Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dino Week: Haddonfield

The town of Haddonfield, NJ in Camden County is known for lots of things.  It is a thriving community with beautiful streets and shops and a rich history.  When visiting Haddonfield, one can't help but be fascinated by one particular part of its amazing history.  This picturesque town was the location of the discovery of the famous Hadrosaurus foulkii by William Parker Foulke in 1858 on farmland owned by John E. Hopkins.  The Hadrosaurus foulkii would go on to be the very first fully mounted dinosaur skeleton to be display by the scientific community (assembled painstakingly by Dr. John Leidy from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia).

After time had passed, the ravine where the bones were discovered was mainly forgotten until 1984 when a local Boy Scout named Christopher Brees began the search for the actual site for his Eagle Scout qualification program.  Brees appealed to the town council for permission to clean and mark the site and then received grants from the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Junior Women's Club of Haddonfield to fund his endeavors.  He placed a 700lb light brown stone with a bronze plaque mounted on the front to mark the ravine where the bones were discovered.  The stream in the ravine, now named Hadrosaurus Run, has marl deposits where ancient seashells are still being uncovered today.  When Daily Vacation visited, we were delighted to find that someone had had the thoughtfulness or sense of humor to leave a collection of dinosaur toys on a nearby picnic bench.

In 1988, Joyce Berry, a fourth grade teacher at Strawbridge Elementary School, lead her class in proposing a bill to make the Hadrosaurus foulkii the official dinosaur of the state of New Jersey.  On June 13th, 1991, Governor Jim Florio signed legislature to pass this law.  In 1993, historical consultant, John W. Bond, wrote a report to the U.S. National Parks Service nominating the site in Haddonfield to be recognized as a National Historical Landmark.  On October 12th, 1994, the location received a Declaration of National Status with a Dedication Ceremony at Hadrosaurus Park taking place a year later in 1995 with officials from the Borough of Haddonfield, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Department of the Interior and a crowd of over 400 people (including 16 year old Christopher Maslanka who arrived wearing a giant rubber Hadrosaurus foulkii costume).

Then in June 2002, Haddonfield announced plans to erect a Hadrosaurus foulkii statue in Lantern Lane in their downtown area just blocks from Hadrosaur Park.  "Haddy" was unveiled in 2003, a creation from sculptor and Haddonfield resident, John Giannotti.  The statue is now a popular tourist attraction with visitors from all over the world coming to take pictures of and with Haddy.

A Dinosaur tour of Greater Philadelphia would not be complete without a stop in the town where the whole thing started.  Hang out with Haddy along Lantern Lane in beautiful downtown Haddonfield and then head to the quiet Hadrosaurus Park at the end of a small side street to see for yourself one of the most scientifically and historically significant locations in the entire region.

More photos from Daily Vacation's VISIT.
More information on the Hadrosaurus foulkii.
 Day 1 - Delaware Museum of Natural History
 Day 2 - Philadelphia Zoo
 Day 3 - Adventure Aquarium
Day 4 - Academy of Natural Sciences

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