A drive to Lucas and a stop in Brewer proves entertainment in rural Kansas is not that hard to find.
Unusual art, history, scenic beauty, stories, all packed into one day. Every once in a while my husband and myself like to take off on a short road trip and having heard all the stories about Lucas, Kansas, in particular the attraction The Garden of Eden, we headed out one morning coffee in hand and headed north. Our drive took us through Cheyenne Bottoms, detours through a couple small towns and a stop in Wilson, Kansas, the Czech capital of Kansas. In 1874 immigrants from Bohemia migrated to Wilson to work on the railroad. Wilson hosts the after harvest Czech Festival every year bringing people from all across the state and neighboring states. It’s a small town but driving around you can see and imagine a ton of history. Currently they are renovating an old stone opera house and just looking at the limestone walls you couldn’t help but envision some of the events of the past.
A bit further down the road we drove by and around scenic and beautiful Lake Wilson. Arriving at our destination of Lucas, known as the grassroots art center of Kansas. We drove around a bit, stopped at a local butcher shop, had some lunch and toured “Bowl Center” the famous restroom stop that is decorated inside and out with mosaic art work and receiving the recognition of being the “Second Best Public Restroom” in the US. Located in the center of post rock country, .stone is everywhere.
The limestone is what S.P. Dinsmoor used to build the house that is home to “unusual” art work depicting Dinsmoor’s philosophy and politics. In addition to the house there is a mausoleum where Dinsmoor and his first wife are buried. The story of his life was fascinating and unusual and several people commented he was born ahead of his time. There were continuous groups of 5-6 people touring the house and grounds from the time it opened till after we left.
There were many more interesting and fascinating sights of grassroots artwork to see in Lucas which is also home to the Land Pride Manufacturing along with many other small town businesses. Sadly we missed a couple other attractions in the community but who knows when we might return.
On the way home we came by way of Beaver, Ks, recently written up in the newspaper as home of Beaver Brewery. Now you have to WANT to go to Beaver to get there and when we arrived the fact several vehicles were parked around a metal building was about the only way to identify we were in the right place. We were greeted by a very friendly and gracious young man, one of the two owners. He asked if we had reservations, which of course we did not, but they found a place for us. As we looked around we did see a few tables that were reserved. The owner that greeted us had Pratt connections we so we had quite a visit. While having supper, everyone that came through the door was greeted as the most important customer of the evening and left feeling the same way. It was a good day.
I think we will take advantage of the Big Kansas Road Trip, sponsored by the Kansas Sampler the first weekend in May featuring the northwest Kansas counties of Sherman, Wallace and Cheyenne.
Last year was Kiowa, Comanche and Barber counties and was interesting and a lot of fun. It’s all right here and close to us…..there is a lot to see and do here in our own backyards.