Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dome Photos from The Monolithic Dome Institute's Photo Archives, Vol. IV

My father, David B. South, and his brothers Barry South and Randy South invented and patented the process for building the Monolithic Dome, but the Monolithic Dome story didn't just begin in when they built their first concrete dome in 1976. The Monolithic Dome story has its roots in Island Park, Idaho, where a hard-working, hard-playing family ran a sawmill.

Image: David, Barry and Randy South's parents, Barney and Marjorie South.

The South Family ran a successful sawmill in Island Park for many years. When Barney and Marj were married, they naturally kept right on working the sawmill. In 1939, Marj gave birth to her first son, David B. South.

Image: David B. South in 1939.

Shortly after David was born, Marj gave birth to a second son, Philip Barry South. David and Barry were inseparable as children. I often listened to my Grandmother, Marj, reminisce about how Dad and Barry did everything together...they worked together, played together, and got into trouble together. I believe all of their youthful creativity--plotting and implementing plan after plan--yielded the critical and creative thinking and teamwork it took to revolutionize and revitalize thin-shell construction.

One such industrious plan was set in motion by a concerned mother and a comic strip. When my father was a child, the cartoon, "Popeye" was popular. The character, Popeye, was a sailor who smoked a pipe which, in turn, gave him a speech impediment. Popeye also had a distinctive squinty eye. In the cartoon, Popeye would become abnormally strong after he ate his spinach which would allow him to "save the day" and become the hero.

My grandmother was very health conscious and encouraged her children to eat their vegetables. She was having trouble getting Dad and Barry, to eat spinach. She decided to appeal to them on their own level and encouraged them to eat spinach so they could be strong like Popeye. She told them that the spinach made Popeye strong enough to tear down bridges.

The family was camped in Island Park, Idaho, when Marj encouraged David and Barry to eat their spinach--citing the super strength of Popeye and his bridge disabling abilities. David and Barry believed their mother, Marj, and promptly ate all their spinach.

Image: David and Barry South.

The ditches and streams in the area all had makeshift plank bridges across them. After David and Barry ate their spinach, they set out to see if the Popeye story was true. To their surprise, it was! They took down all the plank bridges they could find and after they ran out of plank bridges, they went to work on a county bridge. They were well on their way to dismantling it when someone caught up to them and made them stop. Apparently, the county had to do repair work on it later.

Whenever my father is faced with spinach, he gets his cheshire cat smile--and if you ask nicely, he will fondly recall the Popeye adventure he had with his best friend and brother, Barry.

With the help of their brother, Randy, who was born years later, David and Barry made possible some of the most graceful and functional structures on the planet. I am sharing a few more of the beautiful dome photos from the Monolithic Dome Institute's archives.

Image: The NCTC Performing Arts Center in Gainesville, Texas. Source: The Monolithic Dome Institute.

Image: Thousand Oaks Gym in Texas. Source: The Monolithic Dome Institute.

Image: A double rainbow at the Byrne Residence in Texas. Source: The Monolithic Dome Institute.

Image: Bishop Nevins Academy, Florida. Source: The Monolithic Dome Institute.

Image: Monolithic Dome Vacation Paradise in Beliz. Source: The Monolithic Dome Institute.

Image: Grand Meadow, Minnesota Dome School--almost finished. Source: The Monolithic Dome Institute; photo by Imagery Photos.

Image: Office and housing complexes in India. Source: The Monolithic Dome Institute.

Image: School in Payson, Arizona. Source: The Monolithic Dome Institute.

Image: The Avalon Gymnasium in Avalon, Texas. Source: The Monolithic Dome Institute.

Image: Callisto in Italy, Texas. Source: The Monolithic Dome Institute.

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