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World’s Largest Basket, Ohio
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The largest landmarks in the US

Your guide to the biggest and weirdest landmarks across all 50 states

Written by
Shoshi Parks
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In a nation as diverse as the United States, it should come as no surprise that the largest landmarks in the US are a motley assortment of sober memorials, architectural marvels and ridiculous novelties. Just as beloved as those that commemorate founding fathers and the battles they fought are those that elevate condiments and vegetables to soaring heights. From the country’s tallest monument (the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri) to its most merry( we're crowning the Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, Minnesota), these are the 19 largest landmarks in the USA. Make a trip to see the one nearest you, or connect them together for an epic road trip across this bizarre country. 

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The largest landmarks in the USA

St Louis’s iconic monument to Manifest Destiny rose from the banks of the Mississippi River in 1965. Built to commemorate the opening of the American West to pioneers following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the 630-foot tall arch is still the largest landmark in the USA and the tallest arch in the world. The Gateway Arch attracts more than four million visitors a year, about a quarter of whom ride to the observation deck at its apex, threading the needle through the arch’s hollow interior on a Ferris wheel-like tram.

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Jolly Green Giant | Blue Earth, MN
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2. Jolly Green Giant | Blue Earth, MN

Sporting six-foot–long booties and a leafy one-shoulder jumpsuit, the Jolly Green Giant stands sentinel over the little town of Blue Earth in southern Minnesota. The extra-large mascot was born in the aftermath of the discovery of a new variety of green peas in 1928 by the Minnesota Valley Canning Company. His current style evolved in 1935 when a copywriter traded the behemoth’s early caveman looks for a more plant-like persona. Almost 30 years after the company re-branded as Green Giant, a radio station owner in Blue Earth who presented visitors with canned veggies on his popular program Welcome Travellers, came up with the idea to build a statue of the jolly one. At 50 feet in height, he’s still one of the tallest statues in the U.S.

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In a small town near Houston stands one of the country’s largest attractions – the San Jacinto Monument. The 567-foot-tall obelisk was built in the 1930s to commemorate the pivotal battle that led Texans to victory over Mexico a century before during the Texas Revolution. The world’s tallest masonry memorial (thanks to the 220-ton lone star at its crown), the San Jacinto Monument is also almost 13 feet taller than a better-known landmark located 2,000 miles to the northeast, the Washington Monument.

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Pegasus and Dragon | Hallandale Beach, FL
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4. Pegasus and Dragon | Hallandale Beach, FL

In a southern Florida beach town, two mythical creatures duke it out in an everlasting battle of good versus evil. But while the 100-foot-tall by 200-foot-long Pegasus and Dragon are frozen in steel and bronze – the foot of the horse forever poised to crush the neck of the beast – a Vegas-worthy scene of music, light and water swirls around them. At night, the extravaganza includes fog shooting from 350 separate nozzles and 20 foot-long bursts of LED-lit fire from the mouth of the dragon. Opened to the public in 2016, the quarrelsome creatures are considered the country’s third tallest statue.

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Arguably the most famous landmark in the United States, at 151 feet, Lady Liberty remains one of its largest too. The monument to American independence was gifted to the nation by France, a less than subtle reminder that the young country’s freedom was a joint effort between the two countries. Sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi fashioned the neoclassical copper statue after Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty. Broken shackles at her feet are a nod to the abolition of slavery two decades before. Although the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York in 1886, by then she was old news to the French, who’d seen her completed head and crown on display at the 1878 Paris World’s Fair.

