October 5, 2005 9:14 PM   Subscribe

In 1907, Samuel Perry Dinsmoor began construction of his log cabin...out of concrete and stone. The Civil War veteran and sometime Populist politician also built himself a stone mausoleum with a glass-topped concrete coffin. Virtually everything at the Garden of Eden (Lucas, KS) is made out of concrete, including its American Flag.
posted by Captaintripps (11 comments total)
I think this guy did the lawn at my last house...
posted by pompomtom at 9:18 PM on October 5, 2005

I visited the Garden of Eden when I was around six or seven years old. It had a profound impact on my little mind. The glass-topped coffin scared the ever-living hell out of me, and its figured into my nightmares from time to time ever since.

When I was around that age, my family did a lot of travelling around western Kansas. What I remember, besides reading Choose Your Own Adventure books in the back of a camper-covered pickup, were all the roadside attractions.

The one that has stuck with me as much as the Garden was the Indian Burial Ground. An entire graveyard of dozens, possibly hundreds of bodies had been excavated and laid bare-- I guess it was an archeological dig of sorts, but it was beyond creepy to see yards and yards of skeletons completely uncovered. You walked around on catwalks about four or five feet above the dig. They also had glass cases full of artifiacts, mostly arrowheads. The story I remember is that a farmer discovered the site when plowing his field.

A few years later, I heard that the State shut the attraction down due to compliants from native americans, and the entire place was reburied.

Whenever I drive I-70 now, I see signs advertising Five Legged Steers and World's Largest Prairie Dog. Just doesn't seem quite the same, although I'm glad the dead have been put back to rest.
posted by JeremyT at 9:34 PM on October 5, 2005

Look at him and his hot young wife!
posted by LarryC at 9:35 PM on October 5, 2005

Ah, old SP. He's a little mossy in his coffin nowadays, but you can still see him. And the house is wonderful. If you should make it to Lucas, go to the Grassroots Art Center in downtown (you aren't going to miss it). They have pieces by Inez Marshall and, a personal favorite, M. T. Liggett (discussed on MeFi here). The area around Lucas was/is? actually full of grassroots and outsider artists including Ed Root and Florence Deeble--most were influenced in some way by SP Dinsmoor.

I haven't made it to Lucas in a few years--guess it's time for another trip west.

Thanks for the post, Captaintripps.
posted by sleepy pete at 9:41 PM on October 5, 2005

JeremyT: the world's largest prairie dog is actually a cement statue of a prairie dog... you're right, not quite the same.
posted by sleepy pete at 9:45 PM on October 5, 2005

Another one like this is Wisconsin Concrete Park. The material seems to have a certain fascination for outsider artists -- or maybe it's just hard to make a good face with the stuff ...
posted by dhartung at 10:59 PM on October 5, 2005

That's fantastic! (BTW, I think old SP also designed the navigation on that website.)
posted by at 5:20 AM on October 6, 2005

I wonder if this guy is related to Howard Finster?
posted by Pollomacho at 5:41 AM on October 6, 2005

What does this have to do with how the horrible President Bush is personally to blame for everything bad in the known universe? Once he's "impeached" swords will mysteriously transmute into plowshares and lions will cuddle up with nannygoats, so it is our duty as liberal blogwarriors to focus on nothing else. So I don't see how this FPP will get Bush impeached or Dean elected; it won't even disguise the fact that Dean ain't much better.

(So folks, am I getting any better at this "sarcasm" stuff?)
posted by davy at 7:25 AM on October 6, 2005

Concrete is a really versatile substance, though I'd never seen anyone make logs for a cabin out of it.
posted by Mitheral at 7:41 AM on October 6, 2005

I must be in bizzarro world. I grew up not more than 30 miles from there. I never dreamed something like that would make it's way onto the blue. Most people driving through Kansas on I-70 are just trying to get through it all. If you ever have a hankering to spend some extra time in that area, drop me an email, there is a lot to see out there, more than most people think.
posted by Numenorian at 9:00 AM on October 6, 2005

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