Garden of Eden, Lucas, Kansas
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Dinsmoor's rock cabin homeLocated 16 miles north of Interstate 70  in north-central Kansas, Lucas is home to S.P. Dinsmoor's incomparable garden and cabin. Lucas has "the most unique home for living or dead on Earth."
   
Samuel Perry Dinsmoor, a retired schoolteacher, Civil War veteran, farmer and Populist politician, began building the Garden of Eden and Cabin Home in 1907 at the age of 64. For 22 years he fashioned 113 tons (2,273 sacks) of cement and many tons of limestone into his unique "log" cabin with its surrounding sculptures. He opened his home to guests, conducting tours on the first floor and through the yard from 1907 until a few years before his death in 1932. Now owned and operated by a group formed to preserve it, the site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and welcomes more than 10,000 visitors annually. 

Apr.-Oct.: 10 AM to 5pm daily, Nov. - Feb.: 1-4pm weekends, and March: 1-4pm daily
(in Oct. 2006 the admission fee was a bargain at $6
.)

Select a thumbnail to see the original photo. Photos © 1999 by Carol Yoho

Cement sculptures of Adam and Eve greet visitors at each side of a grape arbor at the front gate.
Adam & Eve
Arbor and Eve's backside
The arbor is also made of cement. The arches become the bodies of snakes.
Overseeing all the the All-Seeing Eye.
All-seeing Eye
House and yard
Tours include a guided lecture and a peek at the entombed Mr. Dinsmoor.
Mr. Dinsmoor comments on preditors: the fox chases a cat who pursues a bird who is stalking a worm which is eating a leaf.
Dog eat dog world
Back yard
Mr. Dinsmoors log home is a marvel in itself, built of local native limestone "logs."
This Indian is aiming at the fox represented above. Behind him, a soldier is aiming his rifle.
Indian takes aim
Front gate
At the left, in this photo, is depicted the story of Cain and Abel.
This is the Devil. Note that he stands on a cloven hoof.
Devil
Eve accepts apple
Eve accepts the apple from a snake that emerges from the arbor behind her.
Mr. Dinsmoor lies in a glass-covered cement coffin inside this cement mosoleum. He can be viewed in the price of admission. He died in 1932.
Dinsmoor's resting place
Side yard
The ground of the home include animal cages, a covered picnic area and more sculpture. When Mr. Dinsmoor started building he was 64.
Friends Bob and Nancy pose with Eve.
Bob and Nancy
Inspecting Adam
Nancy peeks behind Adam's apron. Originally Adam and Eve were naked. Mr. Dinsmoor added covering to appease his neighbors.
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A resident of Lucas, Nancy Jo, says:

    “An ‘ex-resident’ of Lucas is quoted as saying ‘they (Lucas) still had a high school then.’ That implies they don't now. They do. It's in the same building it was when my Mom graduated in 1943. If you go to the Lucas homepage, you'll see ‘Lucas is proud of its school and of the Lucas-Luray High School Cougars.’ Now, Luray lost ITS high school when it combined with the Lucas high school, but the Lucas high school never left.” 8/2005

Samuel Dinsmoor's granddaughter writes:
    “Grandpa Dinsmoor's art cements his religious and populist beliefs for decades to come. He was free to create this in America.
Best regards, Janet G. Smith
1/2004


An ex-resident of Lucas with a strong memory of the Garden of Eden e-mailed the following remembrance:
    “I lived in Lucas for five years, around 1969, and taught English at the local high school. (They still had a high school then.) The population of Lucas was about 500 in those days. I lived on the corner across the street from the Garden of Eden in a little wood house that I rented for a while.
    I remember a huge blizzard around 1970 with twenty-foot drifts that covered my house but left the cement tops of Dinsmoor's sculptures showing above the drifts. Quite a site! I'm glad it's being kept up now. At $4 a ticket…that's probably more than Dinsmoor paid for all his cement!”
Larry R. Brooks
7/2003

Connie Dougherty, Director, Lucas Area Chamber of Commerce, assures us that Lucas still has a high school. 9/2006

Official Garden of Eden site
Lucas, Kansas web site
Grassroots Art Center, Lucas, KS


My Fall, 2010 visit to The Garden of Eden

Added 2008:
"Lucas sparks creative urge," Blog by Lou Ann Thomas, Topeka Capital-Journal, 9-21-2008

Added 2005:
To see some interesting folk cement sculptures in Tennessee that have a remarkable similarity to the work of Dinsmoor, look at these two web sites devoted to the work of E. T. Wickham:
Wickham Site Survey
The Tenessee site has been hit by vandals and overrun by nature but, Wickham's grandson is keeping the memory alive.

© 1999 by Carol Yoho
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