Roadside Weirdness

Eyesores or Art or What?

 

 

With Pointless Reflections by D. "Mullet Man" Boudillion

 

 

Updated 31 March 2009

 

   Introduction

In the process of tracking down and visiting all the places I write about, I do quite a bit of driving around.  And I've begun to notice there is a lot of  really weird, almost fun, and absolutely funky stuff cluttering up the roadside - all selling something.  I never used to notice it much - its to prevalent perhaps - but lately my eyes have been opened to its glory:  and once this happens, you can't stop seeing it everywhere.  Roadside Weirdness.  Oversize oddball icons that sell, sell, sell.  Not that I can ever recall buying a used car because a 30 foot fiberglass Indian was in the lot - but you never know what the future might bring.  Anyway, enjoy the pics.  I'll be updating this section whenever I see a worthy shrine of roadside culture (or anything else that catches my eye).  Feel free to email your comments and pics and of Massachusetts Roadside Oddities - I'll be glad to post them. 

 

   Day of the Llama

March 28, 2009 - Northborough: As you probably know by now I am stalked by llamas.  Why you ask?  No doubt they are envious of my luxuriant mullet. 

 

  

We are llamas.  We stare.                                         We envy your mullet.

 

Another llama-intense day ... stop staring and get your own dang mullets! 

 

   Santa & his Dirty Elves

April 21, 2007 - Route 27/225 Westford: Welcome to the Perma-Santa display.  It's all Santa, all year!  And bonus! - its all complaining letters from the neighbors to the editor about it all year long too!  By the way, the post and chain fence is for your protection. 

 

This Santa is clearly a spanker - arm at the ready - and apparently peeps in second story windows too.  He has his own way of finding out who's naught or nice, and deals with them accordingly.  Feel free to write the editor of the Westford Eagle about if you must - its not like you have anything else to do!  (Roger that, Roger!)

 

  

This Santa stays up all year long.  It makes the neighbors mad. 

 

Weird house this.  Used to be the old Irish America club until it sold and someone stuck a second story on it and planted Saint Nick outside as a distraction.  This place was so Irish even the building would get drunk (hence the post and chain fence). 

 

Just down the street this little renegade from Santa's redneck workshop popped up on the side of the road to give you all a cheery gob-smacked wino-smile!  Merry Christmas, Westford!

 

  

This little fellow lives down the street in the dirt. 

 

   It Rained Weird Today

April 7, 2007 - Route 9 West Holy Lack of Good Taste!  I feel like it rained weird today all over the roadside - Tacky American Weird:

 

The Way Cool Bus

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This bus is way cool, man, and lest you - Mr. Brittle Intellectual - think otherwise, it even says "WAY COOL" on the front.  So you know.  And there are these little dancing figures painted on the side to show you - Mr. Square - just how plastic your whole scene is. 

 

  

Our bus is Stupid "Way Cool"

 

The Burger Castle

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I don't know what medieval planet you live on, but where I'm from a REAL Burger King lives in a real Castle - like this one!  They are so real that some prissy food eating club, the Chaine des Rotisseurs**, meets there and eats!  (Meats and eats!  Get it?!!!!)

 

**Crown me with a Royal Guild of Meat Roasters!

 

But seriously, Leicester, Massachusetts has a long and storied Arthurian history.  For instance, there was the time when Lancelot whipped Galahad's ass at darts in the Camelot Room.  And Bors power-jacked his '72 Gran Torino all over the parking lot when he graduated from Leicester High in 1980.  Whoo-hoo!

 

The "Camelot Room"

Doing jello shooters since 1950

 

The Doris Wishman Nudist Temple

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I weep for things I never knew.  Like the drive-in.  Let me explain - Art is best experienced in context of its native environment.  And no Art is better experienced then Doris Wishman's Art in the native environment of the drive-in.  What Art you may ask, you cultureless slug?  Nude on the Moon, Diary of a Nudist, Blaze Starr Goes Nudist, Behind the Nudist Curtain.  Genius!  Genius! 

 

Whatever happened to Gigi Darlene?

 

The Statue of Liberty Tax-Preparation

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Viva la France!  You honored us with the Statue of Liberty because of our values and principles, and we then turn on ourselves and trivialize these same values for a quick tax-return buck.  This costume clad creature was spotted shilling on Route 9, natch. 

 

I mock America and its Values

 

   Of Moose & Mormons

April 22, 2006 - Palmyra, New YorkOh my heck!  Sometimes vacation plans can go badly awry.  Science has long warned us: no mixing sightseeing and Mormons.  Foolish me!  Passing through Palmyra I took a day to see the sights.  Everywhere I went they tried to convert me.  Like really hard, man.  By the end of the day my poor mullet was spinning with the polygamous wonder of Joseph Smith, and I found myself in a Mormon Gift Store buying the Mormon Action Figure "Moroni Burying Gold Plates".  (Scurv Dawg bought a Lamanite Warrior!)  I suddenly felt interested in Multi Level Marketing schemes for the first time in my life.  I began to distrust my mullet.  Clearly my spirit was at the baptismal breaking point. 

