For many who have recently moved to the Tampa Bay area, one of the great surreal and strange works of art has been carted off. And that is the great roadside Airstream Stonehenge that used to greet us in Dover, Florida off Interstate-4.
However, a real standalone Airstream dealership has emerged to take its place to fill the hole in our hearts. It bills itself as the largest Airstream dealership in the world, and it’s basically a museum of the vehicle’s history.
The history of “Airstream Ranch”
Technically, this lost Floridian artifact was called “Airstream Ranch” built by Frank Bates in January 2007 at the site of Bate RV. The kitsch-y Americana project – which literally was spliced Airstream campers monolithically balanced in the turf – immediately faced challenge from Hillsborough County officials. In fact, according to reporting from the Tampa Bay Times, Bates was fined $100 a day for refusing to remove the campers.
Bates won his case in 2010 and all the fines were rescinded. However, this year Airstream Ranch was officially taken down to seemingly make way for the standalone Airstream superstore – although, no reports have been received as to why it was removed.
A new attraction along I-4
In 2013, Bates RV was sold to RV One Superstores and now the silver-plated trailers are getting a chance to do more than shine in the Florida sun, but rather go home with a lucky family to make some road trip memories.
Airstream is an iconic American brand that goes all the way back to the 1920s. Wally Byam, a Stanford graduate, built the prototype and opened the first factory. Through some ups and down, the silver bullet trailer has been a symbol of American consumerism on the same level as Heinz Ketchup and Campbell Soup.
Nowadays, Airstream is making models to appeal to the millennial crowd with the Nest and Basecamp models. If you are in the market for a trailer or RV, get out to this location and check out this American Classic.
Airstream of Tampa is located at 4654 McIntosh Road, Dover Florida