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Seven stories high, shaped like a basket, it was built as Longaberger headquarters.
Seven stories high, shaped like a basket, it was built as Longaberger headquarters.

World's Largest Basket

Field review by the editors.

Newark, Ohio

Space aliens, bending their eye stalks Earthward, often mistake Newark, Ohio, as the center of all world power. After all, it is in this modest city that humankind has erected the grandest monument to the highest pinnacle of achievement by an advanced consumer culture -- the hand-woven gift basket. This monument is, in fact, the world's largest basket. It was built as the seven-story corporate headquarters of the Longaberger Basket Company.

There are many other contenders for over-the-top Monuments of Non-Essentiality in America -- the World of Coca-Cola and Precious Moments Chapel come to mind -- but they're not as intimidating when viewed from orbit.

Basket Building.

The basket is a replica -- 160 times larger -- of Longaberger's Medium Market Basket. It's 192 feet long and 126 feet wide at the bottom, spreading to 208 feet long and 142 feet wide at the roofline. It is a magnificent sight.

Dave Longaberger, who founded the company, was the business visionary who not only tapped into the demand for hand-woven party baskets, but who dreamed up the idea of running his growing organization from inside of one. Most of his employees, less farsighted than their leader, didn't take Dave's notion seriously when the plan was announced. Perhaps they believed that the house-sized basket in Dresden -- Longaberger's old HQ -- pushed the absolute physical limits of basket-building science.

Many were still astounded when they moved into the Brobdingnagian picnic packer in Newark -- their new Home Office -- on December 17, 1997. It had cost Longaberger $32 million to build.

We'd like to think that job satisfaction was higher than normal at Longaberger's. After all, no matter how menial your daily labors or how incompetent your boss, you still worked in a giant basket.

Apple Basket, Dresden
Apple Basket in Dresden, Ohio.

The party basket craze eventually peaked, and by 2016 the basket building had been vacated and put on the market. It was sold to a local developer in late 2017 -- who announced in late 2019 that the basket would be gutted and turned into a luxury hotel. Those plans fizzled, and the building has remained empty (and the subject of multiple lawsuits) ever since.

The entire region around Newark is remains basket-happy, a legacy of the now long-gone Longabergers. The World's Largest Apple Basket -- over 29 feet tall -- stands at the original Longaberger Homestead in Frazeysburg. It was hand-woven from hardwood maple in 1999. It's become an even better photo op since it was augmented with giant fake apples.

In nearby Dresden, on Main Street and 5th, you'll find the old HQ still standing, a house-sized picnic basket -- 23 feet tall and 48 feet long. This huge basket was the first architectural creation of the Longaberger juggernaut. To get there you'll probably cross Dave Longaberger Avenue.

The Big Easter Basket up in Lorain -- on the shore of Lake Erie on West Erie Avenue -- is not a Longaberger creation, and it is a tad amateurish when compared to the other big baskets. Still, at 9 feet high and 10 feet wide, it suggests that big baskets have had something to do with the soul of Ohio, not just the brand awareness of the Longaberger Basket Company. [Note: Giant eggs are placed in the Lorain basket, but only between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.]

Also see: House-sized Picnic Basket | World's Largest Apple Basket Team Field Report

World's Largest Basket

1500 East Main St., Newark, OH
On the south side of Hwy 16, east of town. Exit at either Dayton Rd (from the west) or E. Main St. (from the east) and proceed along E. Main St. to the basket.
Currently empty. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

House-Sized Wicker Basket

508 Main St., Dresden, OH
East of Hwy 60 in town, Main St. and W 5th St.
Save to My Sights

World's Largest Apple Basket

Longaberger Homestead

5563 Raiders Rd, Frazeysburg, OH
On the property of the Longaberger Homestead.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Flood-Repelling Totem PoleFlood-Repelling Totem Pole, Newark, OH - 3 mi.
Statue of America's Youngest SoldierStatue of America's Youngest Soldier, Newark, OH - 3 mi.
Amelia Earhart and Happy AnimalsAmelia Earhart and Happy Animals, Newark, OH - 5 mi.
In the region:
House-Sized Wicker Basket, Dresden, OH - 18 mi.

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