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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Atlanta in Logan County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Bunyon's Statue

 
 
Bunyon's Statue Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 28, 2020
1. Bunyon's Statue Marker
Inscription.  During the heyday of Rt. 66, travelers passed hundreds of signs, murals, and other forms of roadside advertising, each hoping to grab its share of attention. Among the more famous of these stood the fiberglass giants created during the 1960s by International Fiberglass of Venice, California.

Originally designed to hold an axe, the first of these was a "Paul Bunyan" figure, done for the Paul Bunyan Café on Rt. 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona, in about 1962. Most of the statues were derivatives of that one mold. As the retail attention-getters became popular, many of them were placed in front of service stations, holding such things as automobile mufflers and tires. They soon became known as "Muffler Men."

In 1965, H.A. Stephens purchased one of these giants, swapped its original axe for a hotdog, and placed it in front of his restaurant on Rt. 66 in Cicero, Illinois. Mr. Stephens purposefully misspelled the name of his business "Bunyons" in order to avoid a potential trademark conflict with the Paul Bunyan Café. A legend was born, and over the next 38 years, "Bunyons Statue" became a Rt. 66 landmark.

Stephens, with the
Bunyon's Statue Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 28, 2020
2. Bunyon's Statue Marker
Marker is near the statue (hidden)
help of his dedicated family and longtime manager, Agnes Abruzzo, operated Bunyons through January 2003. At that time, he sold the real estate, and was faced with the prospect of relocating the giant (which still serves as the business' trade symbol). The family was approached by John and Lenore Weiss representing the Preservation Committee of the Illinois Route 66 Association. Even though large cash offers had been made for the giant, the Stephen's generously agreed to keep their Bunyons Statue on Route 66, so he could remain a Route 66 icon. Because of its central location, enthusiasm, and support of Rt. 66, Atlanta, Illinois was chosen as the statue's new home.

Bunyon's Statue is now on loan to the community of Atlanta, where he graciously welcomes all Rt. 66 travelers and children to this friendly, hospitable community.

(sidebar:)

Illinois' Other Route 66 Giants

The Gemini Giant


Located in Wilmington, Illinois, the "Gemini Giant" has welcomed hungry Rt. 66 travelers to the Launching Pad Drive-In since 1965. Owners John and Bernice Kornelc took their cue from America's fascination with the space race when they decided on a name for their restaurant. Standing 28 feet tall, the Gemini Giant was named as a result of a contest among Wilmington's school children. Cathy Thomas came up with the name after NASA's Gemini
Bunyon's Statue image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 28, 2020
3. Bunyon's Statue
Program.

The Lauterbach Tire Man

Located at 1569 Wabash Avenue in Springfield, Illinois, the "Lauterbach Tire Man" stands at the entrance of Lauterbach Tire and Auto Service. True to his nickname, the Lauterbach Tire Man holds what looks to be a miniature (but it's really full sized) tire in his left hand. He sports a blue cap, white shirt, and black pants with the name Lauterbach written down the logo.
 
Erected by Atlanta, Illinois.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: LandmarksRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 🛣️ series list.
 
Location. 40° 15.65′ N, 89° 13.888′ W. Marker is in Atlanta, Illinois, in Logan County. Marker is on Southwest Arch Street south of SE Vine Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 103 SW Arch St, Atlanta IL 61723, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Palms Grill Café" Mural (a few steps from this marker); "Wisteria Café" Mural (a few steps from this marker); "Wide Awakes" March in Atlanta (a few steps from this marker); "Atlanta: Midway on Illinois' Mother Road" Mural (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome to the Atlanta Route 66 Park
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(within shouting distance of this marker); Knights of Pythias "Memorial Tree" Stone (within shouting distance of this marker); Field Marker Stone (within shouting distance of this marker); 1870 Atlanta Public School Stone (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Atlanta.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 21, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 50 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 21, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
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Mar. 1, 2021