CROAKER, Virginia -- They were supposed to be an attraction that drew history buffs and Williamsburg tourists to Presidents Park near Water Country USA. But the giant busts that depicted the presidents of the United States never did draw the crowds that their creators (and investors) had hoped.
That is one reason why, in 2010, the Presidents Park closed six years after it opened. But what would become of the giant heads of Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, Reagan and the others? They wound up in a field in nearby Croaker, Virginia.
Instead of watching the presidential busts go boom, construction company owner Howard Hankins convinced their owners to let him move the heads to his land. The process was recently detailed in a Smithsonian Magazine article.
There the busts sit as money is raised in an effort to once again make the heads the centerpiece of a Virginia tourist attraction.
"We are currently raising money for a new Presidential Museum and Park in Williamsburg. This museum will create a total experience of the many facets of the US Presidents, their lives, daily operations, history and more," the Williamsburg Presidential Museum Project posted on Facebook. "This project will benefit Williamsburg, the state of Va and the people that visit. Plans include a new facility with exhibits featuring an Oval office, Presidential transportation, The White House, First ladies, a secret service and covert ops area and other Presidential documents and memorabilia."
The Facebook post also detailed some of the history behind the park.
It started in 2004 when Hankins built The Presidents Park for Haley Newman across from Water Country USA in Williamsburg. The park failed in 2010 and Hankins was contracted to remove and dispose of the 20 ft presidential busts. He saved them and many other items from the park instead of destroying them.
Photographer David Ogden took the photos of the presidential busts for his abandonedearth Instagram account.
" really stood out was just how alive they felt when I first saw them," Ogden said. "Another was being among them at night was actually the opposite of spooky, there was this peace to them all."
The heads are on private property and not part of an active tourist attraction.