Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden
Lucas, Kansas
August 2015
Driving northeast of the church last Wednesday's post, we arrived in Lucas, Kansas home of one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen: the Garden of Eden.

Garden of Eden
Lucas, Kansas
August 2015
S.P. Dinsmoor built a "log cabin" out of native limestone with the intent of creating a tourist attraction. The main floor was designed to entertain visitors, and he used 3,000 feet of oak, redwood, and walnut to create elaborate moldings and baseboards. No two windows or doors in the "cabin" are the same size or style. He and his wife lived in a walk-out basement, which was probably a good thing because the stairs to the upper floor and basement were narrow and extremely steep.

S.P. Dinsmoor carved his name above the door of his
limestone log cabin in Lucas, KS
Dinsmoor, the artist and social commentator, spent the years between 1907 and 1928 creating the Cabin Home and the Garden of Eden. He located his sculptural environment in a residential area, within walking distance of Main Street businesses and visible from the principal railroad track. His sculptures and the house were popular attractions; income from visitors' admission fees provided a degree of financial security for Dinsmoor and his family. He welcomed visitors and led tours of the site while the work was in progress.

tour guide explains that the turkey and flag sculpture once was on top of the
mausoleum (in the background) and was removed for safety. 
According to our tour guide, a very knowledgeable and confident young man, Dinsmoor was an eccentric who used his sculpture to express his social and political opinions.

Inside the mausoleum, visitors can view Dinsmoor in his coffin: his wife is also in the mausoleum, but she is in the floor. City officials would not allow her to be placed in the mausoleum and required that she be buried in the town cemetery. Our guide explained that under the cover of darkness, Dinsmoor and a friend exhumed her body and cemented it in the floor of the mausoleum.


Dinsmoor wrote, "GARDEN OF EDEN - I could hear so many, as they go by, sing out, "What is this?" so I put this sign up. Now they can read it, stop or go on, just as they please."

"The porches, side walks, fence, strawberry and flower beds, fish pool, grape-arbor three U. S. flag, Adam and Eve, the devil, coffin, jug, visitors' dining hall, labor crucified, two bird and animal cages, and wash house are all made with cement.

Up to this date, July 1, 1927, over 113 tons , or 2,273 sacks of cement has been used. The Garden of Eden is on the west; the front, or north represents present day civilization. There are fifteen cement trees from 30 to 40 feet tall. On trees, mausoleum, cages and dining hall are forty-eight electric lights.

The most unique home, for living or dead, on earth.

Call and see it."

"The dog is after the fox, fox after the bird, bird has its mouth open after a little worm eating a leaf. This shows how one animal is after another down to the leaf.

Now this side is modern civilization as I see it. If it is not right I am to blame, but if the Garden of Eden is not right Moses is to blame. He wrote it up and I built it."


Visitors of this oddity have been shaking their heads in disbelief for over eight decades.   My head was shaking, too. 

12 comments:

  1. That is the most unusual thing I have ever seen!

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  2. A one of a kind that's for sure!

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  3. Well now, that is very unique and interesting. Definitely gives you something to talk about.

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  4. What an interesting place to visit.

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  5. My goodness I bet the locals tongues were a wagging while he was building it! What a place:)

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  6. I find my head shaking too! LOL. What an interesting place.

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  7. Definitely eccentric. I can just imagine his neighbors thought of him as the nut next door.

    There is a house down south of us called Solomon's Castle.......I think it was built by a man of similar thinking. We toured it when Stephen was a little boy and it was really quite interesting. Solomon uses cast off things to build his castle (which is still undergoing renovations as he finds more interesting things). The outside is covered in printing plates from the Orlando Sentinel. You can read all the old news ...................backwards.

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  8. How interesting - and bizarre! Wonder what his neighbors really thought of the whole thing back then.

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  9. Just fascinating. A bigger weird building in wisconsin is the House on the Rock. IT is very odd as well. These sites are something aren't they?

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  10. This is crazypants. I love it. I Who would've ever thought? I love the "explanations" as well. hehe.

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  11. That's fantastic! I love odd things. I'm just amazed that it has held up so long, although I'm sure there has been a lot of maintenance over the years too.

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