The Most Interesting American You've Never Heard Of
Mr. Beat films live on location in Lucas, Kansas, to tell the story of Samuel P. Dinsmoor, the most interesting American you probably haven't heard of.
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So, you may have not heard about Samuel P. Dinsmoor, but his story is about as Americana as it gets. Dinsmoor was born near Coolville, Ohio, on March 8, 1843. His youth abruptly ended after enthusiastically signing up for the Union Army after the Civil War began. Standing at just five-foot five inches, fellow soldiers nicknamed him “Little One.” He later claimed to be involved in 18 big battles during his three years in the war. He spent much of his service as a nurse, likely assisting in amputations and often witnessing horrifying deaths.
Incredibly, Dinsmoor made it through the war with no major injuries. However, just a few days after the war was over, a commander’s horse he was riding threw him off, slicing his head open. Always abstaining from alcohol, he refused to sip liquor as doctors stitched his head up.
He then returned home to Ohio and soon moved west to the Mississippi River, settling on the Illinois side just north of St. Louis. In 1869, he began a brief career as a schoolteacher. During this time, he fell in love with a woman four years older than him named Frances Barlow Journey. They married on August 24, 1870. The two exchanged vows on horseback in a stream bed, and yes, the presiding minister was also on a horse.
After the wedding, Dinsmoor quit teaching to farm, helping run a 341-acre property near the river that Frances had inherited after her first husband died. Frances and Dinsmoor managed one of the highest valued farms in the area. For 18 years, the family grew and lived a peaceful life. Yet, when Dinsmoor was 45 years old, he decided to move the family west to Kansas, leaving their prosperous and comfortable life back in Illinois behind. It’s not clear why he decided to do this, but some speculate it was because of how promoters hyped Kansas up.
By the time Dinsmoor arrived in Lucas, Kansas, his family had grown to five children, although his two stepchildren, now in their mid twenties, stayed behind. As soon as Dinsmoor arrived, he bought a small farm east of Lucas for $800. Unfortunately, the family arrived in Lucas at a time of economic downturn. Kansas farmers struggled, in particular, due to drought, which caused crop failures and major dust storms. By the end of the 1880s, many couldn’t pay back loans due to lower crop production. It’s unknown how badly this widespread depression hurt Dinsmoor, but regardless his family moved to Nebraska just two years after arriving in Lucas.
Dinsmoor later sold insurance for a company based out of Omaha, so perhaps this explains why the family made the move. However, less than one year after living in Nebraska, they lost everything in a house fire. This is probably why they ended up back on their land in Lucas less than one year later.
Back in Lucas, Dinsmoor became heavily involved in the trendy Populist movement. By 1892, Dinsmoor was probably the biggest Populist supporter in Lucas.The local newspaper called him a radical due to his outspoken and sometimes controversial views.
In 1896, Dinsmoor served as a delegate at the Populist national convention in St. Louis. He also held large Populist rallies at his house, sometimes attracting as many as 300 people. That same year, he achieved his first and only elected office, as justice of the peace of Fairview Township.
However, just as the Populist Party began to fade in the late 1890s, so did Dinsmoor’s political ambitions. In 1898, he lost a state representative race, which devastated him. He vowed to never run for public office again after that.
In 1905, at the age of 62, Dinsmoor sold his farm and moved into Lucas, buying land that would later be world famous. Despite not having any experience in architecture or engineering, he built a stone log cabin almost entirely by himself, completing it two years later. But he always had cement, and couldn’t stop creating with it. After he built a cement fence, he built a grape arbor that reaches from the back porch to the road. From there, at the end of the arbor facing the street, he created Adam and Eve, although Adam started out as a scarecrow he messed up.
After Adam and Eve, Dinsmoor began constructing the first of his eventual 29 concrete trees, some as high as 40 feet. Over the next 22 years, Dinsmoor used 130 tons of cement to create over 150 life-sized statues. Today, if these statues were cut up and sold at an auction, they’d likely sell for millions of dollars.
Garden of Eden, Lucas Kansas
This is the Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas. It was created by a brilliant artist who created numerous sculptures in his yard. The doorways of the house he built are of various heights. When he was in his 80's he married a 20 year old woman and had a baby with her.
