UPDATE December 2011: The Big Indian Shop has now changed its name to “Native Views – With special respect for Native American people, and inclusive of Native peoples’ creations, we also offer local and other American made art and products.” so I’m not sure whoopee cushions and faux handcuffs are still available. The Indian is still there, though!
What right minded retro roadside attraction loving person would dare pass by this wonderful and colorful souvenir shop on Route 2 in Shelburne Falls, MA?
This has been my favorite ticky tacky gift shop along the Mohawk Trail for easily 15 years. I sometimes dream of winning the lottery, buying the place and turning the adjacent field into a fiberglass petting zoo for all of the roadside giants that have been neglected for years. Looking over them of course, and providing a wonderful photo op in the meantime, would be the Big Indian himself.
Rumored to be between 20-28 feet high, we learn (thanks to that goddess of the roadside, Debra Jane Seltzer) that he was created by Rodman Shutt who created many other giants- click here to read her details of how this one man shaped our giant roadside delights!
As you are learning I can never resist poking into a gift shop in the hopes of finding something truly wonderful and tacky to help me remember my visit. As you can see from this interior shot, I had plenty to choose from:
And at least ONE Retro Roadkid found something she liked
When I asked the gal behind the counter how long the shop had been around, she didn’t really know, but said it had been there “for a long time”. She did share that it had been under new ownership for just a little under a year, and that the current owner bought it back in the 1970′s from the folks who originally opened it.
Why the Indian theme, you may ask? Well Route 2 is also known as The Mohawk Trail, which was a Native American trade route connecting tribes all the way up to Upstate New York (obviously before it was Upstate New York!) The Mohawk Trail is now part of Route 2 which was created as one of the country’s first scenic highways, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
We came out of here with more silly gifts that we could think of, but what better way to support these roadside treasures than loading up on cedar gifts and vintage post cards? My idea of fun for sure!
There are plenty more photos of the kitschy fun found inside the Big Indian Shop on the Retro Roadmap Flickr Page – check ‘em out!
The Big Indian Shop
2217 Mohawk Trail
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
View MA – Massachusetts Retro RoadMAP in a larger map