If you can hold your water long enough to use the facilities in Lucas — about three-and-a-half hours west of Kansas City off Interstate 70 — do it.
We guarantee that you’ve never taken care of business in a public restroom like the blinged-out one that sits on this town’s main drag.
Bowl Plaza is a pretty, popular potty.
Last year, it landed on a Top 10 list of best restrooms in the country in a contest sponsored by Cintas, a designer of public restrooms. Only Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia was voted to have a nicer bathroom.
Never miss a local story.
In tiny Lucas, home to about 400 residents, Bowl Plaza is the only public restroom in town. The town started planning and raising money for it in 2008. It opened with much fanfare and community pride in 2012 to serve the more than 15,000 tourists who visit this Russell County town every year.
Not just any old bathroom would have suited a town known as the “grassroots art capital of Kansas,” where the town’s welcome sign is painted on the “world’s largest souvenir travel plate.”
The keen observer will immediately recognize that there’s something vaguely familiar about the shape of the squat white building on South Main Street near the Grassroots Art Center.
Is it? Could it be?
Yep. It’s shaped like a toilet tank.
And those are three hubcaps affixed to the facade in the shape of the toilet handle.
And yes, that’s a giant roll of toilet paper next to the building, albeit a white roll of concrete and not Charmin.
The benches in front of the building are curved like a toilet seat, so go ahead and strike a pose. You’ll want to.
The seating frames a mosaic in the sidewalk that looks like the water in a toilet bowl; “caught” in the swirl are tiny shoes, eyeglasses, coins, cellphones and a lot of other stuff people accidentally drop in toilets.
The door into the building is framed by a 14-foot mosaic shaped like a lifted toilet seat fashioned from glass bottles, taillights, license plates and other recycled objects. Inside, the two handicap-accessible water closets are befitting Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory — colorful, eye-popping and wacky as all get-out.
The walls, floor to ceiling, on both the men’s and women’s sides are covered with mosaics created by local citizens, the kids too, out of shiny things — broken bottles and dishes, tile squares, bits of mirror, gemlike cabochons — and everyday items such as game pieces and toys.
The women’s bathroom is unabashedly girly with tiny glass flowers, kittens and teacups studding the the walls. A mosaic created by Kansas artist Mri-Pilar over the sink depicts a goddess-like figure whose long tresses stretch across the wall.
On the guys’ side, faux skeleton bones, chess pieces, dominoes, tiny robots and action figures are stuck to the walls.
Have a seat. It will take a while to soak it all in.
119 S. Main St., Lucas, Kan.
Info: Grassroots Art Center, 785-525-6118.