Road Trip Snapshot: Restroom in Bowl Plaza - Lucas, Kansas
Recently Barbara Baird of womensoutdoornews.com and I hit the road to attend the Kansas Governor’s Ringneck Classic. Along the way we discovered that there is more to Kansas than corn and sunflowers. Kansas is home to the most spectacular public restroom I have ever seen!
[Previously recorded LIVE from Facebook Mentions]
CHAMPION, AUTHOR, VETERAN, HUNTER, AMBASSADOR & MOM
Author Julie Golob is one of the most accomplished professional shooters in the world with more than 120 championship titles in international, national and regional marksmanship competitions in 7 different shooting disciplines. A veteran of the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, she was named both U.S. Army Female Athlete of the Year and AMU Athlete of the Year. Serving as the captain of Smith & Wesson's shooting team her list of titles include the prestigious Bianchi Cup, Steel Challenge, USPSA, IDPA and IPSC competitions and SHOT Business Person of the Year. Her book, SHOOT: Your Guide to Shooting and Competition, is a comprehensive primer on shooting sports. Julie is a dedicated ambassador and shares her passion for gun safety, shooting sports and hunting as an outdoor television personality, instructor, guest speaker and through her resourceful website
The best toilet in America. Lucas, Kansas USA
I forgot I needed to go when I got in there...its a little...distracting.
Lucas Kansas Curiosity House
An odd little roadside attraction located in Lucas Kansas
Houston Art Cars Preparing to Leave Hastings for Minneapolis
A caravan of art cars from Houston spent the night in Hastings, NE, while on the way to Minneapolis, MN, for Art Cars on Ice. They saw The Garden of Eden in Lucas, KS, yesterday, after which I led the group to Cawker City, KS, to see the world's largest ball of twine and then on to the geographic center of the USA north of Lebanon, KS, before continuing the trip to Hastings.
The Bogey Chronicles #6 - Pioneer Women Memorial
Bogey is on the Kansas State House grounds in Topeka, Kansas to announce his candidacy for President of the United States and to hang with the Clinton's.
Rock City (Minneapolis, Kansas)
Minneapolis, KS is the place where intrepid adventurers can find Rock City, the world's largest collection of sandstone concretions.
Driving along the highway in Kansas, there are billboards for Rock City. It makes sense that an interested tourist would expect something like buildings or at least huts built out of rock. Rock City is actually a collection of rocks that tourists pay $3 to see. Upon paying out the three dollars, you are given a little pamphlet that marks out the rocks and labels them. There is the crescent, lips, turtle, twin sisters, kissing rocks, bathtub, and the giant's easy chair -- among others -- and if you tilt your head the right way and squint your eyes, sometimes the rocks actually do look like that.
A geologist may find this area considerably more interesting. According to the pamphlets provided by the Rock City Gift Shop, these rocks are the largest collection of giant sedimentary rock in the world. Scientists hypothesize that the rocks were created after water, which covered all of Kansas millions of years ago, receeded. The ground water then contained calcium carbonate which cemented all the rocks together
Read more at Suite101: Rock City in Minneapolis, Kansas: A Geological Wonder Near Minneapolis, Kansas
Kansas Population Forecast - U.S. Comparison
Take a look at how the state of Kansas's population is changing over the next 50 years, and how that change compares to the Census forecast for the U.S.
To get more information, visit CEDBR.org!
Journey to the Center of America
One man's pilgrimage to the geographic center of the continental United States.
Star 34. Part 3
The Kansas Industrial Development Commission produced this film promoting the history and cultural of the state of Kansas. The film highlights the State capitol in Topeka; the John Steuart Curry murals; John Brown's cabin in Osawatomie; Boot Hill cemetery in Dodge City; rodeos; American Indians; sod houses; Council Oak and Post Office Oak in Council Grove; Spirit (Waconda) Springs in Cawker City; the Home on the Range (Brewster Higley) cabin in Athol, Smith County; Pony Express stations; the Beecher bible and rifle church near Wamego; the First Territorial Capitol in Pawnee; the wheat industry; the oil and gas industries; coal and salt mining; the aviation industry in Wichita; the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene; Lost Canyon (including Cobra Rock, Sphinx Rock, Castle Rock, Towering Cliffs, and Monument Rock) near Quinter; lakes; the state fair; cattle and livestock; buffalo; the geographic center of the contiguous United States monument near Lebanon; and Coronado Heights near Lindsborg.
