The Kansas section of Route 66 may be small, but it is packed with roadside attractions, old and new, at every turn. One of the newest attractions can be found soon after entering the state. Located on the original alignment of Kansas Route 66 you’ll find this modern version of a classic muffler man: Frecs the Miner in Galena, Kansas.
Muffler men roadside attractions are fiberglass giants who stand anywhere from 14 to 25 feet tall. Each has a similar design and was built between 1963 and 1972 by International Fiberglass in Venice, California. With signature stances, these big men stood outside of muffler shops and other businesses to call attention from the road.
While Frecs isn’t actually a true muffler man he was constructed to be an archetype of the classic roadside attraction. At 19-feet tall, this giant man is dressed as a miner complete with blue jean overalls, a helmet, boots, a pail, and a pickaxe.
Instead of the traditional fiberglass, this homemade “muffler man” was constructed out of pipe, canvas, chicken wire, and glue. In was made in 2019 after an idea by Renee Charles, president of the Kansas Historic Route 66 Association. She named the Route 66 attraction Frecs after her grandfather Milbern John Busick. He was an actual lead and zinc miner from the area whose nickname was Frecs, short for Freckles, after his red hair and freckles.
After checking out this Kansas muffler man be sure to drive a bit further down the road to find another Kansas Route 66 attraction: Cars on the Route (a location that partially inspired the Disney Pixar movie Cars). And if you’re looking for some traditional Muffler Men on Route 66, visit the Gemini Giant, Buck Atom, and the muffler man holding a hot dog.
Unfortunately, in March 2022 an accidental fire destroyed this Route 66 attraction. There are hopes to rebuild.
Frecs the Miner – Kansas Muffler Man
Address: 205 Front St, Galena, Kansas, 66739
Cost: Free to See
Hours: Always Visible