World's Largest Wren
After a fun day of Mobile Museum appearance at the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library, including community SPAM carving and grilling of World's Largest Things project ideas, the list of local attracions was growing. I heard of the Wren, and a Very Large Cinnamon Roll, and spotted a bonus World's Largest Russian Egg, too!
Created originally for WREN radio, the Wren now serves as a perky median decoration along SW Topeka Boulevard, overlooking a mildly confusing intersection. Nestled in a concrete-encircled flower bed, he's within climbing distance but doesn't appear to be very badly abused by would-be climbers.
The A 1942 photo of the old WREN building in Lawrence KS (that's where the station started) shows two baby wrens flanking the doors. The big Wren was in front of the Tonganoxie transmitter. WREN first began as 9yN at the University of Kansas in 1919, laterbecoming KFKU, then broadcasting as WREN in 1926. The first broadcast was from the back room of the bowersock Mills and Power Company, with a microphone set on a stack of empty flour sacks. The station's first function was to advertise Jenny Wren Flour. WREN moved to Topeka in 1947, and with it came the World's Largest Wren. It was secure in a little mini-park at the station during the reign of owner Alf Landon (owner from 1952 - 1981).
In 1985, the station was sold once again, with devastating effects. Non-payment of income and Social Security taxes, overdue news service contracts, leins and lawsuits caused the station to go off the air in 1987. The W.L. Wren sat atop its perch, wondiring what would become of it. When a Christian radio station purchased the building in 1991, they decided to sell off the bird as a fundraiser. Community donations made up the $1500 purchase price, with Historic Topeka Inc. buying and storing the Wren. Eventually, it was installed in its own protected perch, surrounded by a bed of color, back in the heart of Topeka.
World's Largest Wren Stats
Concrete, paint, steel armature
With its pedestal, my 5'3" head reached just about to the fattest part of his belly
1200 pounds, concrete
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