Camden County Dinosaur spacer Indian King Tavern Museum

Camden County Historical Society borough Web site Peter Mott House

Haddonfield Ceremony Kicks Off Historic Fossil Sculpture Fundraising Drive

By Hoag Levins ...| ...Sept. 20, 2002

Also see: Photo Feature of Event
HADDONFIELD, N.J. -- The visual impact of Haddonfield's planned dinosaur sculpture became apparent yesterday when a full-size illustration
Tish Colombi
Photo: Hoag Levins.
Haddonfield Mayor Tish Colombi with Hadrosaurus at yesterday's fund-raising kickoff.

Hear the Mayor
RealPlayer Required
> 'Year of the Dinosaur'
> Maple Street site

of the work was unveiled at a fund-raising kickoff in downtown Lantern Lane.

Covering an 8-by-16-foot signboard propped behind the podium, the green figure of Hadrosaurus foulkii dwarfed the speakers below. It also delighted the dozens of third graders from the Elizabeth Haddon elementary school who were a central part of the audience.

The artwork, along with ancient bones and detailed project announcements, were part of a program that officially marked the beginning of a campaign to raise $100,000 for the creation of a statue destined to become a major southern New Jersey landmark.

Among other things, the mid-day event made clear that the sculpture effort -- begun as a quixotic Haddonfield Garden Club initiative two years ago -- has won the solid support of borough government and the community at large.

The plan calls for the creation and placement in the business district of a bronze statue commemorating the unique local fossil that is also New Jersey's official state dinosaur. The work of sculpting the full scale, three-dimensional figure from clay is about to begin. Molds made from that clay model will be used for casting the final version in a ton of bronze. The project will take a year to complete.

Mayor Colombi
"We back this 100 percent," Mayor Tish Colombi told a crowd that literally packed Lantern Lane wall to wall. She confirmed that the borough intends to officially declare 2003 "The Year of the Dinosaur," and that the finished
hadrosaurus bone
Photo: Hoag Levins.
Dr. William Gallagher of the New Jersey State Museum illustrated his talk with a Hadrosaurus foulkii vertebra.

Hear Dr. Gallagher
RealPlayer Required
> Very important fossil
> Gigantic but similar to birds

sculpture will be unveiled in October of 2003.

Nearby, staff members of HATCH, the Haddonfield dinosaur sculpture committee that is overseeing the project, sold Hadrosaurus T-shirts and dinosaur jewelry pins that are part of the grassroots fundraising effort.

The mayor, who is also a member of the HATCH committee, led a list of speakers celebrating the artistic, scientific and educational value of the beast that made Haddonfield a world-famous paleontological site in the nineteen-century.

The first nearly-complete skeleton of a dinosaur ever found, the 1858 discovery of Hadrosaurus foulkii was a watershed event that proved dinosaurs had really existed. In 1868 it became the first dinosaur skeleton ever mounted for the public to see.

'Set off a fascination'
"When it was displayed in the Academy of Natural Sciences, it set off a fascination with dinosaurs that has lasted to this day," Dr. William Gallagher told the crowd. Gallagher, a paleontologist and registrar of natural
shark fins
Photo: Hoag Levins.
Artist John Giannotti displays a scale model of the statue.

Hear John Giannotti
RealPlayer Required
> The color of dinosaurs
> Rather imposing creature

history at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, is also the author of the book When Dinosaurs Roamed New Jersey.

He brought a vertebrae of Hadrosaurus foulkii to the podium with him. "One of the most interesting things about Hadrosaurus was how birdlike its limb bones were," he explained. "Despite the fact that it was a giant animal, it had an anatomy that was very similar to birds."

Artist John Giannotti displayed his model sculpture of the Hadrosaurus and unveiled his rough illustration of what the full-size sculpture will look like.

Dinosaur colors
"In designing this, we put together some of the most recent ideas of what hadrosaurs look like," Giannotti said. "For instance, after it is cast, it will have lots of colors on it. Not just green or bronze. This is because it is thought that Hadrosaurus, like many dinosaurs, were more colorful than once thought."

He said the finished sculpture -- eight feet tall and 14 feet long -- will sit atop a rock-and-fountain platform so that
Rebecca Lauer
Photo: Hoag Levins.
Rebecca Lauer of Alberto and Associates details the dinosaur footprints coming to Lantern Lane.

Hear Rebecca Lauer
RealPlayer Required
> Following the tracks

its head will loom about ten and a half feet above where Lantern Lane meets the sidewalk at Kings Highway. "It will be a rather imposing creature," he said.

"People walking down the street will come across this dinosaur like a surprise," said Rebecca Lauer of Alberto and Associates, the architectural firm providing the pro-bono design services for the Lantern Lane project. She unveiled the blueprints for what the pedestrian walkway will look like a year from October.

Fossil footprints
The most eye-catching part of the illustration were the gigantic footprints. "We're going to put dinosaur footprints flat in the pavement down the length of the lane," she said. "They will lead you all the way to the dinosaur, just as if he had walked from the parking lot to the shops and left his footprints in the ground."

As part of its 2003 "Year of the Dinosaur" plans, the borough will organize a variety of hadrosaurus-related activities for children. Denise Sellers, who currently heads up Haddonfield's Before-and-After-School programs, is overseeing the development of dinosaur tie-ins.

"We decided that children need to be a really big
Denise Sellers
Photo: Hoag Levins.
Denise Sellers is organizing dinosaur activities for Haddonfield students.

Hear Denise Sellers
RealPlayer Required
> Planning Dinosaur Day

part of this project," she said as she officially declared April 5, 2003, to be "Dinosaur Day" for school children in Haddonfield as well as the surrounding communities.

Childrens' programs
Sellers said children's dinosaur book author Don Lessem would be on hand to sign copies of his new books scheduled for release in March of 2003. Lessem has written such titles as All the Dirt on Dinosaurs, Raptors: The Nastiest Dinosaurs, Baby Dinosaur and The Biggest Dinosaurs.

Sellers said students would also get to see and participate in the Rollicking Dinosaur Review, a program of science theater put on by Mike Weilbacher. A writer, conservationist and educator, Weilbacher is better known as "Mike the Science Guy" on WHYY 91 FM's "Kid's Corner."

All Rights Reserved © 2002,
About this Web site


> John Giannotti Selected As Dinosaur Sculptor
> A Dinosaur is Coming to Downtown Haddonfield
> Finding the World's First Dinosaur Skeleton, 1858
> Sculpture Committee Web Site
Underground Railroad Myths Colonial Garden Club

Fred Barnum: Rock Star of RCA History -- 200 Cram Library for His Latest Talk

Springdale Farm Honored by Camden County Historical Society -- Ebert and Jarvis Families Receive Award

CCHS Antiques Gala Photo Pages: Images From The Pine Hill Golf Club

"Still Standing" Art Exhibit Opens at Walt Whitman Arts Center -- Spotlights Local African-American History

In Memory of Camden's 18th-Century Slaves: City Group Performs Ritual "Purification"

Haddonfield Dig Yields 4,000-Year-Old Indian Artifact: Indian King Summer Archaeology Project Ends Richly