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November 30, 2016

1940 World's Tallest Man Ever Recorded Visits Downtown Warrensburg Shortly Before his Death at 22

Robert Wadlow, Tallest Many Recorded, Visited Warrensburg.

At 8 feet 9 1/2 inches tall or 268 cm.  He was the tallest man ever confirmed in the world and still growing at the time of his death at only 22 years of age.

May 10: Robert Wadlow, 22, Alton, Ill., known as the Alton Giant for standing 8 feet-11 inches, visited Warrensburg. The newspaper reported he wore size 37 shoes. “Mr. Wadlow asked the tallest man in the crowd to get a silver dollar off Robert’s head. Donald Martin, a freshman at the college, surprised Mr. Wadlow and the crowd as well by standing on his tip-toes, and getting the silver dollar, which was presented to him by Robert Wadlow. Martin is 6 feet 8 inches tall and played on the basketball team at the college last year.”

Robert Wadlow, World's Tallest Man, Visits Warrensburg, Missouri
May 1940
May 10, 1940 Tallest Man in the World Visits Warrensburg, MO
Two Months Before His Death
Up in the air goes Jack Stewart, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Stewart, to shake hands with Robert Wadlow during the Alton, Illinois, Giant's visit to Warrensburg May 10.  Four bands greeted Wadlow, and the towering 22-year old youth expressed pleasure at the reception.  The giant's visit was sponsored by Stewart's Bootery.  Wadlow spent about two hours here, appearing on a truck on Holden Street.  While in high school Robert was taught by three persons formerly of Warrensburg, Miss Letha McCousland, James Stage and F. H. Harlan. The three were here during his visit, and Miss McCousland and Mr. Stage talked to him on the truck.  When last measured, Wadlow was 8 feet ) 9 1/2 inches tall.  He weights 491 pounds and wears size 37 shoes.  He is measured at frequent intervals by representatives of Washington University and during the past year has grown about 1  1/2 inches.  The giant proved affable and good-naturedly gave autographs to persons who were able to push their way through the crowd of an estimated 7,000 that flocked here for his appearance.  Robert was accompanied here by his father, Harold Wadlow.
Robert Wadlow Ripley's Video
Emily Uhler, Copenhagen - Ripley's Musuem

Robert Pershing Wadlow (February 22, 1918 – July 15, 1940) also known as the Alton Giant and the Giant of Illinois, was the tallest person in recorded history for whom there is irrefutable evidence. The Alton and Illinois monikers reflect the fact that he was born and raised in Alton, Illinois.


Wadlow reached 8 ft 11.1 in (2.72 m) in height and weighed 439 lb (199 kg) at his death at age 22. His great size and his continued growth in adulthood were due to hyperplasia of his pituitary gland, which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. He showed no indication of an end to his growth even at the time of his death.

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