My #30 sighting landed me in the St Louis area which has a few muffler men in the surrounding area. There used to be a Bunyan south down I-44 in Sullivan and a bunyan also stood downtown at a tire shop at one point. Today that bunyan is to the west of St Louis and there also is the shorter m man version up along old route 66 in Livingston, not to far away. This cowboy is located at Croft Trailer just south of St Louis off I-44 and used to be visible from the interstate. His history is a bit hazy but I do know before arriving at his current location he stood at a used car lot across the border in Illinois at a gas station in Belleville. Trying to find a picture of him there has proved impossible and at this point I haven’t even been able to find out the name of it or where it was located. In the late 90’s he was purchased by the guys at croft and moved to their business. Sadly this guy is a bit unsteady on his feet and he has had a few falls since his move. The first one happened sometime around 2005 and left him with smashed fingers on his right hand. So the guys at croft patched him up and mended his hand and set him back up on his platform which is attached to the edge of the roof of one of their workshops. All was well until 2009 when another storm came along and this time he ended up in pieces. His head broke off and both of his arms and today he lays pretty much where he fell over 3 years ago. The folks at croft are a busy bunch of guys so repairing the cowboy and getting him back up has taken much longer then expected although it’s still in the plans. People have offered to buy him the way he sits (or lays) but the owners are firm on keeping him and will get him up again one day. This is true with almost all muffler men owners, they don’t let their m men go easily. Muffler men rarely appear on e-bay and if one would want to own an m-man it’s not an easy task to get your hands on one. Today this one is mostly forgotten and hard to see with all the weeds and storage equipment surrounding him. He lays on his back with his head tilted at an odd angle from the body and his cowboy hat is partly smashed with pieces of it scattered around. The arms lay in a truck bed liner and the rest of him is stretched out in the weeds waiting to be remembered and one day restored. I also found the name “Tom” spray painted on the inside of his left foot, as I often say these guys have their secrets. Special thanks to Debra Jane Seltzer for the picture of the cowboy when he stood on his platform overlooking I-44 back in the day. http://www.agilitynut.com/giants/momm.html If your interested in Roadside America’s reports on this guy he is listed under Valley Park Muffler Man.
This unique bunyan version stands to the west of St Louis at Skyline Motors along I-70 and holds a big sign that says “No Job to Big”. He is a classic bunyan except he has the arm pose of an indian m man. In my two years of muffler man hunting and research he is the only one like this that I know of with a raised right hand salute like a standard indian would have. Back in the 60’s when companies purchased muffler men there were different options they could choose from and IF would combine different versions of their muffler men to meet the purchasers needs. So in this rare case someone wanted a bunyan with a salute instead of the standard palm up/palm down. There is a half wit in Lake of the Ozark’s also in MO that has the right hand salute as well, he is also one of a kind being the only half wit I know of with that arm configuration. There are a few bearded service man models out their with this raised hand salute but they arn’t technically bunyans since they don’t have the pants tucked into the top of the boots and in some cases a knit cap. One of them stood in Vista CA for many years and is now in storage in Rocky Mount, NC along with another saluting M Man. All these versions and combinations can get a bit confusing at times and we can’t forget the Mr Bendo version which looks almost the same but has a closed fist instead of open palm and normally holds an iron bar.
The history on the Foristell Bunyan is a bit hazy but it seems he once stood in front of a tire shop in St Louis during the 60’s and 70’s but was purchased sometime around 1984 and moved to the buyers property and laid on his back until 1997 when he was brought to his current location and set up behind a fence along the frontage road to the interstate. He has been here since then and badly needs a new paint job, the paint is completely gone from his eyes giving him the appearance that he has gone blind. Also again as I have mentioned in other blogs you will notice that he has cuts on his legs just below the knee. I have noticed this on many of the Bunyan versions and have yet stumble upon the reason for it.
This Bunyan is part of a small group of muffler men that are in the St Louis area. There is a cowboy to the south that has been down for a few years on his back behind a trailer business and one of the shorter Bunyan versions is to the north standing in a field along the interstate in Livingston. There also used to be a Bunyan down 44 a ways in Sullivan, MO for many years before it moved to MN and now is part of the m man collection in Rocky Mount, NC. I’ll have to do a blog on the Rocky Mount log cabin business since they seem to be collecting muffler men and have got at least 4 that I know of either in storage or at different locations in the area. Also in NC is the White Tire company who collects M Men.