This Bunyan Muffler Man in Roanoke, Virginia stands outside Williamson Road Service Center.
When I saw this roadside attraction on a Virginia road trip in 2010 he was sporting a thick black beard and wearing a red shirt, tan pants, and black boots. In his right hand he held out a tire and in his left, a sign with the business’s address. Despite being a little worse for wear some paint chipping off his chiseled forehead, he was looking mighty handsome.
While this 20 to 25-foot tall Paul Bunyan lookalike is definitely a site to behold, he isn’t unique: he has twins around the United States (like the Ace Hardware Muffler Man in Elkhart, Indiana and the Lauterbach Tire Muffler Man in Springfield, Illinois). His “Bunyan” style is also known as “Lumberjack” or “Woodsman” and is distinguished by wearing a heavy wool cap (hard to tell in these photos as his hat is painted the same color as his hair) and a thick beard. While Bunyans often wear red shirts and hold an ax between their hands, many don’t. This one doesn’t have an ax but his hands and arms are in a “typical” muffler man position (right palm up, left palm down, with arms bent at the elbow in front of them). (Curious to know more about what makes a muffler man a muffler man? Check out this guide from our friends at Roadside America.)
Rumor has it that this muffler man came to Roanoke in the 1940s when the namesake behind Dabney Tires went to an auto convention in Washington D.C., spotted this giant statue on display, and had to have it for himself. He brought it home with him and installed him in front of his shop. Though the owner eventually changed hands and the business’s name changed, the muffler man still stands with no plans to move.
Bunyan Muffler Man in Roanoke, Virginia
Location: Williamson Road Service Center, 3110 Williamson Rd, Roanoke, VA
Hours: Always Visible
Cost: Free to see