Right Palm Up, Left Palm Down
In 1984, a ten-year-old boy encountered a mysterious 20-foot-tall fiberglass statue named Louie in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Eight years later, he spotted an identical statue in Tucson. A third sighting outside a run-down convenience store made it a trend. Thus began a scavenger hunt to discover the origins of Louie and his brethren. Only one rule applied: No searching for them on the Internet!

Right Palm Up, Left Palm Down

The Log of a Cross-Country Scavenger Hunt by Gabriel Aldaz

Meet the Characters

This page is devoted to the Muffler Men in the order that I encountered them in my scavenger hunt. The names of most statues are widely accepted, and the numbers roughly correspond to the book chapters. The map and descriptions were accurate in 2009, and are being updated in 2023 with your help! Click on the numbers on the map or the names on the right to learn more about each one.
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17 Route 66

Tall Paul

Atlanta, Illinois

Tall Paul

In 1965, Hamlet Arthur Stephens placed a statue on the roof of his restaurant: Bunyon’s in Cicero, Illinois. When he retired and shut his business in January 2003, Stephens allowed Illinois Route 66 Association preservationists to relocate the statue (renamed “Tall Paul”) to downtown Atlanta on permanent loan.

Location: Arch Street
Type: Service station attendant upper body, Bunyan lower body
Accessories: Hotdog
Spotlight: Beautifully restored Route 66 icon
Damage: While in Cicero, blown off the roof during a storm, reportedly shot with arrows, reportedly lost eye to a .45 caliber bullet
  • Tall Paul

Left: Tall Paul shortly after his move from Bunyon’s (2004). Right: The hotdog is securely bolted through the Muffler Man’s arm (2009).

2023 Update

Tall Paul is still going strong in his “new” home on Arch Street in Atlanta, Illinois. As with other Muffler Men fortunate enough to stand along Route 66, he has become quite a celebrity.

  • Tall Paul 2023

In the past 20 years, the trees have grown and a sign (covered by stickers) has been put up. Photo courtesy of Mike Curtis.