Go Here: World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Kansas
Cawker City, Kansas may not be a thriving metropolis, but they've got one claim to fame: The city boasts the World's Largest Ball of Twine, and it grows bigger every day. What? I'm confused too, but I love their dedication.
When I first think of Kansas, I think of...Oh god, I actually have no idea. Well, now I'll think of the World's Largest Ball of Twine, so that fixes that. This roadside attraction in north-central Kansas is a finalist for the '8 Wonders of Kansas,' and I can't help but wonder what the other seven could possibly be.
Technically, the Cawker City twine ball is the winner for the largest pile of sisal twine (I have no idea what that is, or what other kinds of twine exist, nor do I really care) but apparently there are other gigantic twine domes in other cities in the US, so this distinction is important for legal purposes.
Farmer Frank Stoeber began winding the ball on December 24, 1953, presumably while bored during Christmas dinner with the Stoeber fam. With the help of donations from his farmer friends and neighbors, the ball soon became so large that in 1961 it was moved to it's current location, under a shelter on the side of Highway 24. Frank has since moved on to that great ball of prickly string in the sky, but Cawker City residents have kept his dream alive with the annual 'Twine-athon,' held on the third weekend of August.
Linda Clover (pictured above) is the official caretaker of the ball of twine -- yes, I am serious. On a visit to the monument, Linda will give you some twine to add to the ball, and then record the amount that you add to maintain the running record. Shockingly, the website is not updated incredibly often, but as of September 2009 the ball was recorded as weighing 19, 198 pounds and contained 7,974,454 feet of twine, which translates to 1,510.31 miles of the stuff.
The two-block downtown area of Cawker City features several paintings of the town's claim to fame by Artist Cher Heller Olson. On a related note, if you're looking for the Largest Ball of Sisal Twine Wound by One Man, you'd need to visit Darwin, Minnesota to check out his17,400 pound beast. People are so weird, it rules.
Note: All photos courtesy of our weirdo artist/traveler/kite-maker/genius friend Mary Rothlisberger.