The indignity of Ronald McDonald

Those of you who live in the Iowa City area may remember the amazing chainsaw sculpture of Ronald McDonald that used to stand outside the McDonald’s restaurant on 1st Avenue in Coralville. It was truly striking because he was carved out of the top of a tree trunk that was still planted in the ground just outside the northside entrance:

A photo of a wooden Ronald McDonald carved out of the top of a tree trunk

Ronald, in better days

In 2010, the 1st Avenue McDonald’s was essentially rebuilt from the ground up, and it’s a sparkly, shiny oasis of fast food goodness now. Why, the local media even touted its embrace of green technology and its cutting-edge decor. But lost in all of that progress was old Ronald. I noticed he was no longer outside the new restaurant, but I figured he had been removed and put on display elsewhere; perhaps cut down and moved inside as a unique marker of the Coralville location?

Sadly, that did not happen. In fact, I found Ronald yesterday, and … well, it’s not pretty. Brace yourselves:

photo of broken Ronald McDonald wooden sculpture

How sad is that? A one-of-a-kind piece of art that never failed to provoke comments from adults and excitement from little kids, destroyed and left to rot in an empty lot where a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise used to be. OK, so it’s not quite paving paradise and putting up a parking lot, but still. It’s a pity no one was able to save Ronald from his heartless Coralville overlords. But hey, enjoy those Happy Meals, kids!

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