It was the sinkhole opening seen around the world.
The collapse happened on Feb. 12, 2014, when security cameras captured the floor opening up beneath the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, where General Motors produces the low-slung cult-favorite automobiles.
Viewers around the world saw the floor beneath the cars open up in a nightmare display.
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The sinkhole opening was a riveting clip, and tourists couldn’t wait to get in to see the Sinkhole That Ate the Corvettes.
Now, four years later, the final salvageable Corvette, dubbed the “1962 Sinkhole Corvette,” is being unveiled on the fourth anniversary of the sinkhole opening — on Feb. 12.
The Corvette was donated to the museum in 2011 by David Donoho, who saved up for the car in high school and owned it for over 50 years. Donoho was so protective of his car that friends would tease him about taking it if there was a chance of rain, according to a release from the museum.
Katie Ellison, marketing and communications manager at the museum, said in an e-mail that attendance at the museum has gone up every year since the sinkhole.
That holds even allowing for the museum’s 20th anniversary celebration and once every five years’ Caravan event in 2014. The Caravan event drew 38,000 attendees.
In 2013, the museum drew around 150,000 attendees; in 2017, 228,744. The museum recently topped the USA Today 10Best.com poll of best Kentucky attractions.
In 2016, the museum opened “Corvette Cave In!: The Skydome Sinkhole Experience,” which includes sections on cars affected, the recovery, karst landscapes, what it took to fix the sinkhole and the grand finale combining photos, videos and interactives.
Ultimately, three of the sinkhole Corvettes have been restored — two by General Motors, one by the museum. The remaining five are on display “as is,” according to Ellison.
The sinkhole seen around the world “created greater awareness of the Corvette Museum and some of the other attractions as well,” said Beth Noffsinger, public relations manager for the Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The museum should be commended for “turning a negative situation into a positive by embracing the situation. It really helped our tourism as a whole. ... You couldn’t buy that kind of international attention,” Noffsinger said
If you go
Ceremony honoring restoration of the Tuxedo Black 1962 Corvette at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green.
When: 9 a.m., Feb. 12
Where: 350 Corvette Dr., Bowling Green
For more information: (270) 781-7973
If you can’t go: The ceremony will be broadcast live on the museum’s Facebook page.