Wednesday February 24, 2016

Virginia man has 43 crumbling busts of US presidents on his farm

A collection of some of the busts on Howard Hankins' farm in Croaker, Virginia.

A collection of some of the busts on Howard Hankins' farm in Croaker, Virginia. (Pablo Iglesias Maurer/Gothamist.com)

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A Virginia man who owns 43 presidential busts is raising money so that he can open a museum to properly display them. The statues — some of which weigh up to 20,000 pounds — are currently sitting on Howard Hankins' farm in Croaker, Virginia.

"They're so massive. You can see them from a mile away," Hankins tells As it Happens host Carol Off.

The busts were originally commissioned for a tourist attraction that opened in Williamsburg, Virginia a decade ago. But, following financial difficulties, the park closed.

Hankins, who's in the construction business, was tasked with getting rid of the busts. He decided to keep them and move them to his farm.

"I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to save them because they wanted me to crush them," he says.  

Howard Hankins' bust

A glimpse at Abe Lincoln's busted head. (Pablo Iglesias Maurer/Gothamist.com)

Over the years, some of the busts have accumulated some damage — especially Abraham Lincoln.

"Lincoln fell over, unfortunately, and he has got a big hole in the back of his head."

Already, the busts have attracted a lot of attention, including from photographers drawn to the impressive display. 

Hankins has a statue of every American president except Obama, which he plans on commissioning when his museum is up and running. He's also going to make space at his museum for whoever's chosen in the next election. 

And who's Hankins' pick for the next president of the United States? Donald Trump.

"I think it probably will be, the way things are going," says Hankins. "I think he can handle it."

"The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party - and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose." -Abraham Lincoln President Abraham Lincoln’s bust from the (closed) Presidents Park in Williamsburg. Sculpted by artist David Adickes, weighs from 7,500 to 9,000 pounds. Learn about the Williamsburg Presidential Museum Project at www.facebook.com/presidentsinwilliamsburg/ Photograph by ©David Ogden @abandonedearth

A photo posted by Beautiful Abandoned Earth Pics (@abandonedearth) on