A “Great Wall of China” Replica for Bedford, Indiana Cost Taxpayers $875,000
In the late 1970s, the city of Bedford, Indiana thought it had a golden idea to create a Limestone Tourist Park, complete with limestone replicas of the Great Wall of China and Pyramid of Giza to lure tourists to its small town of about 14,000.
Bedford, “the Limestone Capital of the World” because of its large limestone quarries, got the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to give it $200,000 (today $875,000, inflation adjusted) to build the Great Wall of China replica.
Some say the wall was to be 650 feet long, others say 800 feet long.
The town also received a $50,000 grant ($220,000 today, inflation adjusted) to build a one-tenth scale replica (95-foot tall) of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The two replicas were to be marketed as a combined Limestone Tourist Park on the edge of a limestone quarry.
But neither project received enough funding to be completed and they were left unfinished. The projects lay in ruins, with large chunks of limestone scattered among rusting trucks nine miles north of Bedford.
The Limestone Tourist Park turned into fodder for a Golden Fleece award in 1981 from then-Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, who presented the tongue-in-cheek award to those wasting taxpayer money on foolish projects.
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