Erika Nelson and her World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things, among other things…

Erika Nelson  |  1972 (?) –   |  Lucas, KS

Traveling collection  |  Creation dates unknown

Erika is a force to be reckoned with.  Once upon a time, Erika was working for a television new station, doing graphics, then taught at KU, then was offered another tenured job on the east coast and decided instead to live in her van that she got from the Anderson County Senior Center.  Inspired by childhood memories of the World’s Largest 8 Ball water tower near her home town in California, Missouri and the giant Paul Bunyon near her grandmother’s house in Minnesota, she began to drive around the country photographing these types of landmarks and making tiny replicas of them to display in her van.  Soon it became the “World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things,” and her life has changed forever.  

Now residing next door to the Garden of Eden in a paid-off house in Lucas, Kansas, Erika still travels the country, documenting sites and giving lectures. While at home she also has been known to give tours of the Garden as S.P. Dinsmoor himself, and has created her own roadside attraction for Lucas…The World’s Largest Souvenir Plate, which are some of the many reasons we stopped by this morning to chat with her after her appearance last night.  

Although the old van has been retired, there is a “new” one being restored and renovated, looking to hit the road in 2009, and traveling to another “world’s largest.” Meanwhile, she can be seen tooling around town in her reconfigured art truck “burning dinosaur bones.”

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