When you think about the Garden of Eden, these scenes might not exactly pop into your head. Sure there's Adam, Eve and a serpent, but many other concrete sculptures fill Samuel P. Dinsmoor's version of the world's most famous garden in Lucas, Kansas.
"He was a self-taught artist, meaning he didn't have any type of art training. He did all
this after he retired, just learning on his own, how to work with concrete and his art has such a
modern look to it," said Garden of Eden Manager Lynn Schneider.
Dinsmoor, who served as a nurse in the Civil War, started out by building a log cabin made of limestone with no two doors or windows alike. He continued to work on the outside statues between 1907 and 1928, all of this after the age of 64.
"He wasn't just going to quit and sit in a rocker."
Dinsmoor believed in Populist ideas and the free thought movement. Many sculptures reflect those beliefs such as giving women and African-Americans the right to vote. There's also a self-portrait visible through a basement window which says hi to his wife. The name comes as satire of the railroad companies who called Kansas a Garden of Eden for farming.
"He was sharing his populist views of the time."
While Adam and Eve began life in the Garden of Eden, Dinsmoor knew his would end there. He built a mausoleum for him and his first wife. He rests inside in an open glass casket and knew people would still pay to come and visit him and his creation. An angel sits on top to take him upward or downward, because, according to Dinsmoor, he didn't know where he was headed.
"He was thinking that people would come and see this for years to come and that was his idea and he knew that people would come to see it," Lynn said.
Nobody knows what the first Garden of Eden really looked like. One man showed his thoughts through nearly 150 sculptures. Some reach 40 feet high to the heavens looking for answers.
Dinsmoor married for second time to a woman who was nearly 60 years younger than him. He fathered two kids while in his 80's. Dinsmoor's son is still alive and is the only surviving son of a civil war veteran.