Finding the ‘golden fleece’

Since RDH Great Stories moved to Lawrence County, Indiana, we have been trying to track down the site of the abandoned pyramid and Great Wall of China models project.

The project began in the late 1970s and was abandoned in the early 1980s, left incomplete. It was the beneficiary of federal funding, but became the subject of considerable criticism.

It was awarded U.S. Sen. William Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Award. The Wisconsin senator issued the awards from 1975 until 1988, when he retired. He presented 168 of the awards.

The Taxpayers for Common Sense in 2000 listed the Bedford project funded by the Commerce Department as the second most classic example of “wasteful, ridiculous or ironic use of the taxpayers’ money.″

How much federal and other government funds were invested in the project is unclear. However, when the plug was pulled, there were insufficient funds to complete, according to published accounts

.

Over the past 35 years, the site has gradually deteriorated and is marked with no trespassing signs. The remains are located at the end of a state road near Judah, Ind., surrounded by a quarry, farm land, a cemetery, and homes.

On our third visit, we determined we had found the site. We observed the “no trespassing signs,” but took pictures from the road.

If you know who owns the property, please have them contact us. We’d like to take a closer look and ask a few questions.

All photos by Ronald Hawkins.

Advertisements

Great stories from Bedford Indiana have arrived

 

 

BEDFORD, Indiana

In case you have wondered what happened to RDH Great Stories, we have been in the lengthy process of moving to Bedford, Indiana, in Lawrence County.

This is a beautiful city, far different from the Indianapolis suburban town of Mooresville, which has its own strengths. Bedford is rich in scenic beauty, history and tradition.

Bedford is the self-proclaimed limestone capital of the world. And if you drive down Ind. 37, south of Bloomington, you will quickly see why it has made that claim.

There’s even one mystery we are trying to unravel regarding the abandoned project to build small models in limestone of the Great Pyramid and the Great Wall of China. We’ve been told, since it involved federal  funds, that it was abandoned after being declared the worst example of Congressional pork barrel spending. That’s understandable to some extent, but we would still like to see what remains of the abandoned project.

Still, there are lot more things to see and learn about. For example, Mitchell was the hometown of three astronauts including Virgil Gus Grissom, the second U.S. astronaut in space who died years later during the testing of an Apollo craft.

Grissom’s Mitchell connection is duly noted with signs and an impressive monument at Mitchell Town Hall.

If you drive north to Oolitic, you will find a statue of a nearly forgotten comic character. The statue is a part of a salute veterans.

The character is Joe Palooka, who was featured in an American comic strip about a heavyweight boxing champion, created by cartoonist Ham Fisher in 1921, according to Wikipedia. The strip debuted in 1930 and it was carried at its peak by 900 newspapers.

The strip was eventually adapted for a short-lived, 15-minute CBS radio series, 12 feature-length films, nine Vitaphone film shorts, a 1954 syndicated television series, comic books and merchandise, including a 1940s board game, a 1947 New Haven Clock & Watch Company wristwatch, a 1948 metal lunchbox, and a 1946 Wheaties cereal box cut-out mask. In 1980, a mountain in Pennsylvania was named for the character, according to Wikipedia.

After a 63-year run, it ended Nov. 24, 1984. The impressive statue, however, remains.

Least we forget, Bedford North Lawrence High School, led by star Damon Bailey, won the Indiana High School men’s basketball championship in 1990, when Indiana had only class in the state champship.

There’s lots more that we’ll be covering from our new base, but it seemed to be time to tell you a little bit about Bedford and Lawrence County.

 

All photos by Ronald Hawkins.