The Gemini Giant is a 28-foot tall muffler man who stands outside the Launching Pad restaurant in Wilmington, Illinois. He weighs in at a whopping 438 pounds: not counting his base of the giant 80-foot rocket he holds in his hands!
This space man is one of many muffler men spread throughout the United States.
The Wilmington Gemini Giant has gone through some rough times, with an uncertain future, over the past few years. The Launching Pad closed down in 2010. With the drive in restaurant and muffler man statue for sale no one knew when, or if, it would reopen and what would happen to the Route 66 icon.
In 2016, the restaurant went to auction, but failed to sell because the reserve wasn’t met.
Though the Launching Pad restaurant closed, the space-age muffler man statue still stood and drew crowds of road-trippers looking for roadside attractions on Route 66. But, with the business closed, and no potential buyers in site, the fate of the big green man was still up in the air and no one knew how much longer he’d keep standing.
Luckily, in 2017 the Illinois Gemini Giant’s fate changed: Holly Barker and Tully Garrett bought the business and decided to restore the building and keep the famous mascot.
The Launching Pad reopened on April 16th, 2018 as a Route 66 Welcome Center and gift shop. The couple has plans to fully restore the kitchen and bring back the restaurant in the coming years. But one thing is for certain: The Gemini Giant muffler man in Wilmington, Illinois is here to stay!
Photos of the Gemini Giant in 2007:
Here are a few photos of the Gemini Giant and Launching Pad restaurant from my first trip there back on July 13, 2007. I visited again, after the restaurant closed, on a very quick Illinois road trip in 2010 where I also visited the Leaning Tower of Niles and the Agricultural Crash Monument.
Gemini Giant at the Launching Pad Restaurant
Location: 810 E Baltimore St, Wilmington, IL
Cost: Free to see. Lunch/dinner extra.
Hours: Always visible.
Date: April 9, 2010