Wilmington remains the home for Gemini Giant

A GIANT MOVE—For 60 years the Gemini Giant as stood over Route 66, becoming one of the most photographed attractions on the Mother Road. That was until 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when the city crew lifted and hauled it into storage. It's future home will be 10 blocks to the west at a roadside attraction at the entrance to the South Island Park

Photo by Eric Fisher

Eric Fisher

The iconic Gemini Giant will stay on Route 66 in Wilmington after being auctioned off earlier today with a high bid of $275,000.

The Joliet Area Historical Museum placed the winning bid just before the 10 a.m. cutoff, and then announced that the 30-foot tall statue would be donated to the City of Wilmington. 

The popular Route 66 attraction has stood 60 years next to the closed Launching Pad Drive-in. It took just 60 minutes for the city crew, with guided assistance from experts with the American Giants Museum, to lift the 438-pound giant and place it on a trailer to be hauled away for storage.

In a press release Wilmington Mayor Ben Dietz said the giant will be resurrected at a future roadside attraction at the entrance to the South Island park. The new entrance, which will shift east closest to the former VanDuyne Motel, will also have a Route 66 monument, parking lot and walking trail.

“I cannot begin to thank everyone in the community and around the world for your support in helping to preserving this iconic piece of history,” Dietz said in the press release. “I wanted to highlight the massive effort from our local VFW Post and Ryan Jandura with the GoFundMe team for sharing the story of the Gemini Giant and what it means to our community.”

The high bid comes with an 18% buyers premium which would mean to total paid will be $324,500. The payout was made possible through a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.