FOWLERTON, IND. (WPTA21)-We visited tiny Fowlerton, Indiana awhile back to a local farm once owned by the Wright Brothers…yea, those Wright Brothers. But Fowlerton boasts another claim to world fame, the remains of which are still on display 800 miles away in New York City. For a hundred years this has been the premier attraction at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, an immense almost perfect skeleton of a giant woolly mammoth, the most complete skeleton of the glacial age monster ever found. In 1904 following a flood near Grant County’s Lake Galatia a farmer found what looked like white logs bleaching in the sun along Barn Creek which feeds into the lake. Farmers, their families and others began digging. In days they’d unearthed the entire skeleton of the beast.
“The amount of excitement that was generated when they found the bones,” says Grant County librarian Rhonda Stoffer, “headlines articles and people saying it was the biggest ever found and there really was just excitement about finding the old bones.”
Woolly mammoths roamed much of prehistoric Indiana for thousands of years following the last ice age before they went extinct. Scientists say the Grant County mammoth died eleven thousand years ago probably after it got stuck in deep mud and drowned. It lay undisturbed under the muck of Lake Galatia for eleven hundred centuries before a band of curious Hoosiers dug it up. The excavators assembled the skeleton in a barnyard, charged admission for folks to come see it. But in 1906 Dora Gift who owned the land it was found on sold the remains to the New York museum for six hundred dollars. It has remained on display ever since attracting millions of the curious from around the world. It faces west, toward the land it once roamed and the place where it died resting under the rich farmland of 21 Country, until a spring deluge unmasked its secrets.