|Robert Wadlow strikes a
pose with the
Greupner brothers during
his promotional stop in Elk River
Business relies on publicity. In 1939, Greupner Shoe Store carried this adage to an unusual end. Appearing to promote Peters Shoe Company, and the local distributor: Greupner Shoes, the tallest man in the world arrived in Elk River.
Robert Wadlow, of Illinois, spent a day in August 1939, in Elk River. He busied himself signing autographs and promoting the quality footwear of Peters’ Shoes. Pointing out his own shoes, Wadlow noted the size as 37AA.
Using a cane and braces to move through the city, Wadlow struck a variety of poses beside individuals and automobiles to illustrate his great height. On the day of his visit, the Sherburne County Star News measured him at 8 feet, 9 ½ inches. A year later, at his death he was measured at 8 feet 11 inches.
During his visit to Elk River, his most memorable pose provided comparison to the height of William and Fred Greupner. The newspaper reported Wadlow as the “giant as big as is claimed.”
The paper concluded the report by congratulating the Greupner brothers for the enterprising promotion in bringing Wadlow to Elk River and the publicity for Greupner shoes and for Elk River.