Sentinel at Beach and Peach

by Tim Gilmore, 6/17/2012

Beneath the present strip mall containing an auto parts store and a pornographic video store is the past landscape of a small obstacle course and plaster animals. Palimpsest. You don’t see anything anywhere if you don’t see palimpsest.

Still here. Corner of Beach and Peach. Twenty feet tall, leaning on a giant femur, teeth jagged. He has become the unwitting historic icon of Beach Boulevard, which one wag called the Champs Elysees of Jacksonville, a street stretching from downtown to the beach with strip malls and box stores and gas stations quickly crumbled and outdated. In 30 and 40 years, Beach Boulevard’s construction managed to look much older than much older parts of town.

The faded orange plaster Tyrannosaurus Rex is older than almost everything constructed around him. He came with the Putt-Putt miniature golf course in the early 1960s. He stayed when the Putt-Putt course became Goony Golf in the early 1970s. He stayed when Smoker’s Video moved in behind him in the early 2000s.

He has red bulbs in his eyes that light up at night. You can’t really hold it against him. He seems carnivorously kind.