Waving Giant Is Center Of Attention At Auction

Nov 15, 2013

An unusual landmark in western Massachusetts was sold at auction today, but its ultimate fate remains unknown.

The 30-foot-tall fiberglass figure known as Plantation Man beckons to travelers exiting the Massachusetts Turnpike at Exit 6. The landmark was sold at auction on Nov. 15,2013
Credit WAMC

The 30-foot-tall fiberglass statue known as Plantation Man has waved to travelers from a motel parking lot opposite the Massachusetts Turnpike’s Interchange 6 for 15 years. It was sold on Friday.

The landmark was purchased for $11,500 by Charlie Arment Jr, the owner of a Springfield trucking company, who said he bid on behalf of others whom he would not identify.

Arment said it was the intention of Plantation Man’s new owners to keep the statue in the Springfield area.  The statue is in the parking lot of the Plantation Inn, located in Chicopee. The motel closed earlier this month.

About 50 people attended Friday’s auction of the 187 room motel, seven acres of land, furniture and fixtures. Plantation Man attracted several bidders, including one from out-of-state who bid over the phone.

The fiberglass figure of a man in a white suit coat and white top hat is part of a group of roadside attractions known as “waving giants” that are used to draw attention to businesses such as tire stores, donut shops, and miniature golf courses across the country.

Plantation Man was first stationed in front of a pizza shop in Framingham, Massachusetts, according to Maria Cantalini-Petit, whose father Mario Cantalini bought it for $2,000 in 1970.  He had the statue painted red, white, and blue and put in front of his Springfield car dealership.

Cantalini moved the giant statue to the motel parking lot when he bought the business in 1999.

Cantalini-Petitt and her brother Paul decided to close the motel and sell the property after their father died last year.

The motel building and land were not sold Friday after the owners rejected a high bid of $2.7 million.