The business directory contains web pages for Route 66 businesses and other attractions.

Gemini Giant

Gemini Giant
The Gemini Giant, standing beside Route 66 outside the Launching Pad Restaurant. Photo © D. Knowles

Wilmington, Illinois

As you enter the town of Wilmington, Illinois on U.S. 66 from the east, you'll be greeted by the Gemini Giant, a former “Muffler Man” and official greeter for the Launching Pad Restaurant.

Muffler Men are twenty-plus-foot-tall figures which were once common on American roadsides in the early 1960s. Most commonly, they stood outside automotive shops, especially muffler specialty shops, where they typically held oversized car mufflers in their two outstretched hands.

Over the years, some muffler men were re-purposed for duty in other settings, the Gemini Giant being one such example. He has been fitted with a pointed helmet and he now holds a small rocket in his hands—as befits a representative of a cafe calling itself the Launching Pad.

Other Muffler Men

The former Bunyon's Restaurant. ©

There are other examples of still-standing muffler men on Route 66 and elsewhere. The best-known example is the figure which once stood in front of Bunyon's, an eatery further east in Cicero, Illinois (see photo at left). When the restaurant closed, the figure was moved to Atlanta, Illinois, where it remains on display in a public park.

Another example on Route 66 once stood outside the Lumberjack Cafe in Flagstaff, Arizona. See this vintage postcard in the University's online postcard collection.

About Gemini Giant (& Launching Pad)
Business Type: Restaurant/Cafe
Owner(s): Morey Szczecin
Address: 810 E. Baltimore St., Wilmington, IL
Web site:
Directions: On Route 66 on the east side of town.


Return to Business Directory Page