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Before Heinz’s tomato-flavored monopoly spread to American burgers from coast to coast, an Illinois brand briefly held the title of America’s best-selling ketchup. Even before they built the world’s largest ketchup bottle in 1949, Brooks was already a master of advertising, erecting 12-foot-tall rotating, neon-lit ketchup bottles in and around St. Louis, Missouri. But that year, the company upped the ante with a 170-foot-tall water tower in ketchup bottle form, a practical solution to supply water to a fire protection sprinkler system in the Brooks factory in Collinsville, Illinois. When the property was sold in 1993, a ketchup coalition rescued the landmark from certain destruction. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

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The world’s tallest landmark when it was erected in 1884, the Washington Monument still holds its own on the list of America’s largest tourist stops. Built in a style popularized by Egyptian royalty around 3,000 B.C.E., the obelisk dedicated to America's founding father is 555-feet of marble, granite and bluestone gneiss. The Washington Monument is the most prominent feature on Washington DC’s National Mall, its image reflected in the glassy surface of a 2,030 foot long reflecting pool. Despite being outgrown by other landmarks inside the US and beyond, as the National Park Service likes to point out, “the monument, like the man, stands in no one’s shadow.”

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Amusement park sculptor Claude Bell began building the enormous Cabazon Dinosaurs in 1964 to attract travelers to his restaurant outside Palm Springs. But it wasn’t long before the dinos became a destination in and of themselves. Over the years, the two largest, Dinny, the 150-foot-long brontosaurus, and Mr. Rex, the 65-foot-tall tyrannosaurus, have become part of pop culture history with roles in movies like 1985’s Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, 1989’s The Wizard and 2020’s Palm Springs. When new owners took over the property in the mid-1990s, the site also became home to a creationist museum that claims that the “evolutionary origin of life is impossible” and that dinosaurs were created by God 6,000 years ago. It’s unclear whether Bell, who painted images of a 30,000-year-old Cro Magnon and the 400,000-year-old fossil of Java Man inside the belly of Dinny, would have appreciated the irony.

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It took sculptor Gutzon Borglum 14 years to realize his vision of Mount Rushmore, carved into a sacred landscape known to the Lakota Sioux as The Six Grandfathers or Cougar Mountain. Disregarding its significance to the local tribe, Borglum chose the site for its high quality granite and carved the faces of four former presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln – into its cliffs. When finally completed in 1941, each stretched 60 feet from forehead to chin. Together they serve not just as a reminder of America’s democratic history but of its terrible treatment of those who came before.

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What began as an reaction from the Oglala Lakota to the construction of Mount Rushmore on sacred tribal land is, 73 years later, slated to become not just the largest monument in the United States but the second largest in the world. When finally freed from the granite crags of Thunderhead Mountain in the Black Hills, the landmark will depict the great Lakota hero Crazy Horse astride his horse and pointing towards his tribal land. But after three-quarters of a century under construction, only the warrior’s head and face complete with 17-foot wide eyes have been finished. Although work still continues today, the project has fallen out of favor among Tribal members who feel that desecrating a sacred mountain is anathema to everything Crazy Horse stood for.

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Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, Seattle’s iconic Space Needle was once the tallest structure west of the Mississippi. Just over 600 feet tall from base to point, the landmark was built to have a revolving observation-deck restaurant that hovered more than 500 feet above the city. Recent renovations have rebranded the eatery as a cocktail lounge, The Loupe, and added a transparent glass floor, the world’s first in a high-elevation revolving restaurant.

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The Keeper of the Plains, one of Wichita’s most enduring symbols, keeps watch over the city from a rocky ridge outside the Mid-America All-Indian Center, a Native American museum and cultural hub. Created by Kiowa-Comanche artist Blackbear Bosin in 1974, the statue depicts a headdress-wearing Indigenous man lifting a tomahawk towards the sky. At night, the 44-foot-tall steel sculpture is illuminated in flickering red and orange by a ring of fire pits at his feet. Around the base of the monument, displays tell the story of the tribal people that once thrived in this region, including at least eight native groups and almost 30 Indigenous communities from the East who were relocated to the area after 1830. Only four tribes – the Iowa, Kickapoo, Potawatomi and Sac and Fox – have been able to hold onto their reservation land in Kansas to the present day.

