*** Handy Dandy Guide to the World's Largest Souvenir Travel Plate ***
Travel Plate images explained in long-winded narrative form...
Your Handy-Dandy Guide to the World’s Largest Souvenir Travel Plate, K-18 Hwy, Lucas Kansas.
Starting in the center: An Ed Root-style “LUCAS” is surrounded by a field of blue, with wheat shafts and a sunflower at the top framing an apple with “1887", the year of Lucas’ founding. Below the town name is a ribbon emblazoned with “Grassroots Art Capital” of Kansas, a title which was bestowed on Lucas in 1997 by Governor Bill Graves. The center medallion is surrounded by sausage links from Brant’s Meat Market.
The surrounding designs capture some of the main attractions in Lucas. Starting at the top, Adam and Eve welcome you to the Garden of Eden, one of the nation’s oldest examples of Outsider or Grassroots Art, built at the turn of the century. Dinsmoor’s mausoleum is pictured in the background between the two figures.
Next are portraits of two anonymous ancestor figures, male and female. The man and woman figures represent ALL of our founding fathers and mothers, as is reflected in the ribbons underneath their images: “Remember our Immigrant Ancestors” and “Honor Their Pioneering Spirit”
Clockwise from the female figure, clouds reveal a flying pig. Small aircraft from the Lucas airport and smaller Slope Flyer radio-controlled craft emerge from the skyscape. Can you see anything else in the clouds?
A cloud of smoke billows up from a burning wheat field, a common site in the area after harvest time. The “Wheat Harvest” section features a combine and crops in various stages of development.
The “Post Rock Scenic Byway” separates the crop section from a water section representing Wilson Lake. Fish portraits illustrate the species common in the lake: Crappie, Channel Catfish, Bass, and Walleye. The water laps up onto an Ed Root sculpture. As his farmstead rests beneath the lake when the valley was flooded in 1965, the ribbon reads “Ed Root ‘Neath Wilson Lake”.
The sculptures are featured at the Grassroots Art Center, and represent an important section of the Outsider Art Timeline found in Lucas sites. Continuing clockwise, we find “Millers Park” rock mountain replicas and miniature buildings, leading into the “Florence Deeble”section, who replicated her favorite sites (like Mount Rushmore) in concrete and rock in her backyard.
In the “Historic Downtown” section, you’ll find Brants Meat Market, the Lucas Theater, historic limestone jail, our green-topped Lucas watertower, the World’s Largest Travel Plate, and Nancy Jo’s painted shed featuring a snowdome housing the Lucas Watertower, sculpture from the Garden of Eden, a Flying Pig, and the World’s Largest Souvenir Travel Plate.
The watertower and grain elevator bring you up to the male ancestor figure and completes the circle.
The decorative rim features line drawings of elements specific to the region. On the lower half, Petroglyphs from the Saline River Valley honor the first people to hunt and settle in the area. These transition to regional legends along the top, including the Lucas Community Band, the Luray Snake, Kansa the Buffalo, the first WWII Jeep bought by a farmer, old and new High School mascots, some Art Cars, pheasants, a spaceship or two, a whisky-smuggling hearse, and a frame-by-frame illustration of the Fred Dininney mystery.
Painted on-site between September and November 2006 by artist Erika Nelson, the project was made possible by a Challenge America Grant from the National Endowment of the Arts through the Grassroots Art Center and the Lucas Arts and Humanities Council. Special thanks to Wilson Telephone for donating their decomissioned 14' satellite dish, J. Jean Mettlen for letting us install on his property, the City of Lucas for donated concrete, and the City of Lucas Crew for major lifting and installation work.
Online photo blog of daily painting progress, as well as running count of Stoppers, Honkers, and Hooters can be found on the World's Largest Things Flickr page.
Thank you, City of Lucas crew, Lucas Arts and Humanities Council, Wilson Telephone, and National Endowment for the Arts!
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