Throughout the years, the Big John statue in Carmi, Illinois has become something people have to stop and see when they travel through the city. But as these larger than life figures become even rarer, one Tri-State business owner is keeping his promise to protect the rare fiberglass giant.
Visitors to Carmi might do a double take when driving by a gleeful giant standing along Illinois Route One. Big John as he’s known, greets costumers at the little giant grocery. The fiberglass and steel statue is one of many mass-produced giants from the golden age of roadside architecture in the 1960s.
store owner Ron Kingery says Big John’s career began as a marketing campaign by former ‘Big John Grocery’ owners Bob Martin and Frank Bailey. Big John has family members too with other long-forgotten fiberglass figures scattered around the midwest.
Despite Big John’s priceless status or the sometimes unpredictable weather outside, it’s always “suns out guns out” for this tall Tri-State Treasure.