Advertisement
  1. News

'Airstream Ranch,' the RV Stonehenge of Tampa Bay, is being torn down

"Airstream Ranch," the RV Stonehenge of Tampa Bay, is being torn down from its perch off Interstate 4 in Dover. Some residents called it a nuisances while thousands came to visit it because they saw it as art. Built by Frank Bates in 2007, he had to go to court to keep Airstream Ranch standing. [ANDRES LEIVA | Times]
Published Feb. 10, 2017

DOVER — For some, it was art. For others, a public nuisance. Very soon, however, the well-known fixture off Interstate 4 will cease to exist.

"Airstream Ranch," the popular and controversial display of RVs lodged in the ground is being torn down.

The display was built in January 2007, when Frank Bates built the project near his dealership, Bates RV. Bates said at the time he was trying to honor the 75th anniversary of Airstream campers, a line of RVs known for their rounded shape.

The Stonehenge-like row of RVs was instantly polarizing. While some residents complained about it, thousands supported the campers and viewed it as art. The site quickly became a tourist site.

UPDATE: Iconic 'Airstream Ranch' display demolished to make room for new Airstream dealership

The project immediately faced opposition from county officials. Hillsborough County Code Enforcement ruled the display violated zoning and sign restrictions and rules against debris and proper storage in 2008.

Bates was fined $100 a day after refusing to remove the campers from the ground.

He was ultimately victorious in 2010 when a panel of judges found the installation to be legal and reversed his fines. The county decided not to appeal the decision.

Bates and his wife, Dorothy, sold Bates RV to RV One Superstores in 2013, and the dealership is now called Tampa RV. The Bateses could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Nor could a representative of RV One Superstores be reached to explain why Airstream Ranch will be no more.

Times senior news researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Brooksville City Hall
    Spending plan includes a new fire fee calculation, new positions and a plan to improve city infrastructure.
  2. The exterior of the new Nova Southeast University Tampa Bay Regional Campus, Clearwater can be seen on Friday. September 20, 2019.  SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    Nova Southeastern University’s new campus off the Courtney Campbell Causeway was funded by Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel.
  3. Michelle Brandon, center, was one of four teachers at Pasco County's Hudson Elementary to be removed after two weeks of classes because of her state "VAM score." Here she is seen, before her transfer, on the first day of school this year, reviewing classroom rules with students. Later, when they broke the news to students, “there were a lot of tears,” Brandon recalled. "It was very difficult.” JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times
    It’s a number that is mostly based on test scores. The state says it helps put the best teachers in struggling schools, but many say it’s not valid.
  4. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.
    Scott renews his talking point in the wake of an investigative story.
  5. 2 hours ago• Pasco
    Pasco Kids First president and CEO Robert Wolf. Becky Bennett/Pasco Kids First
    News and notes from Pasco County
  6. Stay with tampabay.com for the latest news and updates. Times
    Seth Monroe Majors, 31, died at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.
  7. Building sand mandalas will be offered each day throughout Peace Week at Pasco-Hernando State College's Porter Campus. JONES, OCTAVIO  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Peace Week 2019 will be Sept. 30-Oct. 4
  8. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and developments.
    The shooting happened on the 5100 block of Matanzas Avenue, police said.
  9. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates.
    Charges in the incident are pending, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
  10. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talks to reporters in Tampa on Aug. 21. Delays in his filling vacancies on the state's five water management district boards have twice led to those agencies canceling meetings to levy taxes and set budgets, which one expert said was unprecedented. OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES  |  Times
    Vacancies lead to canceling two agencies’ budget meetings.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement