Wake up with a Smile

Join our newsletter

Is That A Mannequin? Story Behind The Mysterious Local Celebrity In Iowa Comes Out.

Gary Jennings smiles and poses with Rose the mannequin and a human woman.

If you ever find yourself driving down the west side of Highway 5 near the Des Moines International Airport, keep your eyes peeled – you may just spot a local celebrity. For over a decade, a mannequin has called the side of this rode her home. Best of all, almost no one knew who had placed her there. Or rather, they didn’t until now.

Gary Jennings, the man who placed the first mannequin there all those years ago, has finally decided to come forward and discuss the story behind this mysterious figure. While the main reason Gary has kept the bit up is because “it’s fun,” he got the idea from having to give directions to his house, something that wasn’t easy to find for many visitors.

“People didn’t know where I lived,” Gary explained. “And I said, ‘Do you know where that picnic table is along Highway five?’ It wasn’t just one person; it was a lot of people that knew that picnic table. I said ‘Well, that’s not very interesting. We need to put something down there to make it more interesting.'”

But Gary didn’t just think about putting something there that was more interesting, he followed through on it. After a while, though, she caught the attention of folks who decided to steal her. For a while, the side of Highway 5 became a bit more dull.

Eventually, though, someone stepped up to replace Gloria.

“Someone approached me,” Gary said. “It was his wedding anniversary gift to his wife for 40 years to put Gloria back in the field. But his wife was calling her Rose, so the new mannequin was Rose.”

Since Rose has taken Gloria’s spot, she’s proven to be just as loved – and she’s donned a few different outfits. At first she was in a wedding dress but her latest outfit includes a Caitlin Clark basketball jersey.

“Some people have actually gone down, turned around, and come back to see Rose,” Kay Strum, a neighbor of Gary’s said.

Even though the cat’s out of the bag on the mystery behind both Gloria and Rose, we have a feeling the fascination and love for these unusual roadside friends won’t be going away any time soon. In fact, the search is on for a new outfit for Rose.

“We’re trying to find a yellow cowboy hat, and if we can’t find one, we’ll probably just spray-paint one,” Kay said. “And that would be the newest outfit for Rose.”

And as far as how Gary is feeling, he just hopes that Rose gets to stick around for longer than Gloria. But, if all else fails, he does have another mannequin in his garage named Gloria 2.0 – though, he hopes to have her around to keep Rose company, not to replace her.

“Hopefully she stays there, and people respect her and appreciate her for what she is,” Gary said.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here!

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.