20 Years of Info Highway Hijinx
Before social networks, encyclopedic wikis, interactive maps and reliable search engines, there was the web site: RoadsideAmerica.com.
Launched on September 1, 1996, its mission has been to seek oddball wonders and mirth on the Outer Rim of the roadside universe and share the explorations of like-minded travelers. Several hundred thousand miles (and a surprising quantity of rubber masks and hazmat suits) later, there's still gas in our tank, and more strangeness ahead. So we'll keep on driving and uploading.
Check out that first home page
- The Roadside America Team
They wave at cars, shout hellos, direct traffic, pose for photos. They are America's unsolicited Town Ambassadors. Some have passed on, such as “Dancin’ Dave” Whatley and Wally "Mr. Pumpkin" Thurow, but their hometown statues ensure that visitors will always have a reason to smile.
Round-up of our favorites
Famous Gunfighters Wax Museum
The Old West thrives in Dodge City, in a vintage wax museum that includes tributes to Dracula and President Kennedy. Why? It was built in the 1960s, and hasn't changed in over 50 years. Its downstairs neighbor is a Teachers Hall of Fame, so no running in the halls.
Chris Barbee's Bowling Ball Yard
Chris Barbee has thousands of bowling balls, and he's used them to turn his little patch of Oklahoma into a yard of Bowling Ball Art. "I've been called everything from an artist to a crazy old fool."
Twister (The Movie) Museum
The movie "Twister" cinematically flattened Wakita, Oklahoma, 20 years ago -- and the town’s Twister Museum celebrates the destruction. Dorothy I is here, the tornado-decoding machine that was smashed in the movie. A favorite stop for storm chasers and fans of Bill Paxton films.
Cabbage Patch Fantasy Land
The world's largest private collection of Cabbage Patch Kids is in a little farm community in Iowa. In fact, there are many more Kids in town than people. See the Space Shuttle Kids, and the voracious (and banned) Snacktime Kids, and the victims of the weird Cabbage Patch Pox.
Grassroots Art Center
Who stuck this wad of gum here? Wait, it looks like a... human face! It's grassroots art in Kansas, made out of everything from old beer can tabs to Barbie dolls, by otherwise normal-looking Middle Americans with a secret need for artistic expression. And used chewing gum.
Birdhouse Paradise of Bill Larkin
Retired programmer Bill Larkin refuses to own a smartphone or a computer, lives in a geodesic dome, and has filled his yard with thousands of birdhouses. And he doesn't even care about birds. No, Bill’s goal is to "just laugh and have fun," and if you visit he'll give you a free birdhouse. Story
The Moon-Eyed People
A mysterious prehistoric carving of two dwarf creatures was hidden from the public until 2015. Now it's displayed in a little North Carolina museum, along with hundreds of eerie dolls. Are the creatures space aliens? Or the equally bizarre Moon-Eyed People?