 

Thank the Lard for Captain Moose! 

 

"And it came to pass that as I stumbled out onto Main Street He raised his majestic antlered head above his King Cab, and said, "Dude?"  "Flip this!"  And lo!  It came to pass that Scurv bought me some beer and I felt much better the next day."  (Book of the Moose, Chapter 3, Verses 1-2)

   

Roadside Americana Saves the Day!

Warning! - The Mormon LSD LDS Church thinks I should cut my mullet and like totally be a Mormon already - like really really bad!  In fact, there're so green Jell-O over the idea, they made the all-time try-to-convert-me record of FIVE conversion attempts in ONE day.  Fetch that!!  But in all modesty, I would make an awesome Mormon - all self-righteous as s**t and in your face about it. 

 

 

 Me and my mullet: FU!

 

But seriously, on April 22, 2006, a full court conversion attempt was made on me at each one of the following "sightseeing" locations: 

 

 

     

Smith Cabin                                             Smith Farmhouse                                 Grandin Building

 

 

              

Sacred Grove Conversion Welcome Center

Hill Cumorah Conversion Welcome Center

(The rotunda is where they try to convert you.)

 

And I'm STILL not a Mormon.  Maybe you shouldn't have offended my mullet. . .

  

   Wide Load

October 2, 2005 - Route 495 WestfordOk, you've just bought a hot-tub.  Nice.  But how to get the dang thing home?  Obviously, delivery was not an option with these folks - rather, they slapped the thing on the roof of their minivan with a couple of bungees and raced home on Route 495 at top speed.  In fact, it was all I could do to keep up with them to get the stupid pictures!

 

Mini-van = Mini-brain?

 

First spotted when they passed me with a hot-tub on the roof.  Its wider then the minivan, and heavy as heck.  Couldn't help but notice its only held on with a few bungee cords. 

 

"If we drive real fast we'll get home before it falls off!"

 

Lots of crap on my windshield.  Frankly, I'm disgusted. 

 

Should I be following this close?

 

I hung right on their bumper furiously taking pictures.  I hope you're proud of me - this is my art, and I take it seriously.  Very seriously. 

 

   The Lonely Shrine

April, 8 2005 - Mine Road, Croton Falls, NYNow I don't know about y'all, but when I'm out looking to kick alien ass on lonely backwoods roads, I expect alien encounters, not weird shrines.  My mullet will 'splain exactly what happened:

 

"Ok, so we're all over dis reservoir road lukin' fer da space aliens 'n' we turn down mine road an its all dark 'n' stuff 'n' we got our crowbars ta beat da space aliens wif 'n' i turns da truck 'rounst 'n' suddenly we lik see dis weird glow 'n' stuff 'n' Scurv Dawg sez stop 'n' we stops 'n' its lik dis weird shrine dat wasn't yonder jest a sec ago 'n' we're lik all freaked out 'n' stuff ... i shat yew not."

Weird Shrine on Mine Road

WTF?

For those hopeless souls without mullets: We drove by the edge of a meadow and there wasn't anything there.  We turned around less then 50 yards down the road, and suddenly it was there all lit up right at the edge of the road.  Right out in the middle of nowhere at night.  It didn't look like a "car accident" memorial, rather it looked like a neo-pagan altar.  On the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.  Damn those neo-pagan space-aliens.

 

   Cowboy Down!

November 2, 2004 - Littleton CommonThese Righteous Dudes were spotted in the corner of Route 119 & Route 110 tellin' it like it is.  I'd like to make an outrageous comment or two, but there's just no upstaging those signs.  Congratulations, brothers, you rock!  (Photo courtesy of a reader.)

 

Littleton voted Kerry - coincidence?

 

   Littleton's Nervous Sheep

December 2, 2003 - Route 2A Littleton:  Like most people, I carry a camera with me in the hopes of getting a good picture of a couple of sheep joyriding a Toyota.  This paid off big-time the other day - and better yet, it was three of 'em, not just a couple.  That's like a clown car of sheep!

 

 

First sighted passing Pickard's Farm

 

 

Ah, now we see its 2 sheep!

 

 

Bumper tied on with wire.

 

  

In your face, baby!  We rule!

 

Notice the look on this sheep's face.  How exactly do they get these smug expressions?  Do they practice in front of mirrors?  And why are they always looking at me?  Sheep think they're so great.  (Also, I saw a chipmunk eating a bagel at Dunkin' Donuts later in the day.  Coincidence?)

