Thomasville Chair, Fit for Paul Bunyan

Big Chair in Thomasville, North Carolina

A man looking at the “Big Chair” in Thomasville. Image courtesy
of the UNC-Chapel Hill Library.

On January 9, 1951, the cornerstone of the “World’s Largest Chair” was laid in downtown Thomasville. The purpose of the chair was to recognize the significant role that Thomasville, then home to Thomasville Furniture, and the entire foothills region played in the furniture industry.

The big chair actually wasn’t Thomasville’s first. That monument was built in September 1922, and at 16 feet, six inches tall, was fabricated by Thomasville Furniture Company from the materials it took to make 100 normal chairs.

A victim to the elements, the wooden structure was scrapped in 1936, and it wasn’t until the formation of local chamber of commerce in 1948 that interest in reviving the roadside landmark was revived. A team of designers drew up plans, and the decision was made to build this giant chair out of concrete and steel.

A Winston-Salem company fashioned a steel skeleton, which was covered with a wire mesh outlining the design and topped with a half-inch layer mixture of cement and granite. That in turn was painted to make the chair look like furniture.

The sculpture took six months to complete and today stands proudly at 30 feet tall.

Visit: See the “World’s Largest Chair” at the corner of Main Street and Highway 109 in Thomasville. For other over-sized attractions across the Tar Heel state, be sure and see this great list from our friends at VisitNC.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.