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Town of Lucas auctioning first flush of giant public toilet on eBay

By Beccy Tanner
The Wichita Eagle

The wacky folks in Lucas have always been known for their keen sense of humor.

The town of 407 residents is home to the “Garden of Eden,” which features the peculiar work of S.P. Dinsmoor. He was a retired schoolteacher and Civil War veteran who sculpted 113 tons of concrete into various religious and political figures in his backyard.

In recent years, it has become known as the grassroots art capital of Kansas, in large part because it is home to the Grassroots Art Center dedicated to 20th-century Kansas grassroots folk art.

But now, Lucas can add one more notch to its quirky belt: The town has turned to bathroom humor and created a monument making Lucas home of the largest, most blingy toilet in Kansas.

The town has been working on its $100,000 public restroom project for the past four years, and it is almost complete.

Bids are currently being taken on eBay for the honor of a first flush, which is scheduled for 3:21 p.m. June 2 in Lucas. As of Friday afternoon, 46 bids had been received; the highest was $223.50.

The town has scheduled activities throughout the day on June 2, beginning at 10 a.m., to celebrate.

Why a toilet?

Several years ago, some of the town’s leaders gathered to discuss the one thing Lucas needed most: a public restroom.

“The Garden of Eden has none and there were no accessible public restrooms on Main Street, except in the arts center,” said Rosslyn Schultz, the Grassroots Art Center director. So, town residents constructed a massive building designed to look like a large toilet.

The exterior of the giant toilet bowl is sunken so people can sit outside and talk. A giant toilet paper roll sits outside as a conversation starter. The giant toilet’s 14-foot-tall mosaic lid is up.

“Our lid is always up,” Schultz said. “This was done by volunteers and took thousands of hours to put together.”

And every wall is decorated. A chandelier made from the bottoms of wine bottles is only one of the highlights.

Donations for the project have come from across the nation. All but $3,000 has been raised.

“We are hoping that it floats around on the Internet as one of those weird toilets you need to see,” Schultz said. “That is our ultimate hope. We want people talking about it.”

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com.

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