Uncle Sam statue, Virginia, Minnesota.
Uncle Sam statue, Virginia, Minnesota.

Uncle Sam Sells

Uncle Sam -- darling of US Army recruitment posters and oft-charicatured symbol of government in political cartoons -- can be visited on your next vacation. On a poster at the US Army Chemical Corps Museum, he wears a gas mask, while next to him a zombie-faced Kaiser crashes to the ground.

Some Uncle Sams are employed in the straightforward recruitment of consumer confidence, standing tall over auto dealerships and shopping centers. The Uncle Sam in Virginia, Minnesota, is in the High Trail Motors parking lot below the road banking on US 53 south of town, so it loses some impact. Both Danbury, Connecticut, and Ottawa Lake, Michigan, have 38-foot-tall Uncle Sams that were originally built to sell hamburgers in Ohio.

In contrast to the identical appearance of mass produced cowboys, Indians and Muffler Men, the Uncle Sams we've seen are often varied, one-of-a-kind (or the last of a limited local chain).

Many people don't know that Uncle Sam was an actual guy. His real name was Samuel Wilson, born in Arlington, Massachusetts, on September 13, 1766, but spent most of his life in Troy, NY. He was a meatpacker during the War of 1812 and the supposed inspiration for the Uncle Sam character. He died in 1854.

Ottawa Lake, Michigan - fireworks salesman.
Ottawa Lake, Michigan - fireworks salesman.

Troy calls itself the "Home of Uncle Sam," memorialized by a statue at River and 3rd Streets downtown. His grave in Oakwood Cemetery, north of Troy, is diligently maintained by the local Boy Scout council, who raise the American flag over it each day.

Other Sams:


World's Tallest Uncle Sam

Address:
Sterns Rd, Ottawa Lake, MI
Directions:
US Hwy 23/223 just north of the OH-MI border. Exit 1 (Sterns Rd), southwest side.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Big Uncle Sam

Iron Trail Motors

Address:
1301 S. 17th St., Virginia, MN
Directions:
Sam holds a sign advertising Iron Trail Motors, on the west side on US Hwy 53 just as it curves east around the Thunderbird Mall.
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RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Teako's Giants of Hatch

Sparky's Burgers, Barbecue, and Espresso

Address:
115 Franklin St., Hatch, NM
Directions:
Sparky's Burgers, Barbecue, and Espresso. I-25 exit 41, then drive one mile south on Hwy 26/Franklin St. On the right.
Hours:
Su, M, Th, F 10:30 am - 7 pm, Sa 10:30 am - 7:30 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
575-267-4222
Admission:
Free.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
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RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

World's Tallest Uncle Sam

Danbury Railway Museum

Address:
120 White St., Danbury, CT
Directions:
In the parking lot of the Danbury Railway Museum. Downtown, on the corner of Patriot Drive and White St.
Hours:
Lit at night.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

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December 12, 2019

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