Illinois boasts a bunch of roadside attractions to explore, from the World’s Tallest Catsup Bottle to the World’s Largest Rocking Chair in Casey. There is so much to see in this great state, and the World’s Largest Crucifix is high on that list. In fact, the cross is so big that you really can’t miss it.
This enormous crucifix stands tall in Effingham, Illinois, where it is known as the Cross at the Crossroads. This impressive structure is 198 feet (60 meters) tall and 113 feet (34 meters) wide. Its height stops just below 200 feet (61 meters) so that it could avoid an FAA regulation that would require the cross to feature a light at the top. Still, this impressive cross is higher than the 190-foot (58-meter) cross in Groom, Texas. That’s actually why the cross was built—to beat out the other tall crosses. At the base of the structure is a welcome center and a plaque for each of the Ten Commandments. The cross is made out of 180 tons of steel anchored into cement, and it cost more than $1 million to construct.
The cross is symbolic of travel to many who drive through this unique intersection, with several automotive blessing events taking place here. Corvettes at the Cross and a Blessing of the Bikes are both held here so that travelers can be protected on the road.
The cross is actually so iconic that it’s made its way into pop culture. Singer-songwriter Ben Folds was inspired by the giant cross and wrote a song dedicated to it. The only problem is that the musician got the name of the city wrong. He named his song “Effington” which prompted the mayor of Effingham to invite him over sometime. One of the lyrics of the song asks to be buried there and the then-mayor of Effingham, John Lange, said, “We can bury him here.” He even offered to buy the singer lunch next time he’s traveling through Illinois.
Effingham’s giant cross is an inspiration to many. Get inspired by it by taking a trip to the intersection of Interstate 57 and 70 on your way down to Normal, Illinois.