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Kevin

Hi, my name is Kevin Williams and I am owner of Oasis Newsfeatures and editor of The Amish Cook newspaper column.

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33 Comments

  1. Thom

    In the 50s it was a NIKE missile base, and has been in hands of private owners for many years. There is a large underground area with massive elevator (for missiles I presume). One owner stored cars underground. The elephant appeared in a few parades, I believe, probably in election years. He has been standing there for quite some time. I don’t know current owner or any details.

    Reply
    1. Kevin

      Thom, thank you for that..very interesting…mystery partially solved…although still would be interesting to know more about the elephant and how it came to be there….Didn’t know there was ever a missile base in Dillsboro!

      Reply
      1. David

        The property and elephant belong to a relative of mine. I can’t say why the elephant came about but it has been around for probably 35 years or so.

        The previous person was correct about storing old vehicles in a bunker and another was turned into a house that was featured in several magazines. The elephant may be discussed there.

      2. Kevin

        These are all such interesting comments. Thank you for sharing. I take it we have some people from Dillsboro who saw the post somehow? The elephant being part of an old traveling carnival sounds really neat, I’d love to hear more about that….Yes, Sarah, if you could ask your father and found out more info about the elephant, that’d be great…I’m sure our readers would be interested! Or at least I would be:)

      3. Kevin

        David, Thanks, I’ll have to maybe track down those magazine articles!

      4. aaron

        There are underground silos I believe one have been turned into a home. I know at one point in time the owner had quite a few corvettes an had it set up like a museum an done tours as far as the elephant it’s been there as long as I can remember and I’m 32.

      5. Robby

        The property is far from abandoned even though it appears it is. There are still cars stored in the buildings there. Every now and again you will see different cars sitting outside. The elephant, I believe was property of one of the owners and stored inside. When the property changed hands it was sat outside. Many many years ago it was painted very nice. The years outside have taken its tole

      6. Wayne

        The property was used to house a traveling carnival also. The buildings were the living quarters for the carnies during off season. Perhaps the elephant was part of the show.

      7. Joel VanCleave

        I am going to have to look into this as I am from Dillsboro and have never heard about Carni’s living there. My grandmother is like a history book of the area so she may have info on this. There is also another similar property off of Texas Gas Rd. just a few miles outside of Dillsboro off of Highway 50.

    2. Karla

      My dad purchased the base over 30 years ago. Some of the buildings contained cars amongst other things but back to the mystery of the “Elephant”. My dad bought it and brought home after my mother was upset and didn’t want it is exactly why he bought it! I die laughing about it every time I see it..my mother’s look on her face when we went by it riding horses was priceless. Guess my dad keeps it to remember my mother by since she has passed away.
      Karla Whisman

      Reply
      1. Kevin

        Karla,
        Thanks for stopping by. How did you see our post? And thank you for the story about the elephant. Do you know any of the elephant’s “backstory” such as where he bought it? How old it is? Definitely a fun landmark along a kinda boring stretch of 262! – Kevin

      2. Karla

        My parents were out shopping one day, which they both loved various and oddity things. All I know is my dad had to have it and my mother said she didn’t want a pachyderm. I believe it was bought from an individual in Versailles on what I can recollect. Heard it was used in Bluegrass concerts in the past. I saw this post on Facebook and after reading some of the comments some of the people would like to know about the story behind the Elephant. It was truly nice seeing the pictures..brought back memories.
        Karla

  2. Josh

    It has been the since I been 4 or 5 I’m 27 now I can remember when it’s color was shiny an glossy. I was always told the land that it sits on used to be part of “Jefferson Proving grounds” but I’m really not sure

    Reply
  3. Sarah

    I know the owner of the NIKE base. He is an interesting person and a family friend (and a distant cousin by marriage). He has a collection of oddities but this one if i remember correctly was used in the Dillsboro parades and at one point for advertising his business. Though that was before i came about. It has been there for as long as i can remember and will forever be a part of my childhood along with the NIKE base itself.

    Reply
    1. Sarah

      I can inquire with my father on further information if you would like. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

      Reply
      1. Melinda

        The Mystery Elephant was made back in 1969 or 1970 by my Dad & a friend of his, Terry Garvin. They made it for Terry’s Mom who was running for governor. They used it as a political piece in a parade in downtown Cincinnati. It was later sold at an auction. The guy that owned the base in Dillsboro bought it.

      2. Kevin

        Ah-ha! Thanks, Melinda, I was trying to put an age on the elephant, and we have one now…Such a neat story and a neat elephant…hope it is a welcoming beacon for Dillsboro for years to come.

