Skip to Main Content

Giant clothespin by Claes Oldenburg.

World's Largest Clothespin

Field review by the editors.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Big city centers tend to be hectic places. The confluence of traffic and pedestrians, especially during the business day, focuses one's attention on not killing pedestrians, or not being a killed pedestrian. Public art in these frantic spaces is sometimes intentionally large and jarring, to draw attention amid the urban noise.

Sculptor Claes Oldenburg (1929-2022) was perfect for this civic art assignment, and the giant clothespin across from Philadelphia City Hall in Center City is both art commentary and tourist eye candy. Commissioned by the city in 1974 and erected in 1976, the 45-ft. tall rusting steel work resembles a traditional spring-clip to hang wet laundry on a line. It is completely out-of-character with the historic city hall, with its ornate windows, roof, and tower, apparently Oldenburg's goal.

Still -- it's been on display long enough that locals are essentially blind to it; other goofy civic art installations across the street and around town have softened the shock. Newer generations don't even recognize a clothespin, and might mistake it for some kind of utility tower or abstract sculpture of a former mayor. Update suggestion: A chip clip?

Also see: Claes Oldenburg: Giant Thing Artist

World's Largest Clothespin

Market St., Philadelphia, PA
In front of the Center Square Building, Market St. and 15th St.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Masonic Library and Museum of PennsylvaniaMasonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA - < 1 mi.
World's Largest Working Pipe OrganWorld's Largest Working Pipe Organ, Philadelphia, PA - < 1 mi.
High Beam WalkersHigh Beam Walkers, Philadelphia, PA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Softball Field Lighthouse, Paulsboro, NJ - 8 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Pennsylvania

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Pennsylvania.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Save Cool Vacation Destinations! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Pennsylvania Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Bloodstained Tomb of Nina Craigmiles, Cleveland, Tennessee (Apr 8-14, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings