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Skellville: Skeleton Scenes

Field review by the editors.

Benton Harbor, Michigan

Just off of I-94, Piedt and Son Lawn and Garden Supply is a family-run shop on the developing fringe of Benton Harbor. It sells the expected gravel and grass seed, but the emphasis is on lawn decorations and statues. While birdbaths and cement angels are abundant, it's the unique and scavenged items that catch the eye of anyone tired of pink flamingos -- including an eight-foot-high T. Rex head and a life-size Superman. Could this offer promise of something more?


Indeed it could.

Out back is a permanent display: Skellville, the brainchild of proprietor Brad Piedt. Skellville, as the name suggests, is the home town for human skeletons. A few dozen inhabit an overgrown stretch of dirt road that snakes in a loop behind the store. For one dollar, motorists can drive through and view tableaux of the skeletons in everyday situations: drinking coffee at a diner counter, delivering the mail, etc. Brad, we learned, designed Skellville as a memento mori: a reminder to the living of the inevitability of death. Its message suggests that at any instant, you, too, could end up as a skull display in a rusted Pepsi vending machine.



While this may be a place to mediate on death, for Brad it is also is a place to repent. Hand-painted signs ("What the HELL do you want?") depict the fiery fate of those who don't find salvation. All that remains are their skeletons!

Skellville: Skeleton Scenes

Piedt and Son Lawn and Garden Supply

2400 M-139, Benton Harbor, MI
I-94 exit 28, then drive north on M-139/Scottdale Rd a half-mile. On the left, just past the intersection of Nickerson Ave.
M-Sa 10-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Drive-Thru $1.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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