18 Small Towns with Strange Claims to Fame

This country is filled with inspiring sights, record-breaking happenings, and talented DIYers who do amazing (okay, occasionally weird!) things to put their town on the map. From the hottest time you’ll ever have to the biggest baseball bat you wouldn’t want to bunt with, check out our top picks!
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Casey, Illinois

flickr.com via Drew Tarvin

The population of this eastern Illinois town may only be about 3,000, but local businessman Jim Bolin had big dreams—and he made them come true. The daring DIYer has built such “world’s largest” attractions as the largest set of knitting needles (13 feet long), largest crochet hook, (6 feet long), largest wind chime (42 feet long), and largest golf tee (30 feet, 9 inches). All of Bolin’s creations are fully operational—now all he needs is a big friendly giant to put them to use!

Mt. Baker Ski Area, Washington

wikimedia.org via Chanilim714

Ski bums delight! The Mt. Baker Ski Area in northwestern Washington State reported a whopping 1,140 inches of snow in a single season, the figure was validated by the National Climate Extremes Committee. Of course, that was back in the 1998-1999 snowfall season, but the area continues to claim the unofficially highest average annual snowfall of any resort in the world, with 641 inches.

Related: 23 Brilliant Hacks to Help You Weather Winter

Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley

wikimedia.org via Pierre André

Looking for a sizzling experience? Head on out to the aptly named Furnace Creek Ranch. Back on July 10, 1913, the hot spot then called Greenland Ranch “enjoyed” the hottest atmospheric temperature ever recorded on earth, of 134 °F. Generally speaking, the average high in the region during July and August is only around 115°F. So don’t try frying an egg on the sidewalk!

Bethel, Maine

flickr.com via ChrisDag

Talk about a snow day! On February 26, 2008, town residents erected a towering snow woman, standing 122 feet, 1 inch tall—just a tad shorter than the Statue of Liberty. Named Olympia, she was made from 13 million pounds of snow and had eyelashes fashioned from skis, lips made from red car tires, and arms formed by two 30-foot spruce trees. Of course it’s erroneous to call the construction feat the work of a snow day; Olympia actually took a hundred or so volunteers about a month to complete. So why a snow woman? Because in 1999, the people of Bethel built Angus, King of the Mountain, who stood a then-record-breaking 113 feet, 7 inches.

Related: 10 Surprising Tips for Dealing with Ice and Snow

Hershey, Pennsylvania


Be careful when you ask someone in Hershey to give you a big kiss—you might get more than you bargained for. The town is home to the chocolate manufacturer of the same name, and on July 7, 2007, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the company’s signature candy, it unveiled a Hershey’s Kiss weighing 30,540 pounds! It officially made the Guinness Book cut as the largest individual chocolate ever.

Alexandria, Indiana

flickr.com via Stephen

The average DIYer may find painting the most boring part of a project, but Michael and Glenda Carmichael of this central Indiana town aren’t average! In 1977, they started painting a baseball, two coats a day, and by 2004, with approximately 17,994 coats, it officially became the world’s largest paint ball. Want to know how much paint that is? Well, a gallon is good for about 20 to 25 layers at the ball’s current size, a circumference of 9 feet, 1 inch, so go ahead and do the math! True, the ball is quite a sight to see—but we wouldn’t want to pitch it!

Related: 10 Unusual Tricks for Your Easiest-Ever Paint Job

Ames, Iowa

flickr.com via Timothy

And you thought gnomes were tiny! Not the one at Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens—he’s 15 feet fall and 3,500 pounds of metal-reinforced concrete! The handiwork of Wausau craft-folk Andy and Connie Kautza, the gnome was constructed out of a cubic yard of concrete—enough to pave about 20 feet of sidewalk—and traveled 400 miles to its current home, where he stands as a good luck charm. Yeah, it’s good luck he hasn’t fallen and squished anybody!

Rose Hill, North Carolina

flickr.com via darwin.wins

What’s cooking? How about 365 chickens in the same skillet! Totally doable in this 2-ton frying pan, built by the Queensboro Steel Corp in 1963 as a tribute to the area’s poultry industry. The cast-iron pan, which is 15 feet in diameter and can hold up to 200 gallons of oil, has been frying up chickens for local festivals for decades. Finger lickin’ loco!

Related: 12 Kitchen Gadgets People Always Regret Buying

Cawker City, Kansas

flickr.com via Jimmy Emerson, DVM

They really know how to have a ball in this northern Kansas hamlet! Frank Stoeber started the local treasure, and by the time he passed on in 1974 it had 1.6 million feet of twine—but it didn’t stop there! Every August the town hosts a “Twine-a- thon” to add to the ball, which is nestled in its own private gazebo. At last measuring, the ball was 41.42 feet in circumference, 8.06 feet in diameter, and 10.83 feet in height, and it’s still growing.

