ST. HELENA -- The oldest and largest exhibit in Napa County is likely a 66 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton named “Roosevelt.”
“Rosie” is mounted on a steel frame at the Erin Martin Design showroom, 1350 Main St. The skeleton is some 35 feet long, 14 feet high and 9 feet wide. It dominates the gallery space.
A VIP reception for the T-rex was held in late June. After that, Whitney Andreae, showroom manager, said the movement of people to see the skeleton has been building. “It started off slowly but people have been hearing about it, bringing their kids in. It’s been pretty fascinating.”
To prepare for the exhibit, the showroom, was closed for two weeks in June and the windows were covered with paper. The T-rex skeleton was brought to the gallery in crates. A team of three or four people assembled Roosevelt in an hour or two, Andreae said. Roosevelt is owned by Theropoda Exp. LLC, a commercial paleontological company based in Texas.
Andreae said Erin Martin ran into the collector, who was looking for an exhibit space. To bring it to St. Helena was an easy decision, “because it’s so fascinating,” Andreae said. She added it will be displayed in the showroom through the end of August or maybe September. It is for sale for $3.9 million.
Roosevelt, named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is made up of three partial skeletons found in Montana and Wyoming. Two of the skeletons were discovered south of Fort Peck Lake, a hydroelectric dam project constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers as part of FDR’s New Deal in 1940.
It is composed of nearly 45 percent original bones, with the remaining made of high-quality composite, according to Theropoda’s website.
In 2008, Clayton Phipps, a longtime resident of the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, came upon T-rex remains on his cousin's private ranch. He collected the fossils through 2013 and the three skeletons that make up Roosevelt were put together in 2015.
Andreae said the exhibit is “very well timed with 'Jurassic World'” coming out. All the kids love it. They come in and they’re in awe. It’s fun.”
The fifth film in the Jurassic series, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” opened on June 22.
“Sue,” the most original Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, with 90 percent original bones, was discovered in August 1990 by Sue Henrickson. It was sold at auction in 1997 for $8.3 million and is displayed at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.