  4. Liz C.

    Some that have already commented would probably know if this is true or not, but I have heard that the owner that built the underground house was trying to hide it from the government for tax reasons. I always thought it was an interesting place regardless and have always been curious so thanks for the article.

    Reply
    1. Gayla

      Liz, the underground silo was part of the Nike (military) base. The person who bought it made a nice home and a place to work on his cars in the silo. A while back there was a huge article with pictures about him and his accomplishments in a magazine/newpaper. (forgot which)

      Reply
  5. Gayla

    As the admin of the Dillsboro Indiana Facebook page, I put this article on the Dillsboro page and have gotten many comments and likes. Thanks to my friend Thom (commented above) who had posted it on his FB page. As an ‘almost’ lifetime resident of Dillsboro, I find the comments above are true. A comment from a friend of the current owner today said that Mr. Whisman said he went to purchase a car and when that failed, he said he wasn’t going home without ‘something’. I was a teen in the late 1960’s and the Nike base was still active. The town had many soldiers ‘come to town’ or lived in town. It closed sometime between 1970 and 1974 and was sold in two parcels to different people I believe. The one with the elephant is on State Hwy. 262….the other part is on Texas Gas Road with the address technically in Aurora, IN.

    Reply
    1. Gayla

      PS: This article has gone wild with shares on FB. I know 19 people have shared it since I posted it 24 hours ago and there are many people who have shared from those 19!

      Reply
      1. Kevin

        Gayla – Well, thanks, that may explain the traffic crush…Amish365.com is a busy site most days anyway, but, sheesh, the elephant story crushed anything Amish I’ve ever written about….I know little about Dillsboro other than passing through on 50…Thought there was a Red Wolf Santuctary or something like that in your area that I’ve always wanted to visit…but thanks to all for the great info!

  6. Sherry Evans DeMoss

    The Mystery Elephant was made back in 1969 or 1970 by my Dad & a friend of his, Terry Garvin. They made it for Terry’s Mom who was running for governor. They used it as a political piece in a parade in downtown Cincinnati. It was later sold at an auction. The guy , Harold Whisman ,that owned the Army Nike base in Dillsboro bought it. Melinda Goodwin Baxter

    Reply
  7. Kurt

    Just FYI the Red Wolf Sanctuary was relocated to my hometown of Rising Sun IN on the opposite end of The 262 from the Elephant. I guess they’re still giving tours by appointment idk for sure. Also not positive of all they house now but have had bears,cougars,falcons and of course wolves atone time or another. Surely there’s a website if ya Google it!

    Reply
    1. Kevin

      Good to know, Kurt, I guess there’s still a lot about SE Indiana I don’t know even though it’s less than an hour from me!

      Reply
  8. Sarah

    The sanctuary has wolves 3 of which are new additions and just got released into their new official enclosure, foxes, coyotes, a puma/cougar, 4 black bears, a black vulture, a great horned owl, a barn (or bard i cant remember exactly right now) owl, and a hawk. They give tours by appointment. Paul who owns and runs the place is wonderful though quite odd. Also, they are always in need of donations and/or volunteers to help out.

    Reply
    1. Kevin

      Sarah, thanks for the info…sounds like it might be a neat place to visit!

      Reply
  9. Sarah

    The sanctuary is cool to see. But don’t expect a zoo like setting. It is built for the animals safety and comfort, not for humans. Sometimes you cant see the wolves and foxes or most of the coyotes (minus snagz, he is always glad to see people due to his being hand raised which was necessary because he sustained injuries that prevents him from being able to survive in the wild.) While you’re there ask paul to get them to howl. It is a once in a lifetime surreal experience. I volunteered there for most of a summer and have gone back when i can. It is like a little piece of protected woodlands right next to a town.

    Reply
    1. Kevin

      Okay, Sarah, I’m sold, I’ll have to check it out soon, thanks for the info!:)

      Reply
  10. Sherry Evans DeMoss

    Harold Whisman Well now I know why my ears were burning the other day. To answer them comments about the elephant. There seems to be a little bit of truth in most of the comments, but hardly any were exactly correct. I bought the elephant when I went to inch to buy a corvette when I was in that business. He had already sold the car but I was in a buying mood and had traveled that far so I ought packy from him, not from an auction. Dave goodwin did help build it. Stan Walton ( daddy bug ) did have it for the church one time. Stan was the last one to paint him. I had planned on giving him a facelift this year but got involved in to many other projects. I did rent or loan him to different people over the years. ( some funny stories there

    Reply
    1. Kevin

      Thanks, Sherry, for the insight and for visiting Amish365.com! So what year was the elephant built? And what is it made out of? Thanks for sharing the info!

      Reply
  11. Sherry Evans DeMoss

    The above comments are from the owner of the property and elephant

    Reply

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