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Mammoth site looking to go public

Feb. 8, 2001

50-acre expansion of city's land holds tourism potential

By EMILY MCWHORTER

Staff Writer

Most Baylor students do not realize that just down the road a huge 28,000-year-old mammoth site exists, but a group of local residents is working to change that.

Officials from the city of Waco and the Strecker Museum hope to open this unique mammoth site, which was first discovered in 1978, to the public as a tourist attraction.

The city of Waco owns the site and is in the process of acquiring 50 acres of land bordering the site on the west and south sides connecting to Steinbeck Bend Road in north Waco.

This land added to the previously purchased 55 acres makes the opening of the site for tourism more likely.

The site is significant because it holds the world's largest number of mammoths that died from the same event, said Calvin Smith, director of the Strecker Museum Complex and chairman of museum studies.

'The land has had several owners since discovery, and the unique aspect is that all of them have seen the importance in allowing the museum to dig,' David Lintz, Strecker Museum registrar, said.

Liz McGlasson said her husband bought the property as an investment after the site was discovered.

'The mammoth site is a wonderful thing for Waco, and it is something we should try to develop,' McGlasson said.

McGlasson said she decided to lower the price of the property by $50,000 to speed up plans for development.

In January 'Buddy' and Virginia Bostick donated $100,00, and Don and Pam Moes donated $25,000 for the 50 acres of land leading to Steinbeck Bend Road.

The Waco mammoth site is located in north Waco between the Bosque and Brazos rivers. Lintz was one of the first people out to see and begin excavating the site.

Lintz said he went out to excavate the site after hours and on weekends with students beginning in April 1978. The process was slow and even came to a halt between 1981 and 1984 because of a lack of financial support, he said.

'I had thought Baylor would be jumping on it more than they have,' McGlasson said.

'This mammoth site could put not just Baylor, but Waco on the map as a destination,' Lintz said.

Smith said that at least 23 Columbian mammoths have been discovered so far.

The interesting aspect of the site is that the mammoths were under environmental distress when they died, Smith said.

'There are many things to look at, but we believe the sudden death was caused by a flood, and the mammoths were quickly covered with mud and water,' Lintz said.

The mammoths were in a possible defensive position with the adults encircling the juveniles when they died, Smith said. There is also evidence that two of the adults were attempting to lift the young out of danger.

The time frame for development on the park will depend on further donations, Lintz said.

The Strecker Museum has an exhibit of fiberglass casts of some of the mammoth bones and is working on a mechanical reproduction of a mammoth to show movement, Lintz said.

from MAMMOTH page 1