I f 86-year-old R.E. Humbertson, who was born on July 8, 1921, in the city of Cumberland, Maryland is out there, somebody should tell him/her that they are now the proud owner of a “rust” colored 1957 Plymouth Belvedere.
According to the results released Friday, June 22, by the Tulsarama Committee, R.E Humbertson’s guess as to what the population of Tulsa would be in the year 2007, made nearly 50 years ago, was only 2,286 off the actual census numbers, closer than any other guess.
The winner, or their closest relatives, now have five years to claim the car before it becomes the property of the Tulsa Historical Society.
“Now that the car, affectionately know as ‘Miss Belvedere,’ finally has her owner, the vision that started in 1957 has officially reached its completion,” Tulsarama co-chair Sharon King Davis said during Friday’s press conference in Tulsa. “We know that the owner will treat her with the respect she deserves, as she stands as a symbol of the spirit of Tulsa.”
As you recall, the process of awarding the car to a lucky Tulsan was started in 1957, when citizens were asked to guess what the population of Tulsa would be in 2007 (382,457), with the person who guessed the closest being given ownership of what organizers had hoped would be a pristine Plymouth and a $100 savings account worth about $700 today with interest.
However, Mother Nature had a different plan in mind and the vault that held the car began to leak and the car ended up submerged for many of the 50 years it was entombed.
R.E. Humbertson should be proud of his/her guess, as it was a whole lot closer than the 222 Billion that an ambitious 15-year-old named Ronnie Carter predicted at the time. The dates of birth of the entrants ranged from 1885 to 1957. Two entries even listed their birthplace as Indian Territory.
Bob Morgan of the accounting firm Deloitte, which tabulated the entries after the car was unearthed last weekend from the Tulsa County Courthouse lawn, said the only information available on the entry forms found in the sealed time capsule was name, date of birth and place of birth.
Finding the winner could prove difficult. The only addresses they had to work with were those on some of the “40-some-odd” mailed entries placed in the time capsule.
The rest of the entries were listed on printed forms that Morgan said appeared to have been placed around town. All told, he said, only about 850 entries were found. R.E. Humbertson’s entry appears to have been included on the printed forms and did not include an address.
Supposedly, the guesses were also to be found stored on a spool of microfilm buried with the car in a steel container. But all organizers found at last Friday’s unveiling ceremony was a rusted-out canister in the back seat.
For his/her accurate guess, R.E. Humbertson (or their nearest relative) will receive the 1957 Plymouth Belvedere that has spent the past 50 years submerged underwater and underground. However, deciding what to do with the rusting relic may not prove as easy as guessing the population of Tulsa.
The condition of the car is clearly precarious with local authorities having stated over the past week that the car has continued to deteriorate since being unearthed.
Anyone knowing R.E. Humbertson or their relatives is asked to contact the Tulsa Historical Society at 918-712-9484.