If you have driven through Pahrump recently, you may have noticed something missing form their skyline. The “Home Giant,” or “The Green Giant” as locals knew him, used to stand alongside Nevada State Route 160 greeting visitors as they entered town from Las Vegas. However, a few years ago he abruptly vanished without a trace. What happened to this smiling giant?
The story actually begins in 1965 when Texaco came up with a new marketing campaign of adding a company mascot to their service stations. The “Big Friend” was a larger than life fiberglass repairman who was going to greet all patrons of Texaco stations with a friendly wave and smile. The Big Friend was designed by sculptor Sasha Schnittman, and International Fiberglass was contracted to begin mass producing them.
For reasons unknown, Texaco abruptly changed its mind on the Big Friend campaign and ceased production of them and ordered all of the 300 already installed at gas stations to be destroyed. By 1967, all but four of them were. Our own Pahrump Green Giant was one of those four that survived the pogrom.
He originally stood at a Texaco station in Las Vegas somewhere along Boulder Highway, according to usagiants.com. Somehow or other, he avoided destruction until he was purchased by Jack Stanton in 1981 for the substantial sum of $18,000 and was moved out to Pahrump. The original hat was replaced with the Robin Hood styled one and he was repainted a brighter green, orange, and white to complete his transformation into the Green Giant we have come to know and love.
The Green Giant was erected on the then edge of town at 1400 S. Highway 160, with a new sign and new look. For the next thirty years, that is where he remained, until 2012 when the mobile home business he advertised went out of business. The land went into foreclosure and fell into disrepair over the next year.
Eventually the Giant was torn down and relocated to the Pahrump landfill, where he was to be salvaged for scrap metal. While his exterior is sculpted fiberglass, he had a heavy metal spine and other metallic support beams inside making him quite heavy. He had to be gutted and dismembered in the process of being taken down and transported to the landfill. There was enough of an outcry from the community for the salvage yard to change their plans. No one wanted to see a beloved town landmark scrapped, so he was temporarily stored in a container at the landfill while other arrangements were worked out.
Thankfully, something was worked out with the Pahrump Valley Museum, and his mutilated but recognizable remains were deposited in the open air lot behind the museum in December 2013. The Green Giant bided his time there over the next two and a half years in a state of disrepair until the museum sold him to a restoration company that specializes in repairing and collecting fiberglass statues.
As of last Monday, The Green Giant was hauled away to Illinois to be restored to his original, pre-green state. American Giants, the new owners of The Green Giant, began as a hobby based around finding old “Muffler Men” and repairing them and learning about their unique histories along the way. It grew into a website in 2013 and now a YouTube show in its second season. Undoubtedly, our Green Giant will be the feature of a future episode once his restoration is complete. They posted a few photos of the Green Giant being loaded up on Instagram.
It is a wonderful turn of events for a local icon whose fate did not look promising. To the nostalgic types like myself, it should be comforting to know that our Green Giant will go on to experience a new life and be treated with the respect he deserves, hopefully ending up alongside some of his long lost siblings. The Green Giant will not be returning to Pahrump, unfortunately, but he will live on!