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World's Tallest Ladderback Chair

Field review by the editors.

Bennington, Vermont

In 1969 the Haynes and Kane furniture store of Bennington built a 19 foot, 1 inch tall ladderback chair and stood it in a grassy spot next to its parking lot. The chair replaced another, slightly smaller chair that had stood there since the late 1940s.

Rain and snow pooled on the seat, eventually rotting the chair. It was torn down in the summer of 2000, and Haynes and Kane went out of business soon afterward. The store sat vacant for years, then was bought by LaFlamme's, a New York furniture company whose owner's wife grew up in Bennington. To curry favor with the town, LaFlamme's orchestrated a "Bring Back The Chair" campaign that culminated on December 1, 2012, when a nearly-exact replica of the Haynes and Kane chair -- just as tall -- was erected on the spot where the original had stood.

The new chair, built as a real chair, used nearly 3,000 pounds of cedar and white pine. A thousand feet of special rot-resistant marine rope went into its seat, woven in such a way that rain and snow would drain through it. In a final gesture, the sign that had been attached to the original chair, proclaiming to be the World's Tallest Ladderback, was returned and attached to the new chair. It had been hanging on a wall in a local restaurant.

Astonishingly, the new chair stood for only 20 days before it collapsed, toppled by a freak "Nor'icane" windstorm. Embarrassed, LaFlamme's had the chair back up within a month -- and this time anchored its legs, with chains, into cement. And then -- the store burned down!

The giant chair somehow escaped the flames, and stood, abandoned, until February 2015, when it was moved to a new spot in front of a new LaFlamme's location in town. Then in 2017 LaFlamme's declared bankruptcy and the chair was again imperiled. In March 2018 a credit union bought the chair at an auction and pledged to keep it in Bennington. Since 2019 it's stood on the lawn in front of the credit union's new branch

Will calamity again stalk Bennington's big chair? We hope not; the town has certainly shown that it wants to have it around.

World's Tallest Ladderback Chair

125 Washington Ave., Bennington, VT
From VT-9/Main St. in downtown, turn south at the stoplight onto Washington Ave. Drive one block. You'll see the chair on the right, in front of a bank.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Tallest Thing in VermontTallest Thing in Vermont, Bennington, VT - 1 mi.
Opulent Children's Play HouseOpulent Children's Play House, North Bennington, VT - 4 mi.
Furniture of the Hoosick GiantsFurniture of the Hoosick Giants, Hoosick, NY - 6 mi.
In the region:
Church with Congregation of Nude Statues, North Adams, MA - 13 mi.

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