the old riddle: "What's the biggest pencil
in the United States?" Pennsylvania, get
it? But Virginia, not Pennsylvania, is the state
with a genuine big pencil, this fine example
that's about thirty feet long and made of metal.
Exactly when this
monumental writing stick was created is a matter
of debate. We've found references claiming it
was built in "early 1951," "the
late 1950s" and the "early 1960s."
Why it was made and by whom is much more commonly
agreed upon. John Campbell Findlay, former owner
of the Wytheville Office Supply store, had it
constructed as an advertising gimmick that he
hoped other business owners would copy to attract
travelers on U.S. Highway 21 (the main highway
back then) to stop in Wytheville and shop. There's
an oversized paint can just down the street,
but as far as we know, that's the only other
monument inspired by Mr. Findlay's vision.
The shop and the
big pencil were moved to its current location
in 1985, where the pencil retains its sharpness
as a Wytheville landmark.
146 West Main Street
Wytheville, VA 24382
attractions in the Wytheville area
Wrangler, August, 2004
Posted on RoadTrip America 5/06