Exhibit at CHOA's Festival of Trees

Sometimes the design and building of models is only half the battle...

In Fall of 2002 I built two very large models: The Eiffel Tower and The Golden Gate Bridge. These were commissioned by the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta organization (CHOA) for their 'Festival of Trees' event in early December.

I had completed the models by mid-November, and after keeping them safe at my place for a couple more weeks, I then had the task of getting them up to Atlanta and displayed in the Georgia World Congress Center.

These very large models were built in such a way as to be deconstructed into large sections for transport, but the fact that they were built with no glue made the job very nerve wracking.

A bit of trivia for you: if built wisely, a 12 foot tall Eiffel Tower can fit completely within a Dodge Caravan minivan.

That's a minivan belonging to James Trobaugh of The North Georgia LEGO Train Club whose help (above a beyond the vehicle) was immense and appreciated.

With the tower tucked into the van, I was able to fit the whole Golden Gate Bridge in my car.

We then drove 2 hours on the Interstate highway to get to the convention center.

Amazingly there was very little damage during the trek. We had constructed many temporary support pillars for the Tower, and these helped it survive most of the bumps and jostles during the ride. The only real damage occurred at the final exit in Atlanta when a bump and turn combination one of the smaller second tier quadrants to topple. Considering the size of this model, though, and the fact that the damage was repaired in less than five minutes, I consider the whole journey a small miracle.

Once arrived I then had to unload the sections.

James and I then began stacking up the large modules into the final configurations. After each addition I had to double check the integrity of the whole model.

In addition to the inherent 12 foot height of the Tower, it was being assembled on a 2 foot high platform. A hydraulic lift was needed to stack the final three pieces (a big thank you to the lift operator for his steady maneuvering skills). With each additional piece the model grew about 2 more feet. The final piece was put on... and the job was complete.

The Bridge, being much lower to the ground, was much easier to assemble (though it did take a greater amount of time on account of all those darn 'cables').

By 5:30 PM we finished assembly.

I had been given a whole week for actual onsite setup of these models. I had expected it to take three days of moving and assembling. I had hoped it could be done in two. I never dreamed that I could get both models transported and reassembled in one day's time.


All digital photographs were taken by James Trobaugh. I encourage you to look through even more of them at the NGLTC Gallery.

James also snapped some shots after he and other NGLTC members decorated the area about the models: Tower, Bridge, and Index.

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