The Mystery of the Hidden “Heads” of State

Our little three-some (Boyd, me and our RV7) are still weathered-in in the Norfolk, Virginia area. We’ve put hundreds of miles on our rental car and have done enough sightseeing to qualify for tour guides ourselves. Today we decided to break rank with the ordinary and hunt down something truly extraordinary. Did you know there are 43 giant busts of U.S. presidents hidden away in a field in Virginia? Neither did I until I searched ‘obscure things about Williamsburg’!

Photo credit: Smithsonian.com

Virginia’s Presidents Park, formerly an open-air park that closed in 2010, was once home to the 43 enormous heads. When the $10 million park went into foreclosure due to lack of business, the decision was made to remove and destroy the heads. Each one stands approx. 20′ high and weighs a whopping 11,000 to 20,000 pounds.

Photo Credit: Carson Vaughn, TravelandLeisure.com

The gentleman who was awarded the task of removing and destroying the colossal artwork just didn’t feel right about it. Instead, he asked permission to remove and transport them to his 400 acre farm, and that’s exactly where they’re sitting today. Somewhere north of Williamsburg, Virginia. During the transport of each head, most suffered varying degrees of damage and age is setting in. To me, the story is SO interesting, as are the heads.

Photo Credit, Carson Vaughn, TravelandLeisure.com

So with determination and the knowledge they are located near a small town 10 miles north of Williamsburg, Boyd and I set out to find them. Our mission was to locate and photograph 43 ginormous national treasures!

Photo Credit: Smithsonian.com

Find them we did. Photograph them we did not.

Photo Credit: Carson Vaughn, TravelandLeisure.com

Using Googlemaps, we zoomed in, then zoomed in some more until we located them. They are down a long road on private property plastered with big ‘No Trespassing’ signs. The initial sign as you enter is followed by more forbidding ‘Private Property’ signs.  Hmmm, I don’t think we’re the first to try and solve the mystery of this treasure hunt! Smithsonian.com and Travel + Leisure have both written articles about the removal of the heads so I’m guessing many people have been on the hunt before us.

So with regret and much disappointment (so close, yet so far) we decided to let it go. We didn’t get close enough to see the heads, but we made it to the front porch. Google Maps, Smithsonian Magazine and Travel+Leisure all have proof they still exist, and that’s good enough for me. 🙂

 

 

 

 

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