Giant Hands in Prayer
Webb City, Missouri
These sizable civic mitts are a distant second to the giant praying hands outside of Oral Robert University. But they are still impressive -- 110 tons and 32 feet tall atop a 40-foot-tall man-made hill -- especially since they are out here, unannounced and unexpected. They were sculpted by local artist J.E. "Jack" Dawson in 1972 and are more fully clasped than the Oral Roberts paws, which merely rest against each other's fingertips.
The Hands have a secret, though not a big one. If you walk up the hill and around the back, you'll likely see a profusion of graffiti on the sculpture (spray-can artistes must have figured that defacing the public side gets noticed faster and cleaned off).
At the base is a makeshift plywood panel partially blocking an opening....leading inside the Hands! A spiritual foci for local stoners? The cramped, off limits crawlspace is not tempting even if your tetanus shots are up to date...
Webb City promotes itself as "The City of Flags" and the Hands are surrounded by them, although displaying the Confederate battle flag at the high school has reportedly been banned.