Elwood, the World's Tallest Concrete Gnome – Ames, Iowa - Atlas Obscura
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Ames, Iowa

Elwood, the World's Tallest Concrete Gnome

Beating out all other concrete competitors, this massive garden feature's pointy hat has earned it a world record. 

Looming amid the verdant Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University, Elwood, a massive garden gnome, stands as a jovial sentry against all others who would dare challenge his title as the tallest concrete gnome in the world.

The rotund $8,000 ornament stands 15 feet tall from the soles of his boots to the tip of his telltale pointy hat, vying for the surprisingly contentious honor of largest gnome in the world. Elwood beat out the former champ, Gnome Chomsky, a mini-golf course resident in upstate New York who was thought to be the tallest garden gnome in the world.

However, an 18-foot-tall freak of kitschy nature was discovered in Poland, beating both of the American woodland giants. This European competitor was found just as Elwood was being created in a Wisconsin workshop, but unfortunately, Elwood was too far along in the design process to make him any taller. 

But all was not lost for Elwood, as the Polish gnome was found to be made of fiberglass as opposed to the Iowa gnome’s 3,500 pounds of rebar and concrete. So, his creators simply amended his title to “Largest Concrete Gnome in the World.” At least he beat Gnome Chomsky.

Know Before You Go

The gardens are not free. Admission is $9 for adults, $8.00 for seniors, and $4.50 for children ages two through 12. For a schedule of days with special admission rates, see the garden's website.