Saturday, July 4, 2020

"The most flawed spectacle in Tampa history"

A 2003 article about a series of unfortunate events in 1958 Tampa Bay:
The concept was simple: Hilton, then 32, wanted to create a winter carnival similar to what he had in college at Dartmouth. He pitched the idea, and his plan caught on; influential downtown business owners and others contributed substantially.

To create a festive atmosphere, the concept was to close five blocks of Franklin Street and cover it in ice and snow.
Here is just one of a seemingly endless series of disasters:
Before the show, the governor of Minnesota promised to ship "The Nation's Tallest Christmas Tree" to Franklin Street. Bad idea.

A logging company built a makeshift road through the North Woods and felled a tree, then a bulldozer pulled the tree along the road toward railroad tracks. There the tree was loaded onto a train to Tampa.

Unfortunately, the tree snapped when the train rounded a bend in central Indiana.

The governor decided to try again. But road conditions had deteriorated, and the bulldozer sank in a quagmire and couldn't be retrieved until spring.

Politics came to the rescue. The mayor of Duluth, considering a run against the governor, offered a tree.

The third tree made it safely to Tampa, where it was to be raised on Franklin Street. Engineers dug into the road to provide a stable resting place, and everything appeared to be fine. The tree was gently placed into the hole.

Suddenly, the tree sank - right through a city sewer line.