 

   The Bedroom Factory

September 7, 2003 - Route 78 Orange:  This loomed out of the fog at me way to early on a Sunday morning.  What you need to know here is that Orange has the highest - and hopefully only - incest rate in Massachusetts.  I thought locating The Bedroom Factory in Orange was going a bit above and beyond common decency.  Or maybe its a homegrown industry.  Either way, I shuddered.  And so should you.

 

The Bedroom Factory

hidden shame

 

 

The Bedroom Factory

sleepovers?

 

Notice that the silhouette of the factory on the sign is the silhouette of the factory the sign is on?  And what's that minivan doing outside at 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning?  A sleepover at The Bedroom Factory?  ... Dunno.  The whole freekin' thing creeps me out.

 

   The Big Indian

August 23, 2003 - Route 2A Buckland:  I would like to call this place a tourist trap, but I didn't see anyone from Iowa falling into pits or snared by ropes.  Alas.  What I did see is this one mutha Big Indian.  If this dude were any bigger, he'd be stomping Tokyo.  However, you have to wonder what genius thought up the idea to hawk Asian-made knick-knacks and "souvenirs" in eastern New England with an icon of a plains Indian in full ceremonial regalia.  Is there a connection?

 

 

The Big Indian

the sign tells you he's big!

 

And, for any geniuses who find this quaint, there is also a fiberglass teepee with plexiglas windows, and a little doghouse-teepee for fido.  Now, call me unpleasantly observant, but the Indian is just too big to fit in the teepee.  This bothered me so much I left a note on the shop door detailing my concerns regarding the situation.  I suggest you do the same.  In the future I hope we will see a teepee big enough for the Indian. 

Fiberglass Teepee or Cement SnoCone?

 

      

Which way to Donner's Pass?

 

 

   The Old Buffalo

August 23, 2003 - Route 2A Shelburn:  I felt really bad for this buffalo.  Horn twisted off, sad expression, pathetic Billy Joel goatee.  And that sign - "Keep off the Buffalo."  What kind of self respecting Monarch of the Plains needs a keep off sign?  Is nothing sacred?  This buffalo encapsulates the degradation of all that was ever noble, majestic, and native to this land. 

 

This sad reminder of the insatiable bloodlust of eightieth century buffalo hunters can be seen at one of those Indian stands on Route 2A - you know, where white people sell "T.V. Indian" accessories from Asia to other white people.  I pray for the day that all sheet metal buffalo rise up and trample the oppressor!!!

 

The Old Buffalo

"I am sad"

 

   The Clam Box

August 17, 2003 - Route 9 Brookfield:  Brookfield is out in the boonies of Central Mass.  But Route 9 flexed its magic, and behold! a clam box appeareth on the roof!  While Scurv Dawg went in to get some clams to go, I hung out in the car and provided apparently unlimited entertainment value to some old codger in the window.  Were he the type to talk to his wife, I'm sure he would have said something like, "Martha, I am finding unlimited entertainment value watching that bored man sit in his car." 

 

What The Clam Box is doing so far from the ocean, I can't imagine.  And why were the patrons all elderly?  Could they be prematurely aged by Route 9?

 

The Clam Box: Calling all Seniors

(that's Scurv Dawg in the hat)

 

   The Par 3 Golf Ball

August 2, 2003 - Route 138 Raynham:  What could be better than a bucket of balls to whack around?  And for only $2?  My, my.

 

There are actually two Big Golf Balls teed up on brick pedestals at the edge of this strip mall (the driving range is behind the mall), but I liked this particular example best.  Its an esthetic choice based on about 15 years of golf ball judging tournaments.  So my judgment therein is quite sound - and you can trust me on this. 

 

Big Balls on Route 138

one tough town

 

   The Milk Bottle

August 2, 2003 - Route 138 Raynham:  There is something special about Route 138 in Raynham as you near Taunton.  Maybe its just the simple fact that you simply aren't in Taunton yet.  And that's nice.

 

Brother, this is one big milk bottle.  Built around the base of the bottle is a restaurant called ... The Milk Bottle.  I was surprised by that too.  When I stopped in the parking lot and took pictures I could see people at the window seats eating breakfast.  I tried to get them to wave and say "eggs."  But they kept pretending they couldn't see me gesturing wildly from the parking lot at them.  What? - its "more normal" to eat in a milk bottle than to take pics in a parking lot? 

 

 

Raynham's Big Jugs

get jiggy with 'em

 

   The Big Indian

July 27, 2003 - Route 2A Shirley:  There is something that always gets to me when I see the Big Indian.  Is it a laugh or cry situation?  Who knows, but this much I do know: only a goof would demean Native American culture by using a 30 foot tall fiberglass Indian icon to sell used cars - or sell anything for that matter. 

