Effort launched to save famous 'Gemini Giant' along Route 66

It is a lonely landmark from old Route 66, and now, there is a new effort to save the famous "Gemini Giant."

The restaurant it watches over has closed, and giant is going up for auction in March. But a Wilmington man is trying to keep him in town.

Standing along Route 66 for nearly six decades, at 30 feet tall and 438 pounds, the "Gemini Giant" is the most recognizable landmark in Wilmington, Illinois.

The Rocket Man of Route 66 might soon be demolished. But not if Ryan Jandura can help it.

"Once I found out that there was a chance that someone wanted to take the statue or demolish it, I knew that someone had to try to save it," said Jandura.

Jandura has started a GoFundMe to save the statue and keep it in Wilmington.

The idea of just making a replica, he says, just wouldn't be the same.

"It's not just that it's a statue. It's the statue that stood the test of time," Jandura said. "It's part of my history. Now it's part of my family's history. It's part of this community's history, and you know, yeah, you could buy a replica and put it up but it's not the same."

The statue's owner is putting it up for auction on March 20. That decision set Jandura into action. He started a Facebook page two days ago and the GoFundMe on Sunday. His goal is to raise $100,000 to match the opening bid price.

"It's really just seeing everybody come together and, you know, 1400 people now and counting coming together, complete strangers and everyone wanting to help everyone wanting to do something to pitch in," Jandura said.

If he doesn't reach his fundraising goal, he says he will return all donations. But if any donations are untrackable, those will go to the Route 66 Preservation Society.