This mastodon sculpture was a tourist stop while traveling from Cypress Gardens and Bok Tower in the 1960s.

The Phosphate Valley Exposition opened 30 miles east of Bartow on 130 acres of reclaimed phosphate lands. The sculpture was to be an encounter with a sabre-tooth tiger, which is why the mastodon has a lifted foot. But money was short and so was the duration of this attraction featuring Florida’s prehistoric history that phosphate mining helped to uncover…and well cover in most instances. The attraction shuttered by the early ’70s. Later the land became home for Florida Sheriffs Youth Villa in 1972.

Eventually the prehistoric collection ended up at the Mulberry History Museum that open ed in 1986. But, what happened to the mastodon? No one knows. I visited the Mulberry Museum not long after it opened and there positively was no mastodon there. Anyone know what happened to the monster critter?

(Sources: Lakeland Ledger story by Cinnamon Bair, October 2010.)