Midland Railroad Hotel- Local Attraction
While staying at The Midland enjoy the numerous activities and sites nearby
The Great Outdoors
If you enjoy the great outdoors, visit nearby Wilson State Park, offering endless opportunities for hiking, kayaking, fishing, boating, bird watching and picnicking.
Known as the Czech Capital of Kansas for the settlers who brought their rich culture here, you’ll have ample opportunity to experience Wilson’s Czech heritage. Or for a slice of American history, visit historic Ellsworth and Abilene, two Kansas towns that are steeped in history of the Old West, from cowboys to pioneers and more.
For the hunting enthusiast, this area offers some of the best winter hunting opportunities available, as well as experienced guides and outfitters ready to make your adventure both memorable and successful.
For the arts enthusiast, travel the Post Rock Scenic Byway to our sister city, Lucas, Kansas to visit their many art attractions. The Garden of Eden and Cabin Home is a primitive treasure built by Samuel Dinsmoor and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Eric Abraham's Flying Pig Studio and Gallery confounds with whimsical porcelain creatures that will amaze and amuse. The Grassroots Art Center was selected as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Art. And don't miss the Bowl Plaza - rated in the top 10 public restrooms in the United States! Admissions to all attractions are included in the price of your hotel accommodation. Some attractions are seasonal so be sure to check with us on the availability of the sites.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Kansas
Top 10 Places to Visit in Kansas
Geographically, Kansas is situated in the center of the United States. That’s just one of the many reasons, however, that Kansas is known as the Heart of America. The state of Kansas is a slice of Americana, boasting the scenery of the Monument Rocks along with plenty of history. Kansas offers a lot more than just fields of wheat and sunflowers. This prairie state has a colorful history, sprawling grasslands and sophisticated urban centers for travelers to explore. Kansas offers some of the most beautiful and spectacular sights and places to visit!
#2.Smoky Valley Ranch & Little Jerusalem
#3.Eisenhower Presidential Library
#4.Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
#9.S.P. Dinsmoor's Garden of Eden
#10.Fort Scott National Historic Site
Super 8 Abilene Video : Abilene, Kansas, United States
Super 8 Abilene Video : Abilene, Kansas, United States
Historic Abilene Super 8 offers the Eisenhower Center, restaurants, antique and specialty shops, the Heritage Center, an antique CW Parker Carousel and the Antique Telephone Museum. The National Greyhound Racing Association has its home and museum here as well. The historic homes of Abilene, to include the Seeley Mansion, the Patent Medicine Museum Gemmy Award recipient by the Travel Industry and the recently restored 1880 Lebold Mansion, a National Historical Landmark, are well worth the visit. Golf courses, many antique shops, great restaurants and live Theater are also available. Pet fees 15.00 per pet.
Check-in from 14:00 , check-out prior to 11:00
Parking, 24 hours Front Desk Service, Business centre, Pets allowed.
TV, Air conditioning, Coffee/Tea.
Hotel adress: 2207 North Buckeye Avenue, Abilene, United States
Monument Rocks National Natural Landmark
Grinnell, Kansas; October 2010.
Racial prejudice prevails in US town
This week marks 150 years to the day when first shots were fired in the US Civil War.
Al Jazeera has a series of special reports to mark the anniversary, starting with a visit to a piece of living history, the town of Nicodemus in Kansas.
It is the first and only remaining pioneer town built by and for black settlers.
Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports from Nicodemus.
World's largest ball of twine - Cawker City, Kansas
From my Wild West tour. I saw it, and I had to pull over and see it up close. It is the largest ball of twine in the world. Surprisingly, it smelled pretty bad. I think it was rotting from the inside out.
Chautauqua sets just south of Sedan and was once popular for its Spring water that healed. The town was called Chautauqua Springs ... read about the springs
World's Largest Ball of Twine: America's Heartland Series
A rural Kansas community bids for bragging rights on the world's biggest ball of twine. In the small town of Cawker City sits an 18,000 pound ball of twine started by a farmer back in 1953. Visit to watch the entire episdoe 422.
Filming location of Field of Dreams, near Dyersville, Iowa
Matt tries to go to heaven through the cornfields, but it doesn't work out.