Back in the 1960s, 20-foot-tall fiberglass statues were considered the height of outdoor advertising. But while these giants became popular roadside attractions, many fell into disrepair or were lost to the ravages of time. Today, enthusiasts search for surviving so-called "Muffler Men," and even work to restore them. Correspondent Conor Knighton joins the hunt. See Full Video »
FOR MANY PEOPLE, IT BEGINS with the first sighting of an enormous man blocking out the sun, sculpted from fiberglass, often holding a muffler or a tool, looming on the side of a road. After road trippers see one, the quest for other such roadside attractions often ignites. The giant who started my own hunt was named Jacques. Towering above the cars driving towards the ferry in Marblehead, Ohio, Jacques is a rescued sculpture that once hawked sandwiches in front of a restaurant. Though he was used to advertise the food service industry, Jacques is a relative of other fiberglass sculptures...
IN THIS EPISODE OF THE ATLAS OBSCURA PODCAST, we visit Space Cowboy Buck Atom, who stands watch over an old gas station in Tulsa, Oklahoma—a link to the glory days of Route 66’s Muffler Men. Listen to the full podcast.
If you consider Tulsa, Oklahoma simply "flyover country," you're woefully misguided. Discover a town that's unlike any other in terms of American history, music, pop culture, art deco architecture and Native American art – and did we mention barbecue, Latin, Asian and soul food? Artists and athletes are loving this singular city that offers Western ruggedness, Southern hospitality and Midwestern friendliness. Read the full article