In Lucas, Kansas, twenty-two miles east of Paradise and two-hundred miles west of Hell, is a true masterwork of kookdom: Samuel P. Dinsmoor’s “Garden of Eden.” An eccentric Civil War veteran (Union army) who married a woman 61 years his junior and fathered three children after the age of 80, Dinsmoor came in his dotage to believe concrete the miracle substance of the Twentieth Century. To prove this to the world, Samuel P. built a “log cabin” out of concrete “logs” and was so happy with it, he went on to create a concrete barn, a concrete spring (which he supplied with water by illegally tapping into the town’s water main), a concrete pyramid and mausoleum, and an an elaborate lattice-work of concrete trees, flags, and statues–over 100 tons in total–suspended from poles and scaffolds and wires around his house.
Continue reading ‘In The Garden of Eden, Baby’
In 1542, the Spanish explorer Francisco Coronado crossed the Rio Grande northwards in search of the fabled El Dorado, city of gold. He didn’t find it, but he and his men became the first Europeans to lay eyes on the lands that are now Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas. By the time they got to Kansas, legend has it, a good portion of Coronado’s party had begun to go mad, completely incapable of coping with the endless, monotonous size and flatness of the country they were discovering.
I’m not sure if I buy it: after all, Spain has some pretty big flat parts too. But it is a good story, and I like to picture the Spanish conquistadors in their pointed silver helmets and puffy shorts, flopping around on the great prairie like fish in the bottom of the boat, their brains blown out by the sheer vastness of it all, while a couple of bemused Indians stnad off to the side, saying, “So who are these jokers?”
Anyway, Gove, Kansas is the sort of place that makes you think it might just be true.
[2007 Edit: I was too "cool" to mention it back in 1996, but the reason we actually went to Gove, Kansas was that it was the setting for a 1980s-era Call of Cthulhu adventure called "The Killer Out Of Space" (from the Cthulhu Now supplement) that scared the underoos off me and my buddies when we played it back in high school. Decades later, I would revise/update the Coronado legend for gaming purposes, as seen here.]