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Randy Treadway

Whatever happened to the Santa Maria?

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Randy, do you happen to know how the fire started?<div align="right"></div>

The fire department inspector pointed to interior painters in the forward hold leaving oily rags which resulted in spontaneous combustion, but since it burned right down to the waterline, nothing was conclusive. Speculation and rumor swirled around arson to get at the insurance, since it was losing money as an attraction and represented more in an insurance claim than it was worth as an asset. But nothing from that either, just rumor. I haven't heard specifically whether the insurance company paid off Santa Maria Corp. or not.

Were tourists allowed to walk on the Santa Maria?

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Yes indeed, both at the World's Fair and at later exhibitions at Washington, D.C. (short-lived), St. Louis, and Titusville. All four locations required a small admission fee to walk aboard and look around. There were wooden carvings of the sailors and Columbus.

But in its last years there just weren't enough people buying those tickets to make it financially viable as a tourist attraction.

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Recently I saw some film footage- I think maybe on a VHS tape that Eric sent me- of the flatbed trailer carrying the Santa Maria, when it got stuck in the mud at the Fairgrounds, and the various 'hardhats' and 'suits' were trying to figure out what to do.

I think PTUer Hoodlock remembered that incident when he was a kid in the neighborhood- he said something about it a couple of years ago here.

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