Saturday, November 7, 2009

Finally, the Robert Wadlow Statue

November is going to be all about cheap and free here at Craves, Caves, & Graves, thanks to a whopping vet bill and plenty of "doggie pacifiers" to keep a 70lb dog from running and jumping for the past two weeks. This is from last month when we went ghost hunting in Alton and finally found the Robert Wadlow Statue.


So, Keith and I go to Alton at least once a year for the ghost hunting, with various different people in our group each time. Every time, we try to find this statue, and every time we either have no directions, bad directions, or are unable to follow directions (that would be me.) You can imagine how dumb I felt as we pulled up and saw the above sign on the side of the road, one facing each direction. Beat me over the head, why don't you?


Keith, who is 6'4", has always wanted his picture taken with this life-size statue. Robert Wadlow, Alton's Gentle Giant, was born in 1918 and was 8'11.1" when he died at the age of 22 from a blood infection. He was still growing when he died. You really cannot grasp how big an almost nine foot tall person is without standing next to them (or a life size statue.) It's really amazing.

Me, awestruck. For sake of comparison, I'm 5'7".

Robert Wadlow required leg braces to walk, and had little feeling in his legs due to poor circulation. His death was caused by the leg braces rubbing a spot on his ankle raw, which led to the infection.

My size 9 (mens 7) next to his size 30s

One of my favorite stories that Luke tells on the ghost hunting tour is about Robert Wadlow's travels. In exchange for touring around the country, the International Shoe company made his shoes for free. When he stayed at hotels, people would call the desk to report a peeping tom because he was tall enough to see over the transoms. The hotels would put four beds together for him to sleep on, and he would still have to sleep diagonally.

Courtney in a replica of his chair, doing her best Edith Ann impression.

The saddest part of Robert Wadlow's story is the fact that when he died, his body was encased in concrete so that no one would dig him up and steal his bones. It's tragic that someone would have to take such pains to avoid being treated like a freak even after death. He is buried in the Alton Cemetery with a plain marker.


There, Keith finally got his picture. The Robert Wadlow Statue is located at 2800 College Ave in Alton, IL, on the campus of the SIU Dental School. You can also find a list of locations of Robert Wadlow's shoes on RoadsideAmerica.coom

This week, I leave you with a song: The Giant of Illinois by The Handsome Family.


  1. yay! This was one of my funnest trips ever! And for a size reference in the photo of keith and I next to the statue, Keith is 6'4 and I'm 5'10! Yeah, so that statue is HUGE!

    1. You look wonderfully attractive in that all-black outfit, Courtney.

  2. My favorite thing about that picture is still the fact that Keith is holding Robert Wadlow's hand.