This summer turned out to be one of seeing a whole bunch of American pride as offered through very hard work put into the creation and preservation of The World's Largest (Insert Unexpected Random Object Name Here). Below is a list of the experience.
1. The World's Largest Mother Mary Sculpture, 90 feet high,
aka., "Our Lady of the Rockies" Butte, Montana, USA
As story has it, a devoted husband was suffering under the horrible reality of watching his wife struggle with cancer. Afraid she would die before her time, the man prayed to god to save her life. In exchange, he promised, he would build a 9-ft tall statue of Mother Mary to place in his yard. Miraculously, his wife did recover. To thank god for the miracle, he sought out fulfilling his promise with the help of a neighbor. With six years, a whole lot of concrete, and the help of an Air National Guard helicopter, the statue turned into a 90-ft showcase along the continental divide reachable by bus in the summer.
2. The World's Largest Masonry Structure, 585 ft high
aka., The Anaconda Smoke Stack, Anaconda, Montana, USA
Montana held the largest mining facility in the world at the end of the 1800's. The mining work continued well into the end of the last century too. The ore extracted from Butte was brought to an enormous underground smelting facility that contained too an intricate web of ceiling pipes, all designed to funnel the fumes to one central location and then out into the open air through one enormous smoke stack. After the smelting facility closed the underground portion was demolished and closed, but when it was announced the smoke stack would suffer the same consequences the local population rose up in protest. The smoke stack then was turned into a state park, and is even featured in the multi-colored scenes of local church's stained glass.
3. The World's Largest Kokopelli Sculpture, 32 ft tall
Camp Verde, Arizona, USA
The Southwest is irritatingly full of Kokopelli references. There is even, I am told, an unfortunately named Colon care center named something like "Colonpelli" complete with a company logo that makes the human colon look like a flute playing Kokopelli. The largest Kokopelli sculpture sits amidst another Southwestern classic--the truck stop.
4. The World's Largest Hercules Beetle, 17 ft long, 9 ft tall
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
Outside a privately owned Space Exploration Museum, and just past an enormous army compound rests the World's Largest Hercules Beetle. It overlooks a small highway from atop a small hill that must be climbed to stand near it. Apparently, this sculpture was built in 1945, and welcomes visitors into another attraction next to the Space Exploration Info Center--a bug museum. The center also hosts a campground and strongly now advertises itself as a wifi hotspot.
5. The World's Largest High Wheel Bicycle, 14 ft tall
Calhan, Colorado, USA
The tallest high wheel bicycle sits within a privately owned RV campground that also hosts sculptures of various animals, and a bevy of antique cadillacs. You enter around back of an enormous antique store, and across from a restaurant that is part of the same compound. If you just want to walk on the grounds to view the bike, ask for Jack.
6. The World's Largest Spur, 27 ft high
Abilene, Kansas, USA
The entrance to the fairgrounds is this enormous spur. When the fair isn't happening, the poor thing sits on vacant property. Yee hah.
7. The World's Largest Wren, 1200 pounds
Topeka, Kansas, USA
Apparently the wren welcomed visitors to the local radio statio in the middle of the last century. Eventually it became part of the cities sculpture project and rests now in the middle of a small park. Topeka hosts a number of enormous sculptures both in the middle of town, and on the local college campus.
8. The World's Largest Painted Russian Egg, 6.5 ft high
See? Another enormous sculpture. This giant painted Russian Egg was apparently part of the celebrations for an enormous russian painted egg museum exhibition from several years ago.
9. The World's Largest Shuttlecocks, 18 ft tall
Kansas City, Missouri, USA
In the midst of an enormous and amazing museum. Blahblah rich guy commissioned them. Blahblah. Ironically, when we visited the sculptures there was a sandwich wagon feeding homeless people on the edge of the museum grounds.
10. The World's Largest Cap Gun
Kansas City, Missouri, USA
This is in the weirdest middle of no where location of all the sculptures spotted. Interestingly enough there were also a bunch of guys intentionally dressed as hoodlums hanging out underneath the cap gun. I couldn't tell you why.
11. The World's Largest Ketchup Bottle, 1 million gallons
Collinsville, Illinois, USA
It was dark. She's cute. It's way up off the ground. There is no way to get in close. So, we did this.
12. The World's Largest Cross, 198 ft tall
Effingham, Illinois, USA
Honestly. What else do you want to know about this one?
13. The World's Largest Gavel
Columbus, Ohio, USA