Nooo they be stealin mah donut
August 24, 2019 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Three years ago, the famous orange dinosaur residing on Route 1 in Saugus, MA, was saved from extinction when the developer who bought its former mini-golf home agreed to keep the fiberglass statue so beloved it was immortalized in beer. In March 2019, the dinosaur was given a giant, illuminated donut courtesy of Kane's Donuts, which was soon removed for running afoul of the city's zoning ordinances.

From the last link: "Debra Panetta, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said she was not aware of the issue. 'I have other, much more important things to worry about than a dinosaur with a doughnut on it,' said Panetta." This is why orange dinosaurs can't have nice things, Debra.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide (10 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Would it be okay if someone gave it a slide?
posted by ardgedee at 11:30 AM on August 24 [10 favorites]


This is my hometown! We moved to Saugus when I was five. The first ride down Route 1 was unforgettable: the leaning tower of Pizza at Prince restaurant, the (problematic) Tiki palace of Kowloon, Hilltop Steakhouse's enormous light up cactus complete with fiberglass cow stable, and of course, the orange dinosaur reigning over his minigolf/ice cream/batting cage domain. I thought I had died and gone to the Massachusetts-version-of-Disneyland heaven.

I was eventually disabused of that notion, but despite having fled Saugus a long time ago, whenever I am on Route 1, I am always comforted to see my dino friend is still right where he belongs. Thanks for the fun post, Orange Dinosaur Slide!
posted by prewar lemonade at 11:39 AM on August 24 [8 favorites]


We had a similar situation with a mini-golf place in Jacksonville, FL. When the new developer built their strip mall, they tore down everything except the big orange dinosaur, which was restored by the community. The developers had enough sense to realize that (a) it was a beloved part of the area's history and (b) a great way to distinguish their stripmall from the dozens around it.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:49 AM on August 24 [2 favorites]


Another oddity of growing up in Saugus is that early exposure to Kane's set a bar of deliciousness which no other doughnut purveyor has ever exceeded. Anyone who would deny the orange dinosaur a treat from Kane's is a monster. Have a heart, he probably hasn't had a snack since the Cretaceous.
posted by prewar lemonade at 12:02 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


Is there a downtown Saugus with like a main street, or is it just Route 1?
posted by smelendez at 2:58 PM on August 24


Fred Varone, Saugus’s building commissioner, said in an e-mail that the doughnut violated the town’s sign zoning by-laws, which characterize a sign as “anything that is used to attract.”
The law says nothing about giant fiberglass dinosaur scenes that are used to repulse? I see an opportunity for interesting public art here.
posted by eotvos at 3:11 PM on August 24 [2 favorites]


Smelendez, there's a central rotary with the public library, town hall, shops and such.
posted by prewar lemonade at 3:55 PM on August 24 [2 favorites]


Prewar nailed it for me. To add one, there was also The Ship! a full size Mayflower looking ship with a restaurant in it.
posted by drowsy at 6:10 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


Hilltop Steakhouse's enormous light up cactus complete with fiberglass cow stabl

Me and not_on_display's first proper date was there (he is from Peabody). Everyone knows Kane's are the best donuts in basically the world.
posted by jessamyn at 10:29 AM on August 25 [3 favorites]


(I read the title of this post in China IL's Babycakes' voice.)
One section specifies that "no illumination shall be permitted that casts glare onto any portion of any street that would, in the opinion of the Chief of Police, constitute a driving hazard."

"This bylaw was adopted as a result of all the large signs on Route 1, like the cactus," said Town Counsel John Vasapolli. "Town Meeting members 25 to 30 years ago felt it was getting to be too much like Las Vegas."
I grew up in Peabody—I learned to READ from all those Vegas-like signs when my parents would drive me down Rte 1 to Revere to go to my grandparents.

They do not exaggerate when they say it was like old-school Las Vegas. There was the Orange Dino, the Leaning Tower of Pizza, the restaurant called The Ship (which looked like and was as big as an actual old-school schooner), the Planters peanuts outlet with the 40-foot tall Mr. Peanut... Those were the major ones I remember of the top of my head. Roast beef joint? 20-foot-tall sign, "FULL OF BULL". Hockey rink with a huge Bruins logo, which is where they held praccy, next door to the Hilltop Cactus. Kowloon's Tiki Bar where I got served my first underage drink. faqncy animated neon signs like the Holiday Inn's star, and the "godfrieds Godfrieds GODFRIEDS" sign. I'm forgetting a ton of landmarks, I know.

To be faaaaair, the driving hazard is, was, and always will be, Route 1 in Saugus itself, and all the way north up to DB's Golden Banana in Peabody. I learned how to DRIVE on that stretch of Route 1. All of the parking lots emptied out, with no acceleration lane, onto a 55 MPH, 3-lanes, curves-and-rolling-hills highway. Nobody went 55 unless it was to slow down from 80 to take a wild drifting right turn into a parking lot. I even worked at the Fotomat next to the Honey Roasted Ham Factory on Rte 1, and later I worked at a self-serve near the top of that stretch, with a 50-foot sign. (There's where I watched a car drive through a parking-lot ATM, and where I thought "Coulda been me at Fotomat!")

Driving past the Orange Dinosaur when I was young first scared me, then fascinated me, and then served as a sign of LIFE. Because it signified to me that I had driven my car through the gauntlet yet again without being in a car wreck.

(Also I learned to swing a baseball bat at the mini-golf course on which the Dinosaur resided. One of my first dates ever was playing mini-golf there with someone a few towns over, who didn't even know about the dinosaur cause they never had to drive on Rte 1! How even!

Jessamyn—Hilltop Steak House was a much better date. I didn't know until recently that Kane's Donuts was or would be A Thing.
posted by not_on_display at 2:49 PM on August 25 [4 favorites]


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