As polarized politics continue to rage in the Beltway, rural Virginia still has a place where Democrats, Republicans — and some Whigs — stand shoulder to shoulder.
The concrete busts are the remnants of the now-defunct Presidents Park in Williamsburg, Virginia. The 10-acre, $10 million open-air museum, citing a lack of interest from visitors, closed in 2010.
When the park opened in 2004, it was apparently too hidden from passersby, partially obscured by a Days Inn hotel. It appeared the park’s designers failed to consider a vital real estate mantra: location, location, location.
“The eyes look like they’re staring at you, just gazing at you. It’s incredible how big they are and lifelike,” he said.
Originally, the busts were assembled from two pieces, welded at the middle of their necks. This meant many of the busts suffered neck breaks during the move, as the head started to separate from the shoulders.First, Hankins had to crack the back of the presidents’ hollow heads to attach a chain that linked the steel frames inside to a crane. Then, each bust was jostled loose from their spot in the park.
Abraham Lincoln’s head suffered the worst damage. The chain attached to it snapped, Hankins said, and even though tires were laid out to cushion any impact, Lincoln was dropped on the back of his head.
The hole in Lincoln’s head is not meant as an allusion.