First published: Fall 2012
In the fragile world of preserving and sustaining art environments, one foundation stands alone as a guardian angel.
If you ever find yourself driving across the state of Kansas, it is best to come to terms with the monotony of flat land as mile marker after mile marker delivers a similar landscape. Interstate 70 is the east–west artery, and just west of dead centre is the exit for the town of Russell. From Russell, you need to drive northeast for about 15 minutes longer to reach the tiny hamlet of Lucas (population 425), a place that most people would have no business visiting without a reason.
Indeed, there is a very good reason to visit Lucas, for just off Main Street is one of the most spectacular art environments in the United States. Called The Garden of Eden, the home and surrounding concrete garden was built by an eccentric individual named Samuel Perry Dinsmoor (1843–1932). Dinsmoor was a Civil War veteran, a member of the Order of Masons, a schoolteacher and a farmer. By the mid 1880s, Dinsmore was enthralled with the Populist movement, an organisation of liberal, free-thinking people who advocated various social and religious reforms; but by 1907 Populism was fading away and, at age 62, Dinsmore poured himself into the construction of his home on a half-acre of land.
Dinsmoor called his creation The Cabin Home, and he built it using narrow ‘logs’ of native post rock limestone, a material quarried for use in local courthouses, larger buildings and even for the posts of fences. Wood was scarce on the plains of Kansas, and Dinsmoor took great care to shape the limestone to look like wooden logs.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #76