In Praise of the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet (Burlington, VT)

Filing cabinet
File this!

Vermont of America has piqued our interest of late, primarily due to the world’s tallest filing cabinet. It’s located in Burlington, a wee city by a big old lake, with the cabinet roughly one-third the size of good ol’ Burlington town (allegedly). Let’s take a look!

The World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet

At over 40 foot in height, this utter monstrosity of a filing cabinet is one heck of a landmark. We all know Americans love big stuff, but this one sets a new record in bigness.

It’s a work of art from one Bren Alvarez – it went up in 2002 (probably with the help of a ladder). She’s now 62-year-old and is/was a local architect.

The piece is called the “File Under File Under So. Co., Waiting for…” – a comment on bureaucratic delays in the area. Apparently, Interstate 89 into Burlington was first proposed in 1965 and is still awaiting the nod to go ahead.

Of the cabinet, Alvarez told Seven Days back in September 2002: “The idea just flashed in my mind like a cartoon.” And she had the idea in mind for a decade or so, it seems, before finally completing it.

It’s now getting a little bit rusty and sways noticeably in the wind, but it looks like it’s found a permanent home.

So much so the likes of Atlas Obscura picked up on it, amongst many others intrigued by the quirky and unusual things of this world.

Tourist Reviews

Its status is now as a roadside landmark. A place you can quickly come across and swoon over in a moment of escapist wonder.

Boasting an impressive 4/5 on TripAdvisor after over 250 public reviews, one user was left so awestruck he/she states: “The most Burlington thing in Burlington.” One couple from Vancouver helpfully notes: “We happened upon this site by happenstance.”

On Google reviews, one man said: “I came to Burlington and saw the world’s tallest filing cabinet. I was fulfilled. I was whole.” Someone else added: “I can’t see a filling cabinet the same way now.”

However, there is a bit of contention over whether it’s really the tallest filing cabinet in the world. One reviewer on Google handed over a 1/5 and raged: “not the tallest. the tallest is 65 foot. not well maintained.”

And we really like the idea the local government would go out of its way to “maintain” a 40 foot filing cabinet gently swaying in the wind. Why bother supporting local startups? We’ve got a filing cabinet!

And we’re also willing to bet many a drunken student from the University of Vermont has tried to scale it over the years. Or use it as a public lavatory.

Regardless, should you want to fly to America just to see this landmark, you’ll find its location right here: 208 Flynn Street, Burlington, Vermont, 05401-5429.

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