Ruston, Louisiana


When you think of Louisiana cuisine, you think gumbo, po’ boys, and jambalaya—but there’s got to be dessert on the menu, so may we recommend the peach cobbler? Ruston, hosting the 65th Annual Louisiana Peach Festival on June 27, 2015, was proud to serve the most ginormous fruit cobbler ever. Baked by the local Hampton Inn, it required 819 pounds of peaches, 312 pounds of butter, 343 pounds of flour, 73 gallons of milk, 1 pound of baking powder, and 454 pounds of sugar. The result, which took six hours to cook, weighed in at 2,251 pounds.

Timonium, Maryland

flickr.com via Alison

Like it or lump it—lump crabmeat, that is! This spot north of Baltimore, home to the Maryland State Fair, got a taste of the state’s signature dish, big time, on September 1, 2012. Thanks to seafood firm Handy International, the world’s largest crab cake, all 300 pounds of it, was dished up. You couldn’t exactly call it light and fluffy, but made of world-famous Maryland blue crab it had to be delicious!

Cape Cod, Massachusetts


The Cape Cod Canal, an artificial waterway connecting Cape Cod Bay in the north to Buzzards Bay in the south, is 7 miles long and a massive 480 feet wide; compare that to, say, the Erie Canal, a mere 40 feet wide. A dream of Miles Standish of the original Plymouth Colony way back in 1623, it was finally constructed between 1909 and 1916, but it was a $21,000,000 expansion project between 1935 and 1940 that increased the canal to its current width. Wow!

Related: The 22 Weirdest Town Names Ever Put on the Map

Great Falls, Montana

wikimedia.org via Montanabw

Imagine telling friends you swam the length of an entire river! Try it on the Roe River—at only 201 feet it won the title as the Guinness Book’s shortest. But it’s a claim to fame in dispute! The previous record holder, Oregon’s D River at 440 feet, submitted a new length of only 120 feet at “extreme high tide.” Any wonder why Guinness dropped the category as of the 2006 edition?

Louisville, Kentucky

flickr.com via Scott Beale

Where else but the birthplace of the famous Louisville Slugger (first manufactured in 1884) would you find the world’s biggest bat? Though meant to replicate the wooden bat used by Babe Ruth in the 1920s, it’s actually made of 34 tons of carbon steel. It was erected in July 1996 and today stands proudly in front of the town’s Slugger Museum. But it’s not the only big bat that Louisville can claim: A few blocks away, a huge fake flying bat clings to the wall of a costume store.

Related: 12 Unusual Ways to Reinvent Sports Gear

Portland, Oregon

wikipedia.org via atul666

If you appreciate quality over quantity, there’ll be a soft spot in your heart for this tiny circle, two feet across, in a median strip of the city’s SW Naito Parkway. The pint-sized park is on the site of a streetlight that never materialized—except for the hole dug for a pole. Local journalist Dick Fagan planted flowers there, then concocted a story that the park was a wish granted to him by a tricky leprechaun! Named for the wood scraps resulting from the area’s logging industry, Mills End Park was dedicated on St. Patrick’s Day in 1948 and became an official city park in 1976.

Related: Here’s What Your Favorite Houseplants Look Like in the Wild

Columbus, Georgia


Folks may argue over who makes the best barbecue, but there’s no disputing who put the most time into the tasty treat! That would be Jan Greeff, who—in association with grill and smoker company Char-Broil—cooked for 80 hours straight, culminating on April 27, 2014. Under a tent in the center of town, Greeff got busy with 1,000 hot dogs, 200 pieces of corn, 104 pieces of chicken, 558 hamburgers and 526 sausages. Though the food was given away free, the event was a benefit that raised more than $10,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Chow down, y’all!

Rupert, Idaho


Getting lost was never this much fun! In October 2011, Garden Cents nursery employee Bryan Jentszch unveiled his monstrous, mammoth Mega Maze—all 96,847 square feet built out of bales of straw. The maze boasted 3,202 bales of straw (each one weighing about 1,100 pounds) and wound its way through 1.6 miles, on the ground and in an elevated 3D section, including two secret hidden rooms. After the Halloween season the maze was dismantled and the straw distributed to local dairy farms as bedding for cows. And that ain’t hay!

Related: Celebrate Fall with 11 Thrifty DIY Projects for the Home

New Orleans, Louisiana

wikimedia.org via Infrogmation of New Orleans

No one throws down like New Orleans, and on October 31, 2010, the city made it official, hosting the biggest Halloween party ever. Organized by the New Orleans Saints and NBC Sports inside the Superdome, it boasted some 17,777 crazily costumed participants. The bash sure jazzed up the team, who went on to wallop the Pittsburgh Steelers that night. Go, Saints!

Related: 20 Beautiful Homes Hiding in America’s Most Affordable Cities