The Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ: Hailed as the most visited tourist attraction in all of Groom, Texas (pop. 574), the 190-foot white cross is visible from I-40 in the Texas Panhandle for a good 20 minutes as you’re driving, so huge is this audacious tribute to the Sweet Baby Jesus. The cross was built in 1995, a time when apparently there were billboards advertising pornography just blanketing the landscape along the old Route 66. To balance out all that wickedness, a structural engineer from Pampa named Steve Thomas constructed the cross made of 1,250 tons of square tubed steel on donated land as a nod to the more pious motorists traveling on the Western edge of the Bible Belt. Now, some 1,000 people visit the cross every day and an estimated 6 million visitors have made the pilgrimage to the 10-acre site. The land around it also hosts statues that pay tribute to the stations of the cross, as well as the 10 Commandments and an anti-abortion memorial. Initially, Thomas wanted the cross to be 300 feet tall — but, according to a report last year on Amarillo.com, any structure over 200 feet would summon the oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration — and “the last thing Thomas wanted was government intervention.” Much better to leave things in the hands of the Almighty.
We asked our readers for cool sights they’d experienced from their vehicles while driving in Texas, and the more than 100 observations ranged from the beautiful to the horrific to the sublimely weird (not unlike Texas itself.)