Somewhere between Paradise and the Garden of Eden – hello, Kansas

Plotting my way home, I realize that KS-18 will take me just that route. I know that the flooding from this spring still has I-29 closed – so re-routing is the the game plan. Back to the Garden for me!

Nebraska Prairie Museum – Holdrege, NE

Leaving Ogallala, NE (say Ogallala Aquifer – fast, three times) I made a quick stop at the Nebraska Prairie Museum.  When they measure the amount of displays by acreage, you know that there is a lot to see! You get a big peek into rural life of Nebraskans, including artefacts from the German W.W.2 POW camp, Camp Atlanta.

When construction began in September, 1943 people were told this would be a “Conchie Camp” for the conscientious objectors from the United States. By November it became known by locals that Atlanta would be a prisoner-of-war camp expected to guard German prisoners. There were approximately 275 enlisted men and 60 officers.

Soldiers were hired out to local farms to help retrieve the increased crop production demanded by the war. More than 30 local farmers sought assistance, paying the government for work completed by the P.O.W.s. Soon after the first of the year in 1946, some soldiers returned to live in Atlanta, and at least two of the Germans applied for U.S. citizenship and returned as well. (thanks, Wikipedia)

Garden of Eden – Lucas, KS

It is folk art paradise – and I can’t seem to get enough. And all summer long, the fine folks from the porcelain thrones, Kohler, have been cleaning and restoring this masterpiece to it’s original beauty, revealing a few surprises along the way.

As the Kohler foundation folks clean and restore the Garden, amazing colors are revealed. Dinsmore used 2 types of cement, and tinted it with local rocks, ground to make a pigment.

The same is being done today. the restoration crew is using the local rocks to re-create the pigments as they painstakingly bring the Garden back to Dinsmore’s colorful vision.

Erika Nelson’s World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things – Lucas, KS

Whew! Right next door to the Garden is Erika’s amazing collection. You might have seen her on Conan last winter, proving that Kansas really does give you room to be yourself. Not only is she the preeminent all-things-large expert of roadside attractions, she has her own amazing sets of collections through out her house.

The Kohler crew came over for some ham & bean soup – with Burger’s Country Ham – a California, MO delicacy for those of us who love salty cured ham – and a rousing game of bocce ball in the dark.