The future of the Gemini Giant on Route 66 in Wilmington, Illinois, is a lot cloudier after it was announced it and its restaurant will be sold at auction in April.
The Bednar auctions listing notes the property will be sold “as is” but comes with a $10,000 nonrefundable deposit and a 5 percent buyer’s premium. The auction will be held at the premises at noon April 8.
Bednar noted whoever buys the property, if the minimum reserve is met, “has the right to do whatever they want with it.”
Bednar has heard city officials have been considering some kind of incentive to keep the giant and attract a new business.
City attorney Tony Graff said no formal incentive proposal has been presented, but options will be explored.
The auction company can be contacted so prospective buyers can make appointments for on-site inspections.
The Launching Pad and Gemini Giant were inducted into the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame in 2000. It long has been one of the biggest photo opportunities for Route 66 travelers.
John and Betty Korelc opened a Dairy Delite at the site in 1960. It was renamed the Launching Pad after an expansion in 1965. The Gemini Giant landed there in 1965 after John Korelc saw a Muffler Man during a restaurant convention. Most Muffler Men were cowboys or lumberjacks. Korelc had his specially made so it looked liked an astronaut. John Korelc retired in 1986.
(Image of the Gemini Giant in Wilmington, Illinois, by Sam Johnson via Flickr)