Destination Truckhenge — Art Park, fishing and camping
Along the rural Topeka Kincaid Road, look to the west and in the distance you will notice 1950s pickup trucks protruding from the prairie. You are viewing Truckhenge.
It’s part of the Lessman Farm, a 63-acre stretch of land that includes an Art Park, a 30-acre fishing lake and camping grounds.
The territory has been in the Lessman family since 1879. Now it’s open to visitors to enjoy the land, and it’s the source of co-owner and artist Ron Lessman’s muse.
Here’s more of the story behind Truckhenge, and ways you may partake a visit.
Art Park — Mr. Lessman’s folly
The Lessman Farm included on property an old school bus and old pickup trucks. In the early 2000’s members of the county government requested to Ron Lessman and his wife Linda, remove the vehicles because, they claimed, in the event of a flood the bus and pickup trucks would be swept in the current and cause catastrophe to communities downstream.
Instead of removing the vehicles, Mr. Lessman embedded each in 21 tons concrete to assure county officials that no flood could sweep the vehicles to menace.
Truckhenge came to be. Lessman Farm became Mr. Lessman’s palette. He added Boathenge, featuring motorboats encased in 4 tons of rock each. He began Beer Bottle City erecting model buildings constructed with beer bottles encased in concrete.
Mr. Lessman started creating chainsaw sculptures from fallen logs. He salvaged limestone from the Kansas State Capitol building during the building 2013 renovation, and carved images into block pieces. These may be viewed along the Art Park tour.
Quonset House — The Lessman Haven
Mr. Lessman and his wife Linda built their home as a Quonset.The house is constructed predominantly with recycled