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Re: Hello may I join in? (Hawkins)



Interestingly enough, the story most commonly told is that the some of the 
dinosaurs for the Central Park Exhibit were, in fact, constructed.

Boss Tweed's political machine, however, had different ideas about how they 
wanted to spend the money allocated for the park. According to the common 
account, thugs were sent to destroy the (largely concrete) models. The pieces 
were then buried in a currently unknown location in Central Park.

This is, in fact, the story (simply put) that I've heard for years.

One can find it along with a reproduction of what the museum might have looked 
like at:

http://unmuseum.mus.pa.us/pama/mtnwjp.htm

I'd be particularly interested to know why the sources cited below don't 
believe that any of the dinosaurs were actually built and why, for the first 
time in my memory, the political finaglings are left totally out of the story.

The following is a brief quote from a more extended account available at the 
above URL.

"Hawkins came to the United States and established a workshop in Central Park 
to build the
          molds necessary to cast the prehistoric creatures. The museum was to 
be quite spectacular. An
          iron framework held up by columns was to cover a small park. In the 
park, replicas of two
          Hadrosaurs were to be shown under attack by the carnivorous LaeLaps. 
In a shallow lake the
          marine reptile Elasmosaurus would frolic. Extinct mammals, including 
mastodons, giant sloths,
          giant elk, and giant armadillos would also be featured. The price tag 
for the project was
          $300,000.

          The project was well underway in 1870 when the notorious politician 
William "Boss" Tweed
          came to power in New York City. Finding no way he could profit via 
illegal kickbacks from the
          museum, Tweed determined to destroy it. He packed the park commission 
with his own people
          who then voted to put a stop to the project and destroy the 
foundations that had been laid.

          Hawkins persisted, however, and Tweed decided more drastic action was 
needed. A year later
          thugs, sent by Tweed, broke into the workshop and smashed the 
dinosaurs with sledge
          hammers. Later, they came back and did the same to Hawkins' molds and 
small scale models.
          Hawkins was shocked and disgusted with this episode and after a stint 
on the staff at Princeton
          University, returned to England. And so the Great Paleozoic Museum of 
Central Park became
          the museum that never was. "

To many "fans" the holy grail of DinoArt is the discovery of the location of 
the smashed remains.

ES


Steve Brusatte wrote:

> On Sun, 17 Dec 2000 12:43:03
>  Stephen wrote:
>
> >SNIPPED
>
> As most of you probably are aware of, Hawkins was also commissioned to build 
> a large "Palaeozoic Museum" in New York's Central Park.  The plans were later 
> killed due to financial reasons, but sculptor Allen Debus made a nice 
> sculpture a few years back that showed what, based on his research, Hawkins' 
> Central Park exhibit may have looked like.
>
> You can see a photo of it at:
> http://www.geocities.com/stegob/burpeedebusmodel.html
>
> Allen Debus and Steve McCarthy also wrote a nice paper about the project.  
> Here's a quick ref:
>
> Debus, Allen A. and Steve McCarthy.  A Scene from American Deep Time: New 
> York's Palaeozoic Museum-Revisited.  The Mosasaur, 6: 105-115.
>
> I read the paper awhile back, and it's a nice account of all of Hawkins' 
> plans, with a lot of photos.
>
> Steve
>
> ---
> Steve Brusatte
> Dino Land Paleontology
> http://www.geocities.com/stegob
> ---
>
> Get FREE Email/Voicemail with 15MB at Lycos Communications at 
> http://comm.lycos.com

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