Alton, Illinois boasts an interesting claim to fame. Not only is it the Most Haunted Town in America and birthplace of Miles Davis, it was also home to the World’s Tallest Man.
Robert Pershing Wadlow was born in Alton and is the tallest man ever known to have lived. One of the town’s most popular landmarks is a life-sized statue in his honour that stands in a park opposite the Alton History & Art Museum (which sports the intriguingly ominous tagline “History outlives those who would destroy it.”)
Having an abnormality of the pituitary gland, Robert Wadlow never stopped growing. By the age of four he was already taller than I am! Just before his death from an infected blister at age 22, Robert was measured at a hair taller than 8 feet, 11 inches.
His world record as the tallest man still stands today, in part because medical science has since developed treatments for such conditions.
Also at the site is a replica of Robert’s chair that a furniture company made specially for him. Every giant knows it’s important to have a comfortable chair to curl up in, amirite?
Disclosure and acknowledgements: On this trip I was a guest of the Illinois Office of Tourism. Many thanks to Steven Glynias for snapping the photos.