The World's Biggest Signature

The World's Biggest Signature


Jimmie Luecke, a cattle farmer in Texas, created the world's biggest signature in the 1990s. Also, it is useful for analyzing NASA's satellite imagery.


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Jimmie Luecke was a young Texas state trooper who left the highway patrol in 1980 to try his hand at oil drilling. The Austin chalk oil boom made him a millionaire, and so he bought some land outside Smithville, Texas, and settled down to raise cattle. In the late '90s, while clearing new grazing land on his ranch, Luecke decided on a Texas-sized display of ego. As he bulldozed up the brush, he left behind the word LUECKE in neat kilometer-tall letters. It was the biggest signature in human history.

The Luecke ranch lies directly along major flight paths, including most westbound flights out of Houston, so the giant name quickly became a landmark for commercial pilots. Luecke has been criticized online for clear-cutting so many acres of Lost Pines Forest, an isolated belt of loblolly pines that's unique in Texas. But at least he has some admirers at NASA. Luecke's "handwriting" is so precise that in 2003, NASA scientists were able to use the 2.5-mile-long name "for evaluating spatial resolution of astronaut photographs."


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