The Museum That Never Was

The Paleozoic Museum at Central Park that would have been built in the early 1870's was inspired by a similar park built just south of London a few years before. Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, who created the prehistoric creatures at Sydenham Park, was asked to build a set of American prehistoric creatures for the new museum. The corrupt "Boss" Tweed of the New York political machine came to power, though, stopped the project, and sent thugs to destroy Hawkin's workshop. The project was never completed.

The above artist's reconstruction pictures the park as it might have appeared based on drawings and descriptions. The animals would have been cast life-size in concrete. The animals pictured here are based on early drawings made by Hawkin's and other illustrators of the time and may not represent current thinking about these creatures. The species pictured are (going clockwise left to right - elasmosaurus (in the pond) - two giant sloth - a mastodon - a giant elk (megalocerus) - two giant armadillos - a dead hadrosaurus being consumed by two laelaps (now referred to as dryptosaurus) - a sitting hadrosaurus - and a laelaps on its hind legs confronting a hadrosaurus.

For more information on this museum-that-never-was, click here.

Copyright Lee Krystek 1999-2002. All Rights Reserved.