Illinois Has The Only One Of A Kind Female Muffler Man In America
If you don't know the backstory you might be wondering how there can be a female version of a muffler man, and that it is completely logical.
What is a muffler man?
"Muffler Men" are fiberglass statues that are typically 14 to 25 feet tall and weigh several hundreds of pounds, according to Roadside America. These are not to be confused with a state of a muffler with human-like features such as eyes, a mouth, arms, and legs.
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the monstrous statues began popping up outside of businesses as a method of drawing the attention of people passing by. Several hundred still exist today.
I was today-years-old when I learned a few interesting facts about "muffler men."
- Many of these statues originally were "holding" mufflers but today they may be holding over objects in place of a muffler, like a roll of carpet, a garden rake, or maybe even nothing at all.
- Not all muffler men are men, they can also be women and animals too. If you see a female "Muffler Man"
What are some of the "muffler men" in Illinois?
Illinois has several across the state and a few you might even recognize. Perhaps the most recognizable "muffler man" stands near Interstate 55. If you've ever driven from St. Louis, MO to Springfield, IL you know exactly what I'm talking about.
There's a pink elephant outside of the appropriately named Pink Elephant Antique Mall, at 908 Veterans Memorial Drive, in Livington, Illinois.
The Greenhouse of Crystal Lake has an Indian out front...
... and another off to the side. Both are located at 4317 State Rte 31 in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
In Wilmington, Illinois there's a spaceman holding a rocket outside of The Launching Pad Drive-In, at 810 E Baltimore Street.
Out of all the "man" versions of muffler men, there are only a dozen female versions and Illinois has the most unique of the 12. In Peoria, Illinois, you'll find a statue locals have named "Vanna Whitewall." She stands outside of Uniroyal 12 months a year but she isn't always wearing the same clothes. This is the only "muffler men" that has a wardrobe change depending on what time of the year it is.
During fall, winter, and spring, you'll see Vanna looking like this...
When it's "pool season" in Peoria, you'll find her in a bikini.
If you're looking for where to find more "muffler men" check out this map.
[h/t Roadside America, Atlas Obscura, Inside Illinois]