----- ............Cemetery Walk: An afternoon of discovery! Every stone has a story. And they are waiting to be told........... -----

Friday, August 19, 2011

Samuel Perry Dinsmoor

I wanted to share the rest of the information I found while researching Dinsmoor and featuring his mausoleum.

Samuel Perry Dinsmoor
3/8/1843 - 7/20/1932
Parents: William Anderson and Laura Laodicia Tubbs Dinsmoor

KSHS Kansapedia
Today the Garden of Eden in Lucas is considered one of the best grassroots arts sites in the United States.  Newspaper articles of the 1920s and 1930s refer to creator, Samuel P. Dinsmoor as the "Second Adam." A retired schoolteacher and farmer, as well as a disabled Civil War veteran, Dinsmoor spent the last 25 years of his life constructing what he called "the most unique home, for living or dead, on earth." In 1907 Dinsmoore built his "cabin home" in the small central Kansas community of Lucas. Using 113 tons of cement, Dinsmoor went on to create the "Garden of Eden," depicting in sculpture his interpretation of the Bible and modern civilization as interpreted through his populist views.

The information available concerning Dinsmoor's early life is at best sketchy. We know he was born near Coolville, Ohio, on March 8, 1843. He served in the Union army during the Civil War observing 18 major battles, including the Battle of Gettysburg and the capture of Robert E. Lee. He taught school for five years in Illinois. On August 24, 1870 he married Mrs. Frances. A. (Barlow) Journey, a widow of considerable means. At some point in time Dinsmoor took up farming, moving to Kansas in the fall of 1888. For some unrecorded reason he moved to Nebraska in the fall of 1890 only to return to Russell County, Kansas the following year. In 1905 he retired and moved his family into town buying the quarter block in Lucas that was to become the "Garden of Eden." In the spring of 1917 the first Mrs. Dinsmoor died. Alone and deeply involved in the construction of the "Garden," Dinsmoor hired a young Czechoslovakian woman named Emilie Brozek as a housekeeper. When Emilie was twenty years old she married Dinsmoor, who was then 81. The marriage produced two children.

Although neither an architect nor an engineer, at age 64 Samuel P. Dinsmoor built his "cabin home." The home itself is quite remarkable, built like a log cabin out of native limestone. With the completion of the "cabin home," Dinsmoor set about to create the intertwining concrete sculptures that became his "Garden of Eden." He erected scaffolding and worked alone, hiring an assistant only to mix cement. He wanted the "Garden" to be durable so he began with steel reinforcements covered with chicken wire. The entire sculpture, which consists of more than 150 statues supported by 29 cement trees, stands approximately 40 feet high. On the west side Dinsmoor depicted his personal understanding of the Bible. The north side of the property tells the story of modern civilization. To further explain his views, Dinsmoor published a small guide book called. Pictorial History of the Cabin Home in Garden of Eden. 


I have not found a copy in public domain to use, but here you can see a copy of the double exposure of Dinsmoor gazing upon himself in the casket.

1st wife: Frances Fanny Ann Barlow Journey.


2nd wife: Emilie J. Brozek
Children: Living daughter, John W. 

A view of Samuel Perry Dinsmoor, 1843-1932, standing next to what appears to be a coffin-shaped concrete slab and a lid inscribed with the Freemasons' square and compass symbol and the name "Dinsmoor." Dinsmoor was a Civil War veteran and, subsequently, a teacher, sculptor, and landscape artist in Lucas, Kansas. He created "The Garden of Eden" on his property in Lucas and constructed over 200 concrete sculptures there which depict his views about Populism and religion. The garden is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Date: Between 1905 and 1932
Callnumber: FK2.R8 , L.93 , *8
KSHS Identifier: DaRT ID: 602
Item Identifier: 602

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting story and an amazing man, even if just for fathering two children at 81 !!


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