WGNS Visited Corvette Museum's Sinkhole

At 5:39AM on February 12, 2014, the sinkhole opened inside the Skydome at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Video from this room is streamed 24/7 on the internet as well as pictures made from the surveillance cameras. The unusual event was fully documents in color and motion.
A total of 8 vintage Vette's fell into the cave that was unknown below the dome's floor.
Not only was the hole 60-feet long and 40-feet wide, it was also 30-feet deep. In days to follow, spelunkers explored the opening and found it connected to a huge cavern beneath the sinkhole. In fact, the sinkhole was created when the roof of one of the large rooms in the cave collapsed.
The directors of the Corvette Museum have decided to keep the damaged Vette's and the sinkhole complete until Labor Day. Traffic to the Bowling Green site has increase 16 per cent to see the hole.
This was the second car out of the sinkhole. This 1993 "Ruby" 40th Anniversary Corvette was on a lift, and as a result fell the farthest. It was donated to the museum by Hill and Karen Clark.
This was the first car out and it was on top with very little damage. In fact, the 2009 Blue Devil ZR1 started-up and was driven out the door of the Skydome area. It was on loan from GM.
The 8 Corvettes had dramatically varying degrees of damage. The karst geology in Bowling Green is very similar to that of Murfreesboro. You can also see the heavy clay soil still covering the cars, which is also similar to Rutherford County.
This 2009 model was the 1,500,000th Corvette to come off the line. It was buried deep in the sinkhole, and was not uncovered and brought out until 2 days later.
Obviously, the heaviest damage went to this 2001 Mallett Hammer conversion vehicle. The 700 HP engine was about the only thing that was intact. It was crushed with boulders and debris, and not even seen initially. This unique Corvette was donated last December (2013) by Kevin and Linda Helmintoller.

The sinkhole that opened at 5:39 Wednesday morning, February 12, 2014, beneath the Skydome at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green is so fascinating that it has boosted attendance and sales dramatically. 

WGNS' Bart Walker and his friend John Todd, both Corvette enthusiasts, took a jaunt to the Kentucky town to check-out the sinkhole. Walker exclaimed, "It's huge, and the damage to the Vette's was much more than expected. What you see in the media does not come close to revealing the extensive damage done."

Value of the 8 Corvettes that were swallowed by the sinkhole exceeds $1-million. The giant pit has become a magnetic attraction for visitors to the museum. 

The "Rest of the Sinkhole Story"

Corvette Museum's Marketing and Communications Director Katie Frassinelli (left photo) showed John and Bart around, and pointed out that the cave is even deeper than what you see. It's a massive oval that is 60-feet long, 45-feet wide and 33-feet deep. That's huge, but that's just the surface. The museum hired spelunkers to go down and they discovered a huge cave. 

She explained, "The sinkhole was the result of the cave's ceiling collapsing." 

WGNS asked if they had considered creating a safe entrance to the cave, make user friendly walkways through the deep cavern and creating another attraction at the museum?

We didn't get a straight "yes" or "no", but the pause and twinkle in her eye led us to believe that was an issue that is still unresolved. 

There has been a 59 per cent increase in visitors from March to June, when compared to the same period last year. In addition, gift shop sales have increased 58 per cent, Corvette Museum memberships have exploded 72 percent, along with a 65 per cent increase in overall revenue over the 4-month period. 

In light of the positive impact the sinkhole has had on attendance, the museum's directors have voted to leave it in tact for now. 

To see videos of the sinkhole from the Corvette Museum CLICK HERE

Here is the full conversation Bart had with Katie at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green . . .

  (12:39)

WGNS has Corvette ties that goes deeper than enthusiasts. For those of you who have lived in the 'Boro for awhile, you may remember the way WGNS used to quickly get to the scene of local news (see below).

Corvette Museum Admission Prices: $10 Adults, $8 Seniors, $5 Youth (6-16), Under 6 Free, Family (same household) $25, Active Military Free. Various discounts and coupons available. Group rates offered for 15 or more people.

Hours: Open everyday, 8am-5pm Central. The last admission tickets will be sold at 4:30pm CT. 

Directions: If you're using GPS, their street address is 350 Corvette Drive, Bowling Green, KY 42101.  Take I-65 to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Exit 28. Turn left at first stoplight. Enter at Gate A or Gate B.

Contact Info: 800-538-3883 or 270-781-7973

 

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