If you’ve ever driven I-35 between Oklahoma and Texas, you’ve probably seen this roadside attraction. After all, it is just a pawn meant to lure you off the highway: the Giant Horse Chess Piece in Gainesville, Texas.
The Giant Horse Chess Piece, also known as the Brick Chess Knight, was built in 1981 by bricklayer John Groves. Groves came from Canada to Texas to help a friend out. His friend, ranch owner E.T. “Ernie” Chrustawka, wanted something elaborate built to mark the end of his ranch. They came up with the idea to create a horse. Read more about the story behind the horse here.
The 30-foot tall horse head is made from approximately 8,000 antique bricks salvaged from a Chicago fire and steel I-beams for support. The work is meant to resemble a chess piece, inspired by Chrustawka’s company, Check Mate Quarter horses.
Across from the horse is another object: a giant brick castle, which mimics pawns and rooks in a game of chess.
Whether you’re driving to Oklahoma or from, driving day or knight, you have to check this Texas roadside attraction out. The two roadside attractions are situated at the end of a ranch on the service road adjacent to I-35 in Gainesville. There’s a spot to pull your car over and a sign that says, “visitors welcome.”
If you’re looking for more local roadside attractions on I-35, be sure to also look for Glenn Goode’s Big People, the big spurs, the Atomic Candy muffler man heads, the Chairy Orchard, and the Big Pink Pig Smoker.
Giant Horse Chess Piece
Address: I-35 Frontage Rd, Gainesville, TX 76240
Cost: Free to See
Hours: Always Visible