Why Are There Huge Abandoned Busts of Presidents on a Virginia Farm?

April 14, 2023

There is a rather odd place in a field in Croaker, Virginia, where there are 43 huge concrete busts of former presidents of the United States. The busts were once part of a 10-acre outdoor museum called Presidents Park in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The busts were the idea of David Adickes, a Houston artist, who became inspired to sculpt the heads after visiting Mount Rushmore. He found a place to house his idea when Everette Newman and a group of investors from Williamsburg agreed to fund the park. They spent $10 million to open the park and to have the sculptures built.

presidents park
Presidents Park, Williamsburg, Virginia, 2005 David/Wikimedia

The park opened in 2004, but because of its rather isolated location, it was forced to close due to lack of attendance in 2010. The busts sat until 2012 when the owners contacted Howard Hankins, a local businessman. Hankins ran a concrete recycling business and was asked to recycle the sculptures. Instead of recycling them, however, Hankins asked if he could preserve them.

He was granted his request and began transporting the 43 busts that were between 15 to 20 feet tall and weighed between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds. The move cost him about $50,000, but he was able to get them all to his farm that was about 10 miles away. Hankins continues to hope that one day he might be able to find a permanent home for the presidential busts.

Sources: Smithsonian, DCist, Washington Post

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