 

That said, there is some method to the madness.  For one thing, its located on the old Mohawk Trail.  For another, it was originally placed there to advertise the Mohawk Club - a bad band and worse booze kind of a place.  The Mohawk Club literally collapsed when Fort Devens was decommissioned and the soldiers left.  I never visited the "Mohawk Club" - there were rumors back then that if you fell on the floor you would never get up again.  Because they were that sticky with crud.  Or so they said back then. 

 

After the Mohawk Club snuffed it, they put in a light, stuffed the place with more old junk, and reopened as the Mohawk Gift & Antique Shop - as if it were different somehow.  I never went to the gift shop - and neither did anyone else it seems - and it folded rapidly.  From there some local Einstein had the brilliant idea that the parking lot would be a convincing place to sell used cars.  And so it is.  And, inspiringly, through all the changes the Big Indian has stood noble, proud, rooted in place.  Perhaps his boots are stuck to the floor.

 

  

The Big Indian Sells Used Cars

why the nazi salute?

 

 

  

Old Mohawk Club/Mohawk Gift Shop

 

From MM: I recall that the Mohawk blew over in a storm years ago, and local merchants pitched in and raised cash to put the Indian back on his feet.  I think they had to put a new face on him....   It's kinda funny the thing was actually down at one point but was restored ... this ain't the Colossus Of Rhodes!!!   I had been to the Mohawk in it's glory days, I think "a face full of chair" was on the menu.  (You can use the joke, but don't credit me!)

 

From JL: Just a quick giggle note, while living in Shirley, I was told of a story that a bunch of hooligans stole the giant Indian as a prank, I was also told it made the newspapers, I believe it was returned after a week of who knows what, now that's good entertainment.
 

From BH: I am not sure of when the Mohawk club shut down but the Indian may have showed up either after the Mohawk Club was out of business or on it's last legs. The Indian was originally at Bensons Wild Animal Farm in Hudson, NH. That closed down in 1989 and Stanley NcNiff, owner of the Mohawk club, bought the Indian and a live buffalo. I don't know where the buffalo ended up but it did live behind the Mohawk for a few years.  While I never went to the Mohawk much as a paying customer, I can attest to the sticky floor. At one time I worked part time (early 70's) for McNiff (he is/was really big into real estate) and his office was in the club and I also used to go there often as part of the ambulance crew. When Devens was open things got real exciting the Friday night after military payday.

 

From PC: I ran across your article about the Indian statue at the old Mohawk Club in Shirley, Massachusetts and thought I'd clarify and expand the information you have posted there.

When Benson's Wild Animal farm went out of business, Stan McNiff bought the Indian and a buffalo. The buffalo kept getting loose and we would borrow a horse trailer from Barney Blood at Blood Farm (real name, real place) - the Blood family had been butchers in Groton for generations. We would call Dr. Flinkstrom the nice veterinarian in Lunenburg, and he would come down with a tranquilizer dart, sedate the poor animal, and we would guide him into the cart before he fell asleep and cart him home. Stan finally got tired of the buffalo getting loose, and leery of the financial damages that might befall him if the animal hurt someone or damaged property, so in the middle of the night, the buffalo was shot and buried on land that lay between Great Road and Little Turnpike Road - "the gravel pit" everyone called it. RIP buffalo.

Actually, the Mohawk Club was sold in the early - mid 1980s to some folks who couldn't make a go of it. McNiff foreclosed the mortgage. He never re-opened the club. It was long gone before there was even any talk of closing Fort Devens.

That darned Indian was not politically incorrect when it was erected. It was a matter of pride for McNiff who used Mohawk in the name of many of his businesses. The apartment complex had previously been a motel ... It was the Mohawk Village. The auto dealership he began in the 1970s to sell inexpensive used cars, and then rebuilt wrecks was and still is Mohawk Village Motors.  His Cessna airplane was owned by Mohawk Aviation Inc.  He was an excellent marketer, and as much as the local residents may have hated that darned Indian, it was a great roadside advertising gimmick.

McNiff was in many businesses under the umbrella McNiff Enterprises. I once saw a man come into McNiff's office looking for a horse trailer. Stan got on the phone and within half an hour he had found the horse trailer for the old man. Stan made no profit or commission from finding what the man was looking for.

McNiff's office was a bit of an old fashioned general store where locals felt free to come, sit, have a cup of coffee and converse - while the employees of McNiff's numerous businesses worked around them to get their tasks accomplished.

McNiff was an eccentric. He was also brilliant and was a self made man. Everyone who ever met him has a story about Stanley McNiff.  May he rest in peace.


 

 

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