HADDONFIELD, NJ (Oct. 26, 1995) -- Officials from the Borough of Haddonfield, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences and the U.S. Department of the Interior, along with local school children and assorted adult dinosaur buffs, gathered here today to officially dedicate the Hadrosaurus foulkii site as a new National Historic Landmark.
The official celebration comes just a little over one year after this discovery site of the world's first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton was formally declared a National Historical Site by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior on October 12, 1994.
More than 400 Attend
It was a brilliant fall day as a crowd of more than 400 gathered at this heavily-wooded park hailed by National Park Service Historian Harry Butowsky "as a place that teaches us about ourselves and teaches us about our past. It's a site that has national significance in the history of the United States of America." Mr. Butowsky also presented a plaque to borough representatives officially declaring the site's new national status.
||Christopher Maslanka in his Hadrosaurus bone suit.
A visual highlight of the event was Christopher Maslanka, who roamed the area in a Hadrosaurus bone costume. Sculpted from foam rubber and mounted on an aluminum harness strapped to his shoulders and legs, the suit's bones moved in an almost life-like way. Maslanka's appearance was totally unexpected by the event's organizers.
The 16-year-old, who lives in Howell Township and attends Freehold Township High School, explained that he learned about Hadrosaurus foulkii from this Internet web site early in the summer and began working on a bone suit to wear as a unique Halloween costume. Once it was completed, it seemed only natural thing to wear it to the Hadrosaurus celebration. And, indeed, he was mobbed by delighted crowds of children and camera-wielding adults from the time he arrived.
Dinosaur Dignitaries Address Crowd
The ceremonies also featured speakers from the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences -- the institution that has been associated with the Haddonfield excavation site since one of its members first unearthed the historic bones here in 1858.
Academy Paleontologist Ned Gilmore displayed an actual Hadrosaurus foulkii bone as he explained the animal's size and significance to television news crews and a crowd of awed youngsters. The single Hadrosaurus metatarsal -- a small foot bone -- was a large as a child's thigh bone and provided graphic emphasis of the enormous size of the prehistoric creature.
Other dinosuar-related speakers and honored guests included Dr. William Gallagher, Registrar of the New Jersey State Museum and author of a book about the state's Paleontology sites, Christopher Brees who re-established the Hadrosaurus site as a Boy Scout Project in 1984, Haddon Township teacher Joyce Berry, who lead her pupils in a campaign resulting in the declaration of the Hadrosaurus as the state fossil in 1991, and John W. Bond, a Cherry Hill resident and former Chief of Historic Preservation for the Mid-Atlantic region of the National Parks Service who wrote the nominating report that resulted in the site's recognition as a national landmark. -- Text & Photos by Hoag Levins