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Fire Rescue Station 3 will host a twin towers sculpture.
By CHANDRA BROADWATER, Times Staff Writer
Published November 17, 2007
[Ron Thompson | Times]
SPRING HILL - Two days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Ed Schramling sat at home watching the news on TV. Over and over, the former metal fabricator watched the footage of planes slamming into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
Then he grabbed a used envelope and started drawing on the back of it.
He sketched the towers as they were before the attack, sitting on top of a clock frozen in time - exactly when the planes hit.
Six years and three stainless steel sculptures of the towers later, Schramling's artistic inspiration from that day has landed in Spring Hill.
Today the 87-year-old artist will be at the dedication of the rebuilt Spring Hill Fire Rescue Station 3, where one of his twin towers memorial sculptures will be placed on display.
Since arriving in Florida a few months ago, the piece - appraised at $15,000 - has been at the Fire District's headquarters on Bob Hartung Court.
"After the attacks, I made up my mind to make some sort of memorial," Schramling said earlier this week from his home in Columbus, Pa. "I think the firefighters will appreciate having it."
The donated sculpture is one of two smaller pieces that stand 7 feet tall. The larger one, which Schramling still has, is 9 feet tall. He gave the second smaller one to a museum in Pennsylvania.
The master metal worker's design won the international Team Twin Towers Design Competition last year. The event was sponsored by those who believe that the towers should be rebuilt as they were.
The shiny steel piece darts into the air from a large square wooden base. The near-scale design also includes four brass roses at the bottom, which Schramling made from thousands of hits from his hammer. He intended the flowers, and what went into making them, to symbolize the people who died in the attacks.
Schramling deciding to donate one of his pieces to Spring Hill Fire after a long search for a proper recipient. With the help of longtime friend, Gordon Finn, the sculpture eventually made its way to Spring Hill through Fire District Chaplain Jack Martin.
Martin, who runs a national firefighter Web site, first heard about Schramling nearly two years ago. He initially helped Schramling and Finn search for a place to put the piece in New York, where the artist first thought it belonged.
But organizations there politely declined, citing the symbolism of the towers during a time when the redesign had become a touchy subject.
Later, Finn and Martin got to thinking that Spring Hill would be an ideal location. "I explained to him the New York connection that we have here," Martin said. "It's a great fit."
Eventually, the Fire District will put the piece on display at Station No. 2, located next to headquarters. Plans are in the works for the soon-to-be renovated building to be dedicated to those firefighters who lost their lives during the attacks.
Until then, the Fire District wanted to give the master metal sculptor the satisfaction of seeing that his art has a home for the time being at Station 3.
The renovation-turned-rebuild of the 22-year-old structure, at a corner of Spring Hill Drive and Whitewood Avenue, has been under way since the summer of 2006. The new 6,400-square-foot brick structure replaces the leaky, moldy station that used to be there. The building will be named after Lt. Stephen P. "Gunny" Wilson, a former district firefighter.
Called the "Taj Mahal" by critics, Fire District officials have said that the station looks bigger than it is. They've also said that it was built to accommodate growth. Firefighters started moving into the new building in recent weeks.
"They were elated even when we got them a mobile home to move into during the construction that didn't have rats and mold," said Chief J.J. Morrison.
"It's a station that services our community well and more importantly our needs for the future. And we'll be glad to have Mr. Schramling and Mrs. Wilson here to pay tribute to both of them," he said, referring to Lt. Wilson's widow.
Chandra Broadwater can be reached at email@example.com or 352 848-1432.
If you go
Fire station dedication
The dedication of Spring Hill Fire Rescue Station 3, 13240 Spring Hill Drive, with artist Ed Schramling begins at 10 a.m. today. Food will be available and the Fire Safety House will be on site for children.
[Last modified November 16, 2007, 20:52:29]