Wilmington’s iconic Gemini Giant, which has stood tall for decades outside the restaurant The Launching Pad, along the Route 66 corridor was a wildly popular piece of the State of Illinois’ tourism Rose Bowl Parade float. Unfortunately, the landmark’s future may be in jeopardy.
The Launching Pad restaurant, owned by 51-year old Holly Barker, has been on the sales block for months. The Joliet Historical Museum was determined to buy the property – including the Gemini Giant – to turn it into a Route 66 Welcome Center. The property is along the “First 100 Miles” of the Route 66 corridor. The money was set to come from a grant from the state of Illinois. Those grant dollars were delayed, and when they did come, Barker chose not to sell the property.
In the meantime, the property’s owner has been trashing her property, with broken glass scattered over the parking lot, and even an old juke box sitting in the lot. The city of Wilmington has issued Barker two ordinance violations, but no criminal charges have been filed since the damage is on property Barker owns.
In the meantime, the fate of The Launching Pad and the beloved Gemini Giant is not known.