Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
April 4, 2011
It’s been nearly ten years since the idea of the World’s Largest Lava Lamp first bubbled to the surface in Soap Lake, Washington. Local resident Brent Blake spearheaded the proposal, and imagined a 60-foot-tall working lamp that would stand in the middle of a downtown intersection, surrounded by an observation deck.
That plan soon failed. So did a subsequent, less costly version that would have salvaged an existing giant lava lamp that had formerly stood in Times Square in New York.
But some ideas are just too good to die. And so it is that the giant lava lamp of Soap Lake has been revived again, this time by a family of architects who reportedly plan to raise $1 million to build the lamp on a bluff next to Soap Lake’s lake.
When Brent Blake came up with the idea in 2001, he said that the lamp had no connection to the town, other than as a way to attract tourists. The lamp’s new boosters, however, insist that Soap Lake is an ideal and proper location for a giant lava lamp, since Soap Lake’s lake is known for its healing powers (the town was once a therapeutic resort) and lava lamps are, too. They are no longer viewed as mere eye candy for stoners, but as tools for calming stress in an overworked society.
We’re not entirely convinced that people will go to Soap Lake’s lake — which already has soothing vistas — to be calmed by a giant lava lamp. But America’s attraction-building visionaries have a long record of taking nature and making it better; this may just be its latest iteration.
If nothing else, the continuing saga of Soap Lake’s giant lava lamp has showcased the increased sophistication of conceptual drawings of hoped-for tourist attractions.