A true Americana tribute to the paper cup, this 68-foot-tall concrete statue of a paper cup is allegedly the largest in the world. Its location feels random as it currently sits at the entrance of a manufacturing warehouse business park in Riverside, California. However, this once was the location of the former Lily Tulip Corporation which was once one the largest makers of paper cups.
After several company mergers and plant facility expansions and closures, this location finally shut down in 1997. but the mighty paper cup still stands, refusing to be disposed of like the countless smaller cups that have been created and tossed.
The Lily-Tulip Cup Corporation dates to 1911 first operating in Manhattan, then in Flushing Bay, New York. In 1951, the company moved its manufacturing to Springfield, Missouri, and built another large cup statue in front of its headquarters. The Riverside location opened in 1958.
In 1986, the Fort Howard Paper Company acquired “Lily-Tulip” company. And in 1989 “Fort Howard” spins off its cup business and names it “Sweetheart Holdings.” In 1997 the company shut down the Riverside County Facility. In 2004 “The Sweetheart Holdings Company” later got purchased by the familiar named “Solo Cups” which was purchased by Dart Holdings in 2012.
The 164,000-square-foot Riverside facility not only made paper cups, but also disposable food-service products such as thermoformed polystyrene lids and extruded polypropylene straws, as well as some paper products. The facility supplied companies such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s International and Taco Bell. 300 employees lost their jobs in September 1997 at this facility.
The big gulp of a cup Statue is now a fan favorite for those who veer off the 215 freeway to snap photos of the disposable cup that won’t be thrown away.