Thursday, March 4, 2010

Do the White Thing: Chicopee, Massachusetts' Big White Guy




A tall, nattily-attired roadside giant greets you as you exit the Massachusetts Turnpike for Route 291 in Chicopee, Massachusetts, near Springfield. Some checking on the always helpful roadsideamerica.com informs us that in a former life, this gent was an Uncle Sam from a Ford dealership who was given a new, ivory-colored wardrobe and a change of venue in front of the Plantation Inn, whose catchphrase is "Southern Hospitality in New England." And what, may I ask, could be more hospitable than this Kentucky colonel sublimely grinning and giving you a friendly "Howdy" the minute you get off the Mass Pike? One might argue that pre-Civil War southern plantations aren't the best metaphor for hospitality, but I digress. It's hard to tell if Big White Guy is really the Plantation Inn's mascot, though, as there is no mention of him on their website (not capitalizing on such a draw is a marketing faux paux of no small order). In the mood to bowl a few frames? The Chicopee Lanes next door adds to the eccentric retro roadside greatness. If you think this place awesome, all we can say is you got that white.

9 comments:

wendyvee said...

He's awesome! I've never seen him before .... and wouldn't have taken him for an "ex-Sam" :)

Viewliner Ltd. said...

INSANE! But never-the-less great Americana. Paint the suit black, put a beard on him and you got Abe Lincoln.

Mod Betty / Retro Roadmap said...

what is that space ship shaped (3x fast!) building in the background? The bowling alley? That would be cosmic bowling for sure!

Gunnar and Sherry said...

I think that kooky round building is a banquet hall affiliated with the Plantation Inn, and the bowling alley is connected on the other side. Remind me to book my next banquet/bowling tournament there!

Mod Betty / Retro Roadmap said...

don't forget to invite us!

Jeffery Blackwell said...

This is Bowie's Thin White Duke, no doubt.

Susan said...

I was in this same spot a month ago with my hubby - such a beautiful and mysterious place. Great photos here. the big white guy looks absolutely lovely!

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Betty: The invitations are at the engravers as we speak!

Jeffrey: Ha! I guess you'd call this place a Bowie-alley!

Susan: Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The Plantation Inn was the Shine Inn when it was built in the early sixties.I had two friends in the seventies,one of whom had a pickup truck,who would steal the dumbest things including a concrete trash bin from McDonald's. One of them wanted to take the man from the Ford dealer in Springfield.When somebody asked him how he was going do that he said he would untie his shoes.