On my recent trip to accompany Sweetums on a business trip to Ohio, we stopped in Lexington, Kentucky for a little sightseeing. As usual, we had a list of quirky things to see there, including an over-sized Dixie Cup, which is actually a water tower.
When we returned home, I decided to see if it was the World’s Largest Dixie Cup. The answer is … probably, with certain qualifiers. There is another oversized Dixie Cup that served as a water tower on a now-abandoned cup-manufacturing plant in Easton, Pennsylvania.
That tower holds 40,000 gallons of water but it no longer has the Dixie Cup logo on it. The Lexington Dixie Cup is the only one I’ve found online that still says “Dixie Cup” on it. Let me know if you know of others by commenting below or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what I know about the one we saw in Lexington:
The Dixie Cup Water Tower is located at 451 Harbison Road on the property of a plant that once manufactured Dixie Cups. The company later became part of Georgia-Pacific Corporation, which has offices at the site, but the cup remains.
The Dixie Cup Corp. opened in Lexington in 1958 and the water tower was one of the first things built. According to AtlasObscura.com, when the property became Georgia-Pacific’s, the company wanted the city to remove the tower from the property. However, officials refused to move the iconic Dixie Cup Water Tower because it was a point of reference for the nearby airport.
Other big cups
While there are lots of cup-shaped buildings in the country, most are advertising drinks or coffee houses. A few giant cups advertise the manufacture of the cups themselves:
World’s Largest Paper Cup
800 Iowa Avenue
A cup known as the World’s Largest Paper Cup is located in Riverside, California. The 68-foot-tall cup is made of concrete and once advertised the Lily-Tulip manufacturing company at the site. Lily-Tulip later became the Sweetheart Cup Company and the cups were made there until 1997. Currently, the cup is painted a solid color.
Giant Dart Cup
1550 Wrightsboro Road
This massive cup attached to a 1947 manufacturing plant began as a Dixie Cup, later became a Sweetheart Cup and then a Solo Cup. In 2012, the name on the cup was changed from Solo to Dart when the Dart Container Co. took over the plant. According to a local news story, Dart plans to close the plant in 2019.
Repainted Dixie Cup
Visible from Route 22 in the Wilson community
The 40,000-gallon Dixie Cup water tower is located on the roof of the former Dixie Cup factory. The factory opened in 1921 and closed in 1983. The cup on the abandoned factory no longer says “Dixie” on it.