Find more answers to your burning questions about local oddities in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, a column that appears every other week in Seven Days and on sevendaysvt.com.
16 WHAT’S GOOD
Flying Diaper UVM students nap under it in the warm months and ski down it in the snowy ones. But few of them — or their profs or longtime Burlingtonians, for that matter — know the story behind this bizarrely shaped concrete structure that goes by the name of the Flying Diaper. WTF? Located on the university’s Redstone Campus, the Diaper took flight in 1968, thanks to a graduating civil-engineering class. Professor Burdette “Bud” Stearns gave his students a design challenge, and Burlington native William Arnold’s unique shape — a hyperbolic paraboloid, made entirely from straight lines that appear curved — won the competition. Somewhat miraculously, the class then managed to get through university red tape and actually build it, and the Diaper has been flyin’ high ever since.
Winged Monkeys If you could still catch a train out of the old Union Station at the bottom of Main Street, your next stop might just be over the rainbow. At least, that’s what the winged monkeys on the roof suggest. Six intricate metal monkeys on that building and nearby Main Street Landing set a scene straight out of The Wizard of Oz. Late Vermont artist Steve Larrabee forged these steel and copper creatures. The first two were commissioned in 1975 for the now-defunct waterbed shop Emerald City, located on the corner of Bank and St. Paul streets. Over the decades, the monkeys migrated toward the lake for a better view, and the “flock” grew — the original simian couple even welcomed baby twins in 2004. One thing’s for sure: You're not in Kansas anymore. wg
The Seven Days Field Guide to Burlington