Click on a picture to embiggen. All photos copyright, Steph Mineart. Not to be used without permission.
Many of the "Big Things" show here have been on trips to my grandmother’s house in Iowa, with a few contributions from friends. I’ve also taken a few big road trips around the midwest; you can see those pictures in other galleries listed to the right.
Please e-mail me if you know of any big things around the midwest that I should look for.
Happy Chef, formerly of Ottumna, Iowa
Note: I borrowed these photos from the internet, because I haven’t had a chance to take any myself. The Happy Chef in Ottuma was the first "Big Thing" I ever found — we used to visit when I was a kid. The photo on the left is what he looked used to like (this one’s from Nebraska), and the picture on the right is the actually guy, who’s been made over to be an umpire and moved to Ryan, Iowa.
A Giant Indian, Oklahoma
at the Cherokee Trading Post outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I got this photo in 1996 when I was on a road trip with my friends Laurie and Twyla to their new home in Tucson, Arizona. We followed part of Route 66 on the way out, and there were lots of "Big Things" on the road. I didn’t get photos of most of them, but this trip was the start of my fascination with photographing this form of advertising art.
Giant Cornucopia In Washington, Iowa
Every thanksgiving in my family’s hometown, one of the local churches creates this giant cornucopia of food, then donates it to charity.
Giant Uniroyal Tire Gal in Peoria, Illinois
Outside a tire store in downtown Peoria. We drive through Peoria on the way to my grandmother’s every thanksgiving, so I stopped to get these photos. It’s near a rendering plant, so the smell there is truly awful.
Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa
“The Crookedest Street in the World,” Snake Alley is located at the 6000 block of Washington Street in downtown Burlington, Iowa. It was constructed in 1894 s an experimental street design. The intention was to provide a more direct link between the downtown business district and the neighborhood shopping area located on North Sixth Street.
Giant Hawkeye in Coralville Mall, Iowa City Iowa
Located in Scheels Sporting Goods Store in the mall.
Giant Straw Reindeer in Swedesburg, Iowa
I gather this is some sort of town symbol. I see it every year around Christmas in the town near my grandparent’s house.
Giant NAU Lumberjack, Arizona
at Northern Arizona University in FlagStaff, Ariz. My friend Laurie Pumphrey sent me this picture. This lumberjack, Mr. Bendo, and hundreds of other tall guys were all made at the same factory.