WAXAHACHIE — It was once left on the shoulder of U.S. Highway 287 near the 14th Street Bridge in Midlothian. It then moved to a four-month home a few hundred yards north of U.S. Highway 287 Bypass and U.S. Highway 287 Business.
On the morning of Monday, July 10, though, the single-wide trailer that sparked original t-shirts, a 5,000-plus member Facebook page, a television news station special report and became the centerpiece for internet memes — and even a few family portraits — was sent to the big trailer park in the sky. Construction crews spent most of the morning and into the afternoon demolishing the eyesore near its temporary Sardis home.
But, by Tuesday morning a memorial of sorts was in its place. The placeholder consisted of a blue tent and sign that reads: “You can take my home. You can’t take my land. We be (sic) people.”
“I want everyone to know that my office made calls to TxDOT about removing this trailer quite a while ago,” stated Rep. John Wray, of Waxahachie, on his state representative for Texas House District 10 Facebook page. “I think it is perfectly ridiculous that this eyesore was allowed to sit on TxDOT right-of-way for four-plus months. I want it gone next week as promised in this (NBC DFW) story.”
Wray first spoke with NBC DFW during an on-air report produced Thursday, July 6. The report stated the owner of the trailer home had plans to transport the structure to Navarro County where it would be refurbished. However, an axle broke during the carriage and, sometime around late-February to mid-March, came to its final resting place just inside the Waxahachie city limits.
Waxahachie Assistant City Manage Michael Scott also told NBC that the city and its lawyers had given the owner an ultimatum — make the mobile home mobile again by the end of the following week or the city would deploy its own removal team.
Roughly one month ago, Ryan Maxwell and Dalton Hunter started the “official” Facebook page for the trailer, “287 Trailer Park.” As of demolition day, the page had 4,878 likes and 4,984 followers. Maxwell told NBC the two began the page as a joke.
“Gone but not forgotten,” the page administrators posted as the caption to a picture of the trailer, in all its broken-down glory, flying in the clouds next to Harambe holding a pink yard flamingo at 11:01 a.m on Monday. Harambe was the 17-year-old gorilla killed in the Cincinnati Zoo after a child fell into the gorilla enclosure on May 28, 2016. His death received a cult-like following, similar to that of the 287 trailer, which also sparked memes, t-shirts and social media posts.
Of those who stopped by the temporary landmark to snap a commemorative photo was the Ellis County Jeep Club, which took the picture game to a higher level — literally.
The club enlisted the drone and photography skills of member Joshua Teer for an evening photo shoot Thursday, July 6 after one of its monthly dinners. Roughly 22 jeeps lined the backside of the trailer while Teer took his camera to the sky for a one-of-a-kind overhead photo gallery.
“Some of us had been following it and the (Facebook) page 287 Trailer and we had watched the news broadcast right before we went to our monthly meet,” said Mel Ross, an administrator for the Ellis County Jeep Club.
“So, when we were at dinner we started talking about it, and some of the members thought it would be cool to all go out there and take a picture in front of the trailer. That’s how it all came about. Once everyone was finished eating, we headed out there and took a picture and had a good time.”
The 500-member club participates in off-roading excursions, swaps, monthly dinners and charity fundraisers. Ross explained the organization began as a way to buy and sell Jeep parts before transitioning into its current state. To join, simply request to join the club on Facebook and an administrator will approve.
“We are Ellis County Jeeps, but anyone who enjoys off-roading is welcome to join, as well. We don’t discriminate,” she added with a laugh.
As for the trailer, Ross said its demolition was “bittersweet.”
“It was such an eyesore to begin with and then it just started to turn into something exciting and fun. I feel like once it got to a point where it was exciting and fun, and everyone was checking on it every day or taking pictures or talking about it, now it’s gone," said Ross with another laugh. "I guess we’ll have to move on to something else to entertain us.”
All overhead photos are courtesy Joshua Teer and Ellis County Jeeps.