Lucas, Kansas: The Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden
A strange, old home of folk art and political posturing. Built by the late Sam Dinsmoor, who's still part of the attraction; his corpse is on display in a glass coffin in the back yard. Roadsideamerica.com Report...
Visitor Tips and News About The Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden in Lucas, KS is the oldest intact folk art environment in the United States. And S.P. Dinsmoor had himself embalmed and entombed right there in the pyramid mausoleum![Kelly Ludwig, 01/02/2010]
We always enjoy stopping for a peek at old Sam's glass-sided coffin to see what shade of green he's progressed to...
We were entirely smitten by the Garden of Eden and recommend highly taking the time off your journey on I-70 to points east or west, to head north to Lucas. Our tour guide was a hoot. I'll assume he is a local Lucas resident, probably in his 70s. He informed a small crowd of visitors regarding all the pertinent facts surrounding Samuel Dinsmoor and his achievements. When he was describing the cement sculptures he repeatedly mentioned Dinsmoor's "Negro helper." My husband was finally pushed to enquire, "Did this 'Negro helper' have a name?!" Our guide was momentarily flustered, but recovered nicely, although we never learned the assistant sculptor's name....
Once again Dinsmoor was ahead of his time, and like Warhol and Oldenburg, conceived of the idea but had others bring his dream to life. What a true artiste![Carolyne Janssen, 06/25/2003]
Just dropped by the Garden of Eden yesterday. A girl probably about 16 or 17 was the only person there. I asked her how much it was -- she said it was free to look around the house and yard, but a guided tour evidently cost. There were a bunch of signs up mentioning a fee, so I don't know...
I asked her if "the guy" was in the backyard and she perked up and said yeah... she had the key to the mausoleum and asked if I'd like to go see him. He's looking a bit moldy and dusty... but he's still there for the viewing, complete with beard. Also there is a small locked compartment just above the coffin that contains all the visitor guest books since the beginning of him opening the place up...They continue to put them in today.
Read something there that said in Dinsmoor's will it stated it should be free for his relatives and descendants to view his body, but he wanted to charge a dollar for other people to view him. Dinsmoor decreed that if he saw that dollar he'd be sure to give the visitors a smile back.[Zenobia, 08/25/2000]
Lucas, Kansas out in the west central part of the state along highway K-=18 boasts a "Garden of Eden" built of concrete by a gent in his yard around his stone home. All the characters were there in the trees, the serpent, the apple, Adam and Eve, various angels and other characters. He is "buried" in an above-ground mausoleum on the property. There is a little round glass porthole above his head and with a flashlight you can look in and see he's getting a little green with moss. His second and much younger wife used to sit and play the organ in the house when she saw visitors come to see the garden. He supposedly fathered children by her when he was pushing 80.
It's been cleaned up and some of the trees are gone and now there's an admission fee but it's quite a place.[Ted and Colleen McCoy, 01/30/1998]
Sam Dinsmoor's creation is one of our favorite Kansas stops. Here's a trip report.