WILL CARL KEEP TRUCKIN’?

THESE PARTS Entrepreneur CARL CORNELIUS, who turned his internationally acclaimed Carl’s Corner truck stop into a municipality south of Dallas in 1986, had been planning to print and market a book entitled You, Too, Can Own A Tbwn. . . Here’s How. After the events of August 6, 1990-“a day that will live in infamy in Carl’s Corner”-Cornelius can include a chapter on “What To Do After The Town Burns Down.”

The colorful truck stop proprietor, who has “out-of-body experiences like most people take a leak,” had a premonition that flames would destroy his empire; three days later, that came to pass. He is quick to emphasize, however, that the world has not heard the last from Carl and his Corner. Architect MARTIN GROWALD, who is credited with designing the Infomart and Fort Worth’s Tandy Center, has developed a concept that could convert Carl’s into the only significant visual attraction on the I-35 wasteland between Dallas and Austin.

The scheme calls for truck trailers to be converted into buildings that would serve as a dining and motel facility. “They would be fused to look like a giant pile-up on I-35 E,” says Growald. A portion of the burned ruins will remain, sort of like they do with those bombed-out churches in Europe, as a memorial to what was there before the fire.

“This has always been a fantasy of mine,” says Growald. “The American trucking industry has never been dignified architecturally.” A golf course featuring tiny 18-wheelers as golf carts is also being planned.

Cornelius remains optimistic that, “with the help of God and Fina,” the truck stop community will soon be back on its feet. “Atlanta. Chicago, and San Francisco burned down and then made a comeback,” he says. “There’s no reason why we can’t do it, too.”

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