Wednesday, June 25, 2014

#60: Robert Wadlow Statue

The tallest man in recorded history is honored here in Alton, Illinois. Despite of his short life, the man has brought a great legacy, not just to his hometown but Madison County and Illinois. To this day, the Guinness Book of World Records lists him as the 'World's Tallest Person'. When I was a student at LeClaire School in Edwardsville, we learned a lot about Madison County, as well as Wadlow. A distant relative of mine, Steve 'Pete' Vazzi (now in his 90s), recalled that he saw Wadlow sitting in his chair at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Sufjan Stevens sang about him, a golf course in Alton is named for him, and there are many statues of him (one in Copenhagen). Greg Maddux once told Guinness that he did a report on him in school. 
  • Known as 'Alton's Gentle Giant'
  • Born and lived most of his life in Alton in 1918; died in 1940 in Manistee, Michigan.
  • He was a traveling celebrity in the 1930s, as part of the Ringling Brothers Circus act, and he made several appearances at festivals around the country.
  • His growth was caused by hyperplasia of his pituitary gland, which resulted in an abnormally high level of growth hormone.
  • Wadlow passed away at age 22 of a foot infection, which was caused by an ill-fitting leg brace he wore on tours. 
  • When he was in 1st grade, his height was 5'7". He was still growing up until his death.
Robert Wadlow statue

Top of the cake

Back side of the cake

A close-up of the Robert Wadlow statue

A replica of Robert Wadlow's chair

Robert Wadlow Statue on FB
Robert Wadlow Wikipedia link

2809 College Avenue, ALTON, IL, 62002
Cake artist: Screwed Arts Collective

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