 5,000-square-foot, 14-room home in the 1950s by a man named Albert Christensen. Albert and his wife have both since died, but the rock home still stands as a tourist attraction.
Vermont: The World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet
Burlington, Vermont, is home to the world’s tallest file cabinet. At 38 feet tall, the structure is made out of real file cabinets welded on top of each other. It was built in 2002 by a local artist named Bren Alvarez, and even has people gathering to worship it.
England’s Stonehenge seems to be the inspiration for many replicas. Foamhenge is a life-size, styrofoam replica built by Mark Cline in 2004 and relocated to Centreville, Virginia, in 2017. Originally built as an April Fools’ joke, the roadside attraction was created in just six weeks—a much speedier turnaround time than the real Stonehenge’s estimated 1,500 years.
Washington: The Fremont Troll
If you look under the George Washington Memorial Bridge in Seattle, Washington, you’ll find an actual troll. The mixed media sculpture was crafted by four artists in 1990 for an art competition in order to rehabilitate the area under the bridge where illegal activity was common. Now a beloved creature, the city even hosts a birthday party for the Fremont Troll every Halloween called “Trolloween.”
West Virginia: Mothman
According to West Virginia legend, a “moth-like” man was seen around the state during the late 1960s. The Mothman—as he became known—became such an iconic mythical figure in West Virginia history that the town of Point Pleasant created an annual Mothman Festival, during which they unveiled a statue of the creature in 2003.
Wisconsin: Chatty Belle
Chatty Belle was built for the 1964 World’s Fair in Neillsville, Wisconsin. Though Chatty Belle is not the largest cow statue out there, she is the “world’s largest talking cow,” thanks to a voice box in her base that spouts dairy facts to paying visitors.
Wyoming: The World’s Largest Elkhorn Arch
If you ever find yourself driving on Highway 89 in Wyoming, take a detour to see the world’s largest elkhorn arch in Afton. At 75 feet wide and 18 feet high, this unique arch stretches across a four-lane street and contains more than 3,000 woven antlers. Created in 1958, the arch requires a new coat of plastic finish every year to keep it intact. And for more things to see and places to visit, check out these 37 Travel Destinations Every Man Over 40 Should Have Visited.
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