The World’s Biggest Shopping Basket

Friday, 23rd October 2009 by

Motorists taking State Route 16 through Licking County, Ohio, could be forgiven for thinking they've been at the wheel too long when they spot a giant shopping basket looming over the horizon.

Big basket

This is no highway-induced hallucination however: it's the headquarters of the Longaberger Company, famous for its handmade wooden baskets. Its founder, Dave Longaberger, was a man with a dream — and that dream included going to work in a seven-storey basket. When lesser men than Dave told him it couldn't be done, he said: "If they can send a man to the moon and bring him back home, they can build a building shaped like a basket." And he was right.

Longaberger HQ

The building cost $300 million $30 million and took more than two years to build; it was completed in December 19971. The statistics are impressive: it takes the form of a 160:1 scale model of Longaberger's top-selling Medium Market Basket, more than 60 m long and 30 m tall. The frame is made of steel, with a stucco finish cunningly designed to create a basket-weave effect (which also seems to confuse Street View's face-blurring technology!) The handles are 100 metres long and weigh 75 tons each, and are even heated to prevent ice building up in winter and falling through the glass roof. (They also create a neat shadow.) On the side of the building, replicating the brass logos on the normal-sized baskets, are giant name plates weighing 340kg each and covered in gold leaf.

Blurring Basket shadow

That's not the only big basket in these parts, however. Over in nearby Dresden2, where the Longaberger company was founded, there's a 14-metre long picnic basket, made of real maple wood. Sadly, the imagery here is not high-enough resolution to see it in all its glory (I think this is it), but you can see pictures here. And at the Longaberger Homestead, a kitsch olde-worlde village/outlet store in Frazeysburg, there's a giant apple basket. Again, the imagery isn't very good here, so be sure to check out these ground-level photos (complete with giant apples!)

Dresden homestead

Read more about the creation of the Longaberger HQ at Elevator World, or visit the company website.

  1. Sadly, Dave Longaberger had contracted cancer by the time the building was completed, and died in 1999. His ambitious plans to create further basket-shaped buildings have apparently been shelved by the next generation of Longabergers, who now run the company. ↩︎

  2. Which bills itself as Basket Village USA↩︎