The 5 Most Impressive Things Built by One Obsessive Person

#2. The Enchanted Highway


Gary Greff knew that his little town of Regent, North Dakota, had a problem. It had nothing. No industries, no historical sites, no shopping centers, no lakes, forests, mountains or statistics making it the murder capital of the Canadian border. In other words, it had no reason for anyone to visit. What it needed, he decided, were giant monster grasshoppers to terrify passing motorists.

That's right. Where some people would just shrug their shoulders and enjoy the solitude, Greff believed that there was only one way to draw people to his neck of North Dakota -- with giant whimsical folk art. So in 1991, the self-taught teacher got to work. First up -- "The Tin Family":
They're called "The Tin Family" because they're made from the corpses of entire families.

It's a perfectly wholesome, natural family enjoying their farm. King Junior is licking a face-size lollipop, while Farmer Woody surveys his crop and picks at his butt. But the tin clan were just the beginning. Greff followed up with "Theodore Roosevelt Rides Again," a sculpture so audacious, some say Teddy actually inhabits the horse's left hoof -- the one that's highest in the air.
That is actually how they passed laws back in Teddy's day.

Since then, he's completed several more projects, like "Pheasants on the Prairie":

"Geese in Flight":

"Deer Crossing":


... and of course, "A Fisherman's Dream":

Scooter Pursley via
We're just thankful that it wasn't a wet dream.

Or post-apocalyptic nightmare, depending on your feelings about enormous land-dwelling fish.

For his next project, Greff hopes to install a giant metal spider web, because apparently the world isn't terrifying enough. He also wants to open a restaurant, an arena and a water park to go with his sculptures. You might think that if the goal was to draw tourists, the water park maybe should come before the giant spider, or even that they should have just done the water park instead. But would we have featured a simple water park in an article like this? Hell no! It took a giant metal grasshopper to get our attention. The man knows what he's doing.

#1. The Orange Show Monument

Houston postal worker Jeff McKissack freakin' loved oranges. He loved oranges to the point that after retiring he spent the next 23 years creating his tribute to "nature's perfect food." And like everything on this list, his tribute defies any easy explanation or description.

Using cinder blocks, pieces of tile, fencing, tractor wheels and whatever else was lying around the neighborhood, McKissack cobbled together a winding maze of rooms, hallways, stairs and balconies wrapped around a central amphitheater in the 1960s and '70s. He then stuffed the complex with anything that had even the most tenuous connection to the orange, from farming implements to a bridal gown to an old steam engine.

Jonathan Beitler via
If you know what this has to do with oranges, please tell us, then seek psychiatric help.

Jonathan Beitler via
"That feeling of rising unease is just the zesty tang of citrus!"

And then there are the signs, with messages like "Be Smart, Drink Fresh Orange Juice," "Go Orange, Be Strong" and this one:

Vanessa Varis via
That worn part at the bottom says, "Please help me. I am unfixably fucking crazy."

All these displays, as stimulating as they are, would only have been the warmup for the main amphitheater show, which was supposed to involve robotic animals and a model steamboat.

Jonathan Beitler via
"I shall call him 'Ricky the Dragon.'"

McKissack expected that tourists would flock to the attraction from across the country, and that it would draw more visitors than Disneyland. Obviously that didn't happen, and he sadly died a few months after it opened.

"Did I mention that I was catastrophically crazy? Because I totally am."

After his death, his creation began to fall into disrepair. But in 1982, admirers and members of the outsider art community rallied around it, forming the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, which also maintains the Beer Can House, holds an annual art car parade and uses the Orange Show for indie band concerts and wild parties. But mostly it just marvels at the life of a man who really REALLY LOVED ORANGES.

Jonathan Beitler ia

Jonathan Beitler ia

For more impressive yet depressing feats, check out The 8 Least Impressive Guinness World Records and 6 People With Amazing Abilities (That Are Totally Useless).

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