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Lucas, Kansas - trip report

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I visited Lucas, Kansas this weekend, It is in the center of the state, a few miles north of I-70. Take Exit 206 and head north on the Post Rock Scenic Byway past Wilson Lake.

Lucas is a town of about 450 people that is full of odd quirky things.

The attraction that it is best known for is the Garden of Eden. The Garden began 100 years ago when a retired Civil War soldier and teacher built a cabin using carved limestone logs. The logs are up to 27 feet long. http://www.mightymac.org/kansas/gardenofeden.htm

When S. P. Dinsmoor finished the cabin, he started building a history of the world, called the Garden of Eden, in concrete around the house. There are over 150 more-or-less life size figures, and many 40 feet tall trees. There is a three story pagoda like mausoleum where his 70 year old corpse can be viewed through glass.

Up the alley next to the Garden is the home of the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things. Built in an old Ford van, it is on the road part of the year, but can be viewed in the owner's yard when it is in town. http://www.mightymac.org/kansas/worldslargestcollection.htm

Next stop was the Grassroots Art Center. Filling the first floor of three turn of the last century buildings, the center exhibits the work of many self taught and often eccentric artists from around the state of Kansas. If you have any interest at all in folk art, this place will fascinate you. http://www.mightymac.org/kansas/grassrootsart1.htm

The tour of the Center includes Florence Deeble's Rock Garden. When Florence was a little girl, she watched Dinsmoor build the Garden of Eden. At age 50, as a spinster schoolteacher, she began using concrete and rocks brought home from her travels to create scenes from around the country in her yard. She expanded the garden until her death nearly 50 years later. http://www.mightymac.org/kansas/deeblerockgarden.htm.html

For the past three years, the interior of Florence's house has been turned into the Garden of Isis - 5 rooms of art made from doll bodies, toys, kitchen utensils and other recycled materials. You will have to look at the pictures to understand. http://www.mightymac.org/kansas/isis.htm

But wait there is more! A former Chevy dealership on main street has been turned into the Flying Pig Studio and Gallery. A nice eccentric artist moved here last year and he is creating whimsical fine porcelain. From small objects to household fixtures. The gallery is also his living quarters and a place to show off his collections of old cameras and radios. http://www.mightymac.org/kansas/flyingpig.htm

Next to the Gallery is Brant's Meat Market, an 83 year old market that has been in the present family for three generations. I got some delicious smoked sausage links and homemade Czechoslovakian bologna. My impression is that the owner of the market is one of the hard workers responsible for some of the other things coming to the small town. http://www.mightymac.org/kansas/brantsmarket.htm

In the afternoon, I made a loop of the return, visiting other attractions such as the geographical center of the US http://www.mightymac.org/kansas/geographicalcenter.htm , the World's Largest Ball of Twine http://www.mightymac.org/kansas/balloftwine.htm and to revisit Rock City http://www.mightymac.org/kansas/rockcity.htm , before heading back home with a stop for a fabulous family style chicken dinner at the Brookville Hotel in Abilene.

Keith

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