Just outside Williamsburg, Virginia, rest forty-three nearly 20-foot-tall concrete busts of former American presidents.

To put it in perspective, each one is about the same height as an adult giraffe. Or, about half the height of a Brachiosaurus. Or, equivalent to the length of a great white shark. 

George Washington Statue

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The hardened creations were crafted in 2004 by artist David Adickes, for a well-intended park that just wasn’t sustainable, long-term. “The park was a grand idea,” explains The Presidential Experience website. But, that initial park plan “was dated and could not survive in its former location,” the site shares.

“It needed to be seen by tourists, but tucked away in the woods the park was invisible… ironic, considering the size and glory of these busts.”

Enter Howard Hankins.

Howard took it upon himself to plan for the transportation of the sizable monuments when the land beneath them came up for sale. And, with a team of assistants, mechanical excavators, and flatbed trucks, he did just that—surprisingly, in just a handful of days.

Dwight Eisenhower

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Now, they reside on his private farm in Croaker, Virginia.

“I did not want to see these statues lost so I decided that I would move them to my farm several miles away,” Hankins said. It details the interstate journey of each presidential bust, which was a feat in itself.

Aspiring engineers, take note: the crafty solution they landed on was to crack slight cavities into the statue tops, lifting them with heavy machinery (presumably with heavy-duty hooks) and carefully depositing them onto flatbeds to make the journey.

And make the journey they did. Now, they await that eventual second chance to be part of a public attraction.

Abraham Lincoln

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Planning to visit before that happens? Someday soon they’ll be ready for the public to admire again, but not quite yet: The Presidential Experience website cautions that onsite visits are currently off-limits, and points out that “liability and trespassing issues have become extensive.”

By Bill Furbee, contributor for Ripleys.com



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