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Easter Island Head with Topknot.

Easter Island Head with Topknot

Field review by the editors.

Waterbury, Connecticut

Connecticut's lantern-jawed Easter Island head may seem as mysterious the original heads on Easter Island, but there is a reason it's here. The head was built in 2008 to get tourists to stop at the adjacent Timexpo Museum, which had opened in 2001 but had failed to draw a crowd. Its tenuous connection to the museum, which told the history of Waterbury's most famous business, Timex watches, was that the Norwegian owners of Timex were big fans of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who in the 1950s mounted a well-publicized expedition to Easter Island to study the big heads. The museum even featured an exhibit about Heyerdahl, linking his his South Seas research to "time" -- i.e. the distant origins of humankind.

The 40-foot-high monolith, assembled in pieces and covered with rock-like Shotcrete, cost over $100,000 to build. It's a good replica, including even a rare red topknot (found on only a few Easter Island statues) and the heads' original white coral eyes. Local critics, however, savaged the sculpture in the pages of the Waterbury Republican-American, calling it a "hideous deformity" and "primitive monstrosity." Worse, it didn't work; attendance at Timexpo continued to dwindle, and the museum closed in 2015.

The head, however, is still there -- apparently not from any local love, but because it would cost too much to move somewhere else, and Waterbury isn't about to bulldoze an attraction that at least gets people to pull off the Interstate and maybe dine at the adjacent Chili's.

Easter Island Head with Topknot

175 Union St., Waterbury, CT
I-84 exits 21 or 22, on the north side.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Holy Land USAHoly Land USA, Waterbury, CT - < 1 mi.
JFK: I'll Be Back in 1964JFK: I'll Be Back in 1964, Waterbury, CT - < 1 mi.
Button MuseumButton Museum, Waterbury, CT - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Walter's - Asian Roof Hot Dog Stand, Mamaroneck, NY - 56 mi.

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