The Small Town – Thomasville, NC Population 21,354 2010 Census
The Claim To Fame – The World’s Largest Chair?
The world’s largest chair in Thomasville, North Carolina is not the world’s largest chair and hasn’t been for quite some time. But ask almost anyone in Thomasville and they will assure you that it is, indeed, the world’s largest chair. Show them a photograph of the actual world’s largest chair with a tape measure next to it and they will suggest that the tape measure is defective. Or they’ll play some semantics game centered on the exact meaning of the word chair. If all these rationalizations come up short, it’s probably a conspiracy whereby the evil folks of Gardner, Massachusetts have almost certainly bribed some official from Guinness Book of World Records or whatever government body or agency is responsible for keeping track of such things.
All of this brings to mind a very distinct phenomenon I’ve noticed while searching for small town claims to fame. When a town’s claim to fame is threatened, most citizens will cling to it until the bitter end, an overwhelming abundance of proof to the contrary be damned.
Many small towns have a claim to fame which involves a UFO or two. Once a UFO story gets a foothold in a community, look out. The perpetrators of the hoax can come forward and share all of the intricate and credible details of their fraud, but it doesn’t matter.
A runestone was “found” in Kensington, Minnesota some decades ago. This large stone with a supposedly ancient Scandinavian inscription, if genuine, would prove that the Swedes visited the area that is now Minnesota long before Christopher Columbus dropped anchor wherever it is that he dropped his anchor. A parade of experts has come forth over the years and presented a wealth of evidence that proves it is fake. A number of experts, for example, have proven that many of the words that are inscribed on the stone weren’t even used in that particular form until centuries later. Nevertheless, to this day, much of the community will argue that the stone is authentic.
Why people choose to believe such things in spite of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary is fascinating, but much too complex a topic to discuss in this brief article and is probably best examined in some later article or, even better yet, addressed by my readers. Both of them. Hi Mom and Dad.