Most West Virginians Have Never Heard Of This Fascinating Quirky Museum
When it comes to off-beat roadside attractions, this often overlooked museum could probably be at the top of the list in The Mountain State. It’s located in Charleston on bustling Kanawha Boulevard only a stone’s throw from the Patrick Street Bridge – yet most people never see it.
The teeny tiny museum is an iconic reminder of the past here in West Virginia, and all over the country for that matter.
This historic memorial/museum is a quintessential reminder of our childhood and of days gone by.
The quirkiness of the museum actually begins with the size of the place. In fact, you're looking at the whole building in the photo below.
It's a perfectly round structure with window boxes filled with memorabilia about a classic restaurant chain founded here in West Virginia in 1947.
And high atop the red spire sits a 7-foot-8-inch statue of its mascot and the museum's subject matter: Big Boy. In 1952, The Parkette picked up the Big Boy franchise and was soon renamed Shoney's Big Boy.
Shoney's Big Boy actually got its start here in Charleston in 1947 under the name of The Parkette. Hence, the big letters PARKETTE that wrap around the roof of this tiny museum.
Inside the window boxes are even more reminders of the past.
Big Boy memorabilia and information about Shoney's Big Boy creator, Alex Schoenbaum, line the boxes for all to see and reminisce about the rich history of the classic restaurant many of us grew up with.
A few menus reflect early renditions of not only the signature items served at the family restaurant...
but also prices from a bygone era we're sure to never see again.
If you want a real blast from the past, seeing this old comic book may do the trick.
Shoney's Big Boy distributed the comic books for free at each of the restaurants.
At its peak in 1978, Shoney's had more than 1,300 restaurants in 34 states.
, in 2016, there were 150 remaining Shoney's in 17 states. But there's ONLY ONE Shoney's Big Boy Museum...and it's a fascinating piece of West Virginia history. Have you see it?
Shoney’s Big Boy Museum is located at
1600 Kanawha Blvd. W, Charleston, WV 25387. It’s open 24 hours a day and admission is free.
Love checking out interesting and unusual museums?
Here are 9 more of them found right here at home in West Virginia!
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