The Headless Dinosaur by August Herwede

As you drive state road 476 between Lake Lindsey and Nobleton you come across a headless dinosaur, brontosaurus to be exact, next to the road. It is very realistic and on some foggy mornings it would not be difficult to imagine it coming alive. You can’t help but wonder how did it get there and who built it.

The answer to those questions are easy. It was built there by August Herwede who lived in the little white house behind the brontosaurus. August who was born September 21, 1886 was a painter and interior decorator. After his wife passed in 1964 August began to build concrete animals in his yard surrounding the house.

He built an elephant, wooly mammoth, a pair of lions, fighting dinosaurs and was working on his biggest creation a brontosaurus. In two years he built more than 30 animals around the house.

He would have liked to have started earlier, but apparently there were complications. “I wanted to build an elephant but Mama wouldn’t let me.” The St Petersburg Times quoted August as having told his daughter-in-law.

August is said to have been inspired to build the dinosaurs by the 1964 World’s Fair held in New York which featured a dinosaur exhibit named “Dinoland”. Dinoland, sponsored by Sinclair Oil, featured 9 full sized dinosaurs including the company’s trademark brontosaurus. Sinclair Oil also built a service station on US 19 in the shape of a brontosaurus in 1964.

August built about two thirds of his brontosaurus. Then one day while high up on the scaffolding working on the back of the brontosaurus August fell and broke both legs. He died a few months later at the age of 80 in 1967 unable to finish the brontosaurus.

August’s menagerie was sold off piece by piece until only the unfinished brontosaurus was all that was left behind. So the next time you find yourself on state road 476 take a minute to admire August’s unfinished brontosaurus. It is impressive in both its realism and detail. If you try hard enough you may even be able to picture the little white house surrounded by animals as it was almost 50 years ago.

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