An undated news clipping I came across quoting Dick Horning, writer for the St. Paul Dispatch, is what whipped up my thirst for charging into this mystery,
A year or so later, because Keller was traveling extensively, he took the model to the Neville Museum in Green Bay, Wis., and obtained a receipt for it.
Keller now is working in Minnesota and has a weekend retreat near Green Bay. A few weeks ago, he went to the museum, presented his receipt and asked for his property.
But museum officials (who were new in the 20-odd years since Keller first visited there) cannot find his model.
Horning said that the museum admits Keller’s receipt is valid, but none of them ever had seen or even heard of the model.”
I was fascinated by Horning’s article. Over a period of time, I queried several of the museum’s then current and former officials in 1995, but, surprisingly, none had any knowledge of the mystery or the model itself. I had also sent inquiries to Laguna Beach, Boca Raton, and St. Paul but garnered the same results. Disappointed, I thought I had reached a dead end. Further digging, however, turned up the exciting information that Keller’s request for the return of the model was made in 1969 and that the request had been sent from the Village of Friendship, Wisconsin, about 100 miles from Green Bay. Finally, I had a solid lead and a definite location to search for the mysterious mister Keller that might lead to further news of the missing model. Even if Keller had already passed away his obituary might yield further information to be mined.
Now the shadowy Mr. Keller was beginning to be fleshed out as a real person. According to the details provided in the letters, James E. Keller was a retired Civil Engineer for the US Army Corps of Engineers and frequently checked out radar sites in the states. He and his wife Jean had lived in Dellwood, an unincorporated community near Adams on Castle Rock Lake. They were well-liked and knew many people. He had been quite active in local organizations and friendly with neighbors. One writer had visited Keller’s home and said it was “very interesting, filled with many collectibles but she said she did not recall seeing the Sea Dragon model. Another said Keller was always involved in outlandish things and seemed very intelligent. He once gave the man a 120-mph ride in a souped-up Cord car. He thought Keller was the kind of person who was likely to own such a model as the Sea Dragon.