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Rocky the Frog, Congress

Directly in front of you, heading up Highway 89 out of Congress, you may catch a rather stone-faced amphibian in your field of view. He sits perched atop a hill, waiting patiently for the occasional fly or, perhaps, Volkswagen Beetle.

Bright green and spotted, the enormous frog has sat there since the 1920s, when there wasn't much more to do in the area than there is today. It was the inspiration of Sara Perkins, a legislator's wife, and her two boys, who were the original artists to clamber up the hill and decorate the 60-ton rock.

At the time, Highway 89, which passes within tongue's reach of the big guy, was the major route between Phoenix and Prescott. As such, the enormous greenback proved to be a popular roadside diversion in an otherwise desolate area—much to the benefit of the Perkins family, who owned a nearby service station and tourist attraction called the Arrowhead.

 

Years later, the lovable amphibian still crouches above 89, as bright as ever. He's become a sort of community project and local mascot. After all the Perkinses had either croaked (no pun intended!) or moved away, custodial duties were assumed by a succession of locals daring enough to perform touch-ups. The most recent was Rose Mary Goodson, an artist who, even at 76, would schlep an extension ladder and three gallons of paint up the craggy incline. Hey, it ain't easy being green.

The Arrowhead still exists as well, although now it’s a bar and steakhouse. The staff, who continue to field questions about the frog, sort of half agree his name is Rocky and will sell you a frog-adorned T-shirt if you ask. If you're interested, the place is just a hop, skip, and a jump across the highway. Careful crossing over, though, lest you be squashed, Frogger-style.

 

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