We noted in June that the dinosaur once located behind the Louisville Science Center was found three-and-a-half years later hiding out in Park Hill, but a keen eyed commenter noted that there’s more to the story. It turns out Louisville’s Triceratops is quite the celebrity, appearing in the Sinclair oil company Dinoland exhibition at the New York Worlds Fair in 1964 and 1965 (and on the cover of a book on the subject). That could be him up in that drawing above.
According to a brochure on the display, “Life-size replicas of nine different types of dinosaurs are shown…as life-like and authentic as modern science and painstaking research can make it.” Other dinosaurs included a 70-foot-long Brontosaurus, a Tyrannosaurus, and a duck-billed Trachodon. Each was created by animal sculptor Louis Paul Jonas. There were actually two Triceratops at the fair, the larger of which is now located at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
After the fair, the dinosaurs hit the road for a nine-month tour, visiting 40 shopping center parking lots in 18 states. After two subsequent tours, the dinosaurs were distributed across the country from Texas to Utah to Wisconsin, many ending up as roadside attractions.
In a speech at the opening of Dinoland, Robert Moses, the famous highway builder from New York among other distinctions, remarked on the future of transportation as viewed from the 1960s: “Perhaps we are rubber rather than rail people. We make no apology for that either, but certainly companies like Sinclair are the ones we have had to look to, to solve the transportation problems of the United States.” From the outset, the dinosaurs of the ’64 world’s fair betrayed the fair’s idealistic ambitions, and in Louisville, continued to prove ironic sitting next to the elevated riverfront expressway.
Sinclair oil is still around today, but there are no locations in Kentucky or Indiana.