Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America, was the emblematic route for the all-American road trip for decades. The highway has undergone many changes throughout the years, but fortunately, many of the curious, odd and kitschy roadside attractions from its heyday in the 1950´s and 1960´s still stand today.
Take a look at some of the oddities you can find along Route 66:
Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park
This unique park, located near Foyil, Oklahoma, showcases the work of premier folk artist, Ed Galloway. Galloway was from Oklahoma and spent decades building the various Native American-style totem poles that are featured in the park. Construction of the totem poles lasted from 1937 to 1961. The park includes 11 different objects and 1 building that is supported inside by 25 different totem poles. Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park is home to the World’s Largest Concrete Totem Pole.
This strange art installation in Amarillo, Texas was created in 1974 by a group of three artists. The art piece is made up of various old Cadillacs that were manufactured between 1949 and 1963. Cadillac Ranch showcases the changes in the models throughout the years. The Cadillacs are painted with an array of bright colors and are half-buried nose-first in the ground. The angle at which they are placed corresponds to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
The Cabazon Dinosaurs (also known as Claude Bell’s Dinosaurs) are a famous oddity along Route 66. Located in Cabazon, California, this roadside attraction features two life-size dinosaurs named Dinny (a Brontosaurus) and Mr. Rex (a Tyrannosaurus Rex). These hollow dinosaurs are made of steel and concrete – visitors are able to enter inside of them for a small fee. Dinny and Mr. Rex were featured in a scene from the 1985 movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, a Tears for Fears music video and can be seen in the Pixar film, Inside Out.
Off of Route 66 near Holbrook, Arizona, you will find the kitschy Wigwam Motels. The motels were constructed in the 1930’s and 1940’s and are built in the shape of tipis (not wigwams as the name suggests). The developer, Frank A. Redford, originally designed the Wigwam motels to attract people to his museum/shop that housed Native American artifacts. The motels still stand to this day, and still draw the attention of travelers looking to see strange attractions along Route 66.
Glenrio Ghost Town
On the border of New Mexico and Texas, sits the forgotten town of Glenrio. The town was founded in 1901 and eventually became an important hub for cattle and freight shipments. By 1920, it was an established town with a post office, grocery stores, a hotel, cafés and a hardware store. With the construction of Route 66, it became a popular place for tourists to stop and rest. When Interstate 40 was built, the town was bypassed. The few remaining residents of Glenrio left due to the lack of tourism and job opportunities. Today, Glenrio sits completely abandoned but receives the occasional visit from tourists wanting the old-fashioned Route 66 experience.
Tall Paul – the Bunyan Giant
One of many peculiar monuments located along Route 66 is Tall Paul – the Bunyan Giant. This giant, 7-meter-tall fiberglass man was built in the 1960’s. Tall Paul originally held an enormous axe in his hands. He was later bought by a man that owned a hot dog stand on Route 66 in Cicero, Illinois, who gave him a huge hot dog to hold in his hands instead. Tall Paul has become an icon throughout the years and is still a popular attraction for photo ops. He has been moved to Atlanta, Illinois since the closing of the hot dog stand.