Category: Roadside Curiosities

Roadside Americana

The Christmas House, Royal Oak, MI

On the corner of 12 Mile Rd. & Washington in Royal Oak, a double lot is decorated from edge-to-edge (and ground to tree) with Christmas decoration. It’s become so popular it’s even been written up in the local newspaper.

This is the front of the house.

A close-up shows the light-up chorus. It’s set to music, of course!

This is the yard and lot next to the house…it’s kinda spectacularly tacky.

Up close and personal with the Christmas lawn.

A view of the fence…

Look! On the roof! It’s Santa.

More Christmas Crazy!

Goes without saying that this is a favorite stop of mine in the Detroit area during the holidays!

Eaton County Courthouse Square

A giant Santa and two “little” elves grace the lawn of the Eaton County Courthouse Square. I enjoy that Santa is just sort gaping. It’s like when you take a picture just before someone smiles but after they’ve noticed you’re lifting your camera.

A detail of the creepy elf. He’s awesome.

Crazy Libertarian Car–Guest Submission!

My husband spotted this Ron Paul-lovin’, big tobacco-sympathizin’, all around nutty Libertarian vehicle on his lunch hour today. It got stuck making a turn and he had time to whip out the camera phone. :heart.
I love my husband! And I love crazies!I should disclose that I think the all-out freak-out on smokers and smoking is way over the top and I think it’s starting to infringe on the smokers’ civil liberties. That said? I wouldn’t wallpaper my car about it.

Del Rhea’s Chicken Basket, Willowbrook, IL, Rte. 66

Located on historic Route 66, Del Rhea’s Chicken Basket has been serving up fried chicken baskets since the 1940s to hungry travelers on Route 66! It’s cheap and delicious and you won’t find a better corn fritter anywhere!

Thanks to my friend Anne and her twin sister Jenny for taking me and my husband here a few weeks ago. The interior is decorated with a vintage chicken kitchen theme. Hee!

And the light-up flashing neon just beckons you in, no? What a great place! Thanks, Anne!

Creepy Jesus Painting, North Riverside, IL

I saw this at the North Riverside mall in Illinois while waiting for an oil change at the Sears Service Center (incredible service, by the way, I highly recommend that location–the one in Naperville is ass).

Anyway, I’m wandering through the mall and this makes me stop and pull out my camera (if not my wallet) and take a quick snapshot. I seriously just stared at this for a long time, awestruck by it’s hideousness. It’s just so wrong on so many levels. First, it’s an optical illusion (kinda) and then it’s got all kinds of creepy elements (like the tortured soul in Jesus’ armpit) including a bunch of random eyeballs. Wow. Just wow.

Pink Elephant Antiques, Livingston, IL

Pink Elephant Antiques in Livingston, Illinois, is a heck of a fun stop, even if it the actual store is closed (as it was on the day I happened by).
The building appears to be a funky art deco school building–or perhaps just the Gymnasium building of an old school campus? I’m not sure. But I loved it.
There is a funky elephant coming out of the front of the building near the entrance. It’s keen.

A shot of my husband standing in front of the building. And look at that spectacular Muffler Man-esque beach dude. I wonder if he used to stand in front of a beach stand with a hot dog or a coke in his hand.

He sure is big!
I love him.

Around the side (you can see Mr. Beach’s elbow in the picture) there is another elephant and another huge ANTIQUES sign. It’s pretty sweet. I hear there is a real Muffler Man inside–sure wish they’d been open!

Just imagine the treasures inside! *sniff*

This is the Pink Elephant!

Like any good roadside attraction, it’s right there next to the expressway.

The Statue of Liberation Through Christ, Memphis, TN

I was in Memphis last weekend and saw one of the best roadside attractions I’ve stumbled upon in years! This takes the cake, people! This is the Statue of Liberation through Christ aka The Lord’s Lady Liberty. For a complete FAQ click here.
I can’t tell you how excited I was when we spotted her, standing on the corner of Kirby Parkway. She beckoned to us and we had no choice but to submit.
So enchanted were we, we had to circle her to get a better look. To what did our wondering eyes appear?
Better than reindeer. This liberated lady features a tiny chapel/altar under base/skirt. There is a spot to kneel and pray (for forgiveness?), a “tomb” made of sprayed plastic foam that features the slogan “HE IS RISEN” above an alcove that I’m guessing is supposed to be where Jesus chilled out before he woke from the dead. I like the white sheet that provides a shroud of Turin flavor. Crappy soothing relgious music is pumped in below the altar.

The statue is rife with amusingly heavy-handed symbolism, including my personal favorite: The Lord’s Lady Liberty is shedding a tear. “THE TEAR represents Lady Liberation’s despair over America’s rapid decline from its Judeo-Christian values. She weeps for our nation’s self-destruction as the protective hand of God is removed. Yet, she realizes that there is still hope for America if we return to God through Jesus Christ.”

There were scads of flags about the property and we were quite confused by what looked a lot like a rebel flag. I’m still not sure what it was. We caught this photo of the US flag and (I think?) the state flag? Anyway, this baby is WELL worth the trip. She’s a beauty!