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Frecs the Miner

Frecs the Miner, a self-made roadside giant in Galena, Kansas

If you’re a frequent road tripper, you’ve no doubt seen Muffler Men along the country’s highways and byways. But Frecs the Miner is no ordinary roadside giant.

This towering 19-foot-tall sculpture was created in the summer of 2019. Kansas Historic Route 66 Association President Renee Charles teamed up with friends including John Simon who helped with the welding to create the massive miner. Frecs, which is short for “Freckles,” was a nickname of Charles’ grandfather, who worked as a miner in the area.

This stretch of Route 66 in Kansas has a number of homages to the Pixar movie “Cars.” But you won’t find any traditional Muffler Men here. Frecs the Miner was the Kansas community’s budget-friendly answer to its lack of roadside giants. Located on the original alignment of Route 66, Frecs is one of the first attractions to greet visitors crossing the newly restored viaduct.

Plan your Visit to Frecs the Miner (Gone)

Frecs the Miner, a self-made roadside giant in Galena, Kansas
Frecs the Miner photographed in September 2021
Remnants of Frecs the Miner, a self-made roadside giant in Galena, Kansas
The remains of Frecs the Miner as of March 2023

Sadly in March of 2022, sparks flew during some routine maintenance and Frecs caught fire. As a result of the accident, the local icon was almost completely destroyed. Today, the only part of him that remains is his charred boots.

At the time, Charles said the association planned to rebuild Frecs, but only time will tell if he makes a comeback.

If you happen to be passing by the site, it’s still worth a stop. There you’ll also find Luigi’s Pit Stop, which has a variety of art pieces inspired by the Pixar movie “Cars.”

Remains of Frecs the Miner, 205 East Front Street in Galena, Kansas

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