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Our Lady of the Rockies, the fourth tallest statue in the US, watches over the town of Butte, Montana from her Rocky Mountain promontory, a chapel at her feet. Built almost entirely from donated labor, money and materials, the likeness of the Virgin Mary is not without controversy. Although the religious symbol is on private land, she can be seen from almost anywhere in town, even at night when light shines on the 90-foot-tall statue, irking those who do not belong to the Christian faith. Despite the squabble, Our Lady continues to stand tall 8,510 feet above the Continental Divide as she has for almost 40 years.

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The Tree of Utah | Bonneville Salt Flats, UT
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14. The Tree of Utah | Bonneville Salt Flats, UT

A hallucination during a drive across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats led Swedish artist Karl Momen to create one of the most desolate, isolated landmarks in the world in 1986. Metaphor: The Tree of Utah rises up from the vast desert landscape, an 87-foot-tall vision in concrete and stone. At its top are six green spheres made from native rock and minerals while, at its base, is a plaque inscribed with quotes from Friedrich Schiller’s 18th century poem “Ode to Joy” which Beethoven used in his Ninth Symphony.

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After the tragic events of September 11, 2001 turned New York’s World Trade Center to rubble, the city was adamant that a new structure would one day stand in its place. That building, One World Trade Center, opened 13 years later, a monument to the resilience of New Yorkers and the American people. One World Trade Center is not just the tallest building in the city, but at 1,776 feet, it’s also the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. At its base, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum provides a sober reminder of the events of 9/11, which killed nearly 3,000 people, and an earlier 1993 bombing, which killed six.

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Golden Driller | Tulsa, OK
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16. Golden Driller | Tulsa, OK

At 75-feet-tall and 43,500 pounds, the Golden Driller weighs in as the country’s sixth tallest statue. Dedicated to the men of the petroleum industry, the giant rests his right arm on a defunct oil derrick that was moved from Seminole, Oklahoma to Tulsa for the International Petroleum Exhibition in 1966. While the Golden Driller has shilled for big oil most of his life, in 2020 he took on another role: hustling for the city in its bid for the next Tesla factory. That May, the massive landmark was painted with the company’s symbol on his chest and its name on his belt buckle. Elon Musk was apparently unimpressed. Tulsa lost the race to Austin, Texas.

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World’s Largest Basket | Newark, OH
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17. World’s Largest Basket | Newark, OH

When Dave Longaberger, head of the basket-making Longaberger Company, first came up with the idea to build a basket-shaped corporate headquarters in the 1990s, he envisioned it as one among many basket-woven company buildings around the country. But by his death in 1999, only one, a replica of the company’s medium-sized market basket, had been built. The seven-story-tall, 180,000-square-foot Newark, Ohio building remained in use until 2016. It was sold the following year and plans are afoot to turn this stunning example of novelty architecture into a luxury hotel.

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In a Greek temple at the western end of Washington DC’s National Mall sits President Abraham Lincoln deep in thought. More than 4.5-times the size of the man himself, the 175-ton statue is made from white marble from Georgia, his arms resting on pedestals of marble from Tennessee. According to urban legend, sculptor Daniel Chester French, the father of a deaf son, designed Lincoln’s hands to form the letters A and L in sign language in tribute to the president’s approval of Gallaudet University, a college for the deaf. Since the 1930s, the space has been seen not just as a tribute to the man but to the ongoing aftermath of slavery (which he abolished in 1863) and racial discrimination in the US. It was on this site in 1963 that 250,000 people witnessed the delivery of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most revered speech, “I Have a Dream.”

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Birth of the New World | Arecibo, Puerto Rico
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19. Birth of the New World | Arecibo, Puerto Rico

For several years, North America’s tallest statue was a vagabond in search of a home. Created by Georgian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage across the sea, Birth of the New World was rejected by New York City, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Columbus, St. Petersburg and Baltimore before finally landing on the Atlantic coast in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The 360-foot-tall monument features the voyager, his hand at a steering wheel that wasn’t invented until more than two centuries later, with the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria at his back. Unlike the colonizer's original visit, which triggered the destruction of somewhere between 12-15 million Indigenous people in the Caribbean alone, his bronze likeness has brought around 1,000 new jobs to the region through tourism.

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