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The Beautiful Atomic Tunnel

The Beautiful Atomic Tunnel, this 1950’s attraction was located Behind Port Orange, South of Daytona Beach on US 1.

It was Constructed by W.R. Johnston and was a white concrete building in the shape of a tube. It was conceived primarily as a showcase and shop for exotic orchids.

It stood along southbound U.S. 1, on the north end of Port Orange, on a spot currently occupied by a trailer park its neighbor was (and still is) The Last Resort Biker Bar, made famous as the site where serial killer Aileen Wuornos was tracked down in 1991.

The attraction featured tropical birds, a monkey, and “Happy, the walking fish,” an Asian walking catfish that would flip from one pond to another.

When it opened as “Tropicolor Fantasy, The Tunnel Beautiful” it was not exactly an immediate hit. This was the 1950’s, when the news was filled with tales of atomic bomb tests and how the atom would be harnessed to work for everyone in the new nuclear power plants that were popping up all over.

The 1950s were exciting times, and things Atomic were at the center of it all. Especially movies like “Them and Attack of the 50′ Woman”

While Johnston tried to transfer some of that excitement to his attraction by changing the name to “Atomic Tunnel” and concocting a story about how the tunnel was originally intended as a bomb shelter (the tunnel was the very last place you would have wanted to be in the event of an actual Russian attack) Though looking at Orchids as you disintegrated wouldn’t suck.

The attraction however was never really a success and in the late 1950’s the tunnel was demolished conventional means, not atomic weapons.




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Staff Writer

Staff Writer

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