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  • MarylanderOnTheMove

Busted: Face-to-Face with Giant President Heads

In honor of President's Day this weekend, I am sharing more about my surreal encounter with 43 larger than life former U.S. Presidents.

So, what are the President Heads you might ask?

Standing tall and proud, the busts are remnants of what was once Presidents Park in Williamsburg, VA. The original $10 million investment in the park's colossal statues was inspired when Houston-based sculptor, David Ackies, visited Mt. Rushmore.

In 2010, when the park went bankrupt, Howard Hankins was commissioned to demolish the statues and turn them into concrete dust. Now, the 20-foot tall statues are located on the Hankins' family private 600-acre industrial recycling farm in nearby Croaker, VA.

The week-long transport of the 43 giant heads was no easy feat. The heads were strapped in and moved down Interstate 64 to the tune of $50,000. Can you picture driving through Williamsburg and seeing one of these ginormous statues taking up the 2-lane highway ahead of you?! What a sight!

Made of concrete and steel and each weighing in between 17,000 and 22,000 lbs, many heads sustained serious damage during the move. Many are falling apart; broken and missing noses. President Reagan has a crack down his face because he was struck by lightning. It is remarkable that Abe was the only statue to fall off the flatbed when transported. Unfortunately ironic, it is eerie that President Lincoln now has a large hole in his head caused from the crane.

Washington, Lincoln and Jackson oversee the bunch from a distance.

The relics have suffered more than 8 years of decay. Andrew Jackson had a little patchwork and, when they realized how much money it would take to restore the heads, they immediately stopped.

"Oh, hey George!"

7 of the 42 statues are 20% larger than the others. You might be asking yourself - wait, 42 statues? I thought she said there were 43? President Bush was the last statue. They made a small 24-inch bust of President Obama, but made the decision not to go full-scale. They don't typically bring the Obama miniature out as he was stolen on one of the tours. Don't worry, they recovered him.

Notice President Bush's tie - the ties were all reflective of their era

Notice George W.'s elephant patterned tie - all the President's ties were reflective of their era.

I especially loved that this open-air tour was dog friendly. Our black lab, Echo, enjoyed it, too!

How to see the President Heads Statues:

Virginia historian, John Plashal, has teamed up with the Haskins family to offer the public a chance to visit these gargantuan statues. The tours have become so popular that they bring in 475 people a month! I hear the miniature Obama statue will be making an appearance this President's Day weekend.

John's tour is highly entertaining as John shares quirky quips about the Presidents. For example, did you know that President Abe Lincoln was a wrestler and only lost 1 out of 600 matches?! President Andrew Jackson was a hard-ass who loved to fight and had a scar on his cheek that he got when he was a soldier due to insubordination.

Can't make it on tour? For all the Walking Dead television show fans out there, be on the look-out for the spooky Presidents Heads in a future episode. John told us that the Walking Dead would be filming an episode of the heads at night. John offers night-time photography tours of the heads, too.

You can visit Plashal's Facebook page for tickets.

We always like to do something historical on Presidents Day. What about you?

Have a great weekend!



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