Kansas June 17, 2019
The Oldest Folk Art In The Country Is Right Here In Small Town Kansas
Do you love hunting for the odd, the unique, and the world’s something-est things? We’re lucky to put all of those descriptions into one Kansas attraction, the oldest folk art in the country, where odd and old combine to create something truly unique. Come check out this odd and unique spot in Kansas where the world’s oldest folk art has been standing for decades.
Unbeknownst to many, the country's oldest folk art installation has been hiding out right in Lucas, Kansas. As soon as you approach, you'll know that you're going into the Garden of Eden, one of the most popular and odd attractions in our state.
First and foremost, the Garden of Eden is a collection of concrete sculptures depicting biblical characters, political figures, and many other personalities all around his cabin, created from 1907 to 1928.
The artist, S.P. Dinsmoor, and his wife lived in this cabin, going about their daily lives despite Dinsmoor being a little on the weird side. He has even been quoted saying "I am bughouse." which is either a description of his mental state or perhaps even performance art. Either way, he didn't hide his weirdness whatsoever, he was just as odd as he seems to be through his art.
When pedestrians would stop and stare, he would nag them from a tube he connected to one of the angel's mouths, asking them to pay for a tour if they wanted to see what he had built. He made a good amount of money off of tours, even while construction was still in progress. One fun fact we know, is that the only reason there is a concrete sign depicting the name of this is because people kept asking him what it all was called, annoying him to the point of creating a visible title.
After his wife died, Dinsmoor even dug up her grave to place her in this mini mausoleum where he would pose with her and take photos. He later arranged to have himself placed inside as well, in a glass-topped coffin where you can view his corpse. They say he looked alright for the first 70 years or so, but the glass eventually cracked and let in moisture, and it's said he now looks like a greenish blob.
All of his concrete sculptures vary to some degree, with some smooth, some rough, some painted, and some unfinished. A few have broken over the years, only to be repaired by the museum's caretakers with the money made off of showings.
After he died, his much younger second wife sold the property, and it changed hands a few times before becoming disheveled and overgrown. It was abandoned, and then reopened in 1969 as an art attraction, as the locals were too scared to demolish such a creepy piece of art.
Though you don't have to actually look at his coffin if you don't want to, the tour is nonetheless something every Kansan should do at least once. They're open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week unless posted.
For more information about this location, check out
their website here, or their Facebook page.
Address: 305 E 2nd Street, Lucas, KS 67648
If you’re as intrigued by this town as we are, you’ll enjoy
touring the whole town, which is filled with odd art just like this.