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Replica of the Mammoth Cheese.

Replica of the Mammoth Cheese

Field review by the editors.

Cheshire, Massachusetts

Since 1940 the town of Cheshire has had a monument to its mammoth cheese, or, rather, a monument-replica of the cider press that was only thing in town big enough to make it. But the plaque on the monument lists the wrong weight for the cheese, and most of its space is devoted to Elder John Leland, the cheese mastermind, not the cheese itself.

Replica of the Mammoth Cheese.

Cheshire finally remedied that missed opportunity in May 2021, when it unveiled a full-color same-size replica of the cheese one block east. It's in a far more visible spot adjacent not only to the town's main street, but to the Appalachian Trail as well, where cheese-hungry drivers and hikers will be certain to appreciate it.

The original cheese weighed 1,235 pounds and was supposedly made from the milk of every cow in town. It was presented by Leland to President Thomas Jefferson on January 1, 1802. Critics dismissed it as wasteful and called it the "mammoth" cheese as an insult -- the first use of that word as an adjective meaning "big" -- but the mockery backfired. It turned out that Americans liked the idea that they lived in a land of giant things. That quest for mammoth-ness inspires many American roadside attractions to this day.

The 1802 cheese supposedly hung around the White House for years, slowly being eaten before it eventually went bad. The 2021 replica, although not edible, is still perishable, and is only brought outside for display from late May until mid-October.

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Also see: Canada's Mammoth Cheese

Replica of the Mammoth Cheese

1 Main St., Cheshire, MA
Downtown, on the north side of Main St./Church St., at its intersection with Railroad St. and the Appalachian Trail.
Late May - mid-Oct. Taken indoors in cold weather months. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Monument to the Mammoth CheeseMonument to the Mammoth Cheese, Cheshire, MA - < 1 mi.
Lighthouse Atop Mount GreylockLighthouse Atop Mount Greylock, Adams, MA - 5 mi.
Waving McKinley, Friend of the Cotton IndustryWaving McKinley, Friend of the Cotton Industry, Adams, MA - 5 mi.
In the region:
Uncle Sam Brewery Mural, Troy, NY - 30 mi.

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