The park was originally conceived by Houston artist David Adickes, who was struck by the idea after visiting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. He teamed with investor Everette “Haley” Newman to turn this idea into a lasting monument for these larger-than-life politicians. When it opened in 2004, Presidents Park featured a sculpture garden with every Commander in Chief from George Washington to George W. Bush, all meticulously crafted by Adickes and his team of sculptors. The busts ranged from 18 to 20 feet tall and weighed in at around 22,000 pounds.
Unfortunately, the $10 million experiment that was Virginia’s Presidents Park wasn’t long for this world; it was shut down in 2010 due to lack of visitors. Money got so tight toward the end that they couldn’t afford the $60,000 to add a bust of Barack Obama to the roster.
After the park was shut down and the land auctioned off, Howard Hankins, who helped build the park, had the heads moved to his family’s farm in Croaker—even though Newman originally just wanted to destroy them. It took nearly a week to move all 43 busts to their new location, and due to their immense size and weight, the move didn’t exactly go smoothly.
Cracked heads and damaged noses were just some of the maladies suffered during the $50,000 relocation.
Though they’ve been at their new home since 2012, there are still no specific plans for the heads. Weather and nature have now taken a considerable toll on the busts.