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Gemini Giant, Wilmington

4.3
#363 of 2,031 in Things to do in Illinois
Landmark · Tourist Spot
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The Gemini Giant is a landmark statue on U.S. Route 66 at the eastern entrance to Wilmington, Will County, Illinois. Standing outside the Launching Pad drive-in restaurant, the 30 foot tall statue is one of many giant "Muffler Man" advertising props found throughout the US in the Sixties. The Gemini Giant is named after the Gemini space program and holds a silver "rocket ship" in his hands, while sporting an astronaut's space helmet that resembles a welding mask.
The proprietors of a Dari-Delight restaurant (opened in 1960), John and Bernice Korelc, bought a 438-pound fiberglass Muffler Man figure for $3,500 at the annual National Restaurant Association convention, had it outfitted as an astronaut with helmet and rocket, and renamed the restaurant, now guarded by the Gemini Giant, as the "Launching Pad". Since then, the Giant has been the most prominent decoration of the restaurant.

In 2007, the Launching Pad was purchased from Jerry and Sharon Gatties, the owners at the time, by Morey Szczecin, but, after a struggle, the landmark closed again in 2010. In October 2017, it was purchased by Holly Barker and Tully Garrett, who announced plans to restore it "to what it was in its glory days," with the Gemini Giant remaining as a recognized Route 66 landmark.
Both the Launching Pad and the Gemini Giant were inducted into the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame in 2000.
It couldn't be easier to arrange your visit to Gemini Giant and many more Wilmington attractions: make an itinerary online using Inspirock's Wilmington trip itinerary maker app.
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Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • The Gemini Giant is a notable example of what are called Muffler Men. Over twenty feet in height, muffler men were once plentiful across the American landscape from the late 1950s to the early '60s... 
    The Gemini Giant is a notable example of what are called Muffler Men. Over twenty feet in height, muffler men were once plentiful across the American landscape from the late 1950s to the early '60s...  more »
  • If you are into these giant "muffler men" from the 1960s, the Gemini Giant outside the Launching Pad Drive In is worth a stop. They were all made from the same mold--look at their hands, all... 
    If you are into these giant "muffler men" from the 1960s, the Gemini Giant outside the Launching Pad Drive In is worth a stop. They were all made from the same mold--look at their hands, all...  more »
Google
  • A great stop and photo opportunity for any Route 66 road trip. The statue is like 30+ feet tall. A nice little diner with cheap little momentos to buy.
  • The Gemini Giant is a notable example of what are called Muffler Men. Over twenty feet in height, muffler men were once plentiful across the American landscape from the late 1950s to the early '60s as roadside icons for automotive muffler shops. Early on, some owners of these figures personalized them by customizing their clothing or even their facial features. In the case of the Gemini Giant, the oversized muffler held in the figure's hands was replaced by something else. Today, he holds a model rocket.

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