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The guy in the wall

Herb McConnell, left, and Principal Dennis Fuqua with their new found friend.

Herb McConnell and his boss had knocked a small hole in the wall when the boss spotted something.

He said he thought that was a leg in there.

And it was.

He has blue eyes and a slight smile.

Herb continued knocking out pieces of the wall. Then he pointed a light down in the hole and spotted the torso and some other body parts.

The men had discovered a mannequin enclosed in a wall in the Escambia County High School auditorium. You have to assume it’s been there since the school was built in 1959.

“I could tell right away it was plastic,” Herb said. “My first thought was there was a guy who did it to set up a joke for down the road.”

Herb and Principal Dennis Fuqua said they could just see a construction worker back then placing the mannequin in the hole, closing it up and chuckling about the next worker who would come along some day, knock a hole in the wall and, maybe, get quite a start.

When the seats were being removed, another worker found the invoices for the seats – dated February 9, 1960, from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

These workers are with A.E. New Jr. Builders & Contractors, the Pensacola company renovating Hodnette Auditorium. The renovation, a $1.5 million project, is expected to be completed in September.

In 1959, the contractor was Bear Brothers, Inc. Although it has been 58 years ago, wouldn’t it be something if the worker(s) who put the mannequin in the wall was still around and saw this article. We’d love to talk with him.

On second thought, could it have been some students who put the guy in the wall?

The auditorium in December 2016


The auditorium in March 2017