Spring Hill Dinosaurs
If you know anything about me, it shouldn't come as a surprise if we're ever driving somewhere and I gently suggest that I'd like to make a few quick stops along the way. While out for the day with David's parents on our recent trip to Florida, I told them that there were two dinosaurs on our route—actually directly on the way, which is sometimes a distinction I make rather loosely—and luckily they were more than happy to indulge my love of roadside novelties (thank you again, Jo Ann and Ken!).
The first is actually a dinosaur-shaped building, and while we were lucky enough to be driving right past it, I would have made a special trip eventually just to see it because as I've said before, my love of novelty architecture knows no bounds. Harold's Auto Center, located on Commercial Way in Spring Hill, Florida, was built in 1964 as a Sinclair Oil gas station. Inspired by Sinclair's apatosaurus logo, the dinosaur-shaped structure is 47 feet tall and 110 feet long.
The dinosaur has been home to Harold's Auto Center, a family-owned auto maintenance shop, since 1977. Their website insists that "although we are inside a Dinosaur we stay up to date with what your vehicle needs." I do wish that—like the logo—the dinosaur was painted green, but I love his pimento-filled green olive eyes. I don't miss dealing with car maintenance, but if I did have a car, taking it to a shop shaped like a dinosaur would almost make the experience enjoyable.
A little more than three miles down Commercial Way is a second, smaller dinosaur measuring 22 feet high and 58 feet long. Known simply as the Spring Hill Dinosaur, this one isn't quite identifiable as a single species, but he is much more colorful than his neighbor down the road.
This roadside dinosaur was built in 1962 by taxidermist Jacob Foxbower to promote his family's wildlife museum, once located nearby. The museum closed in 1998, but the dinosaur remains, and this beloved local landmark looks as if it's just been refreshed with a new coat of Pepto-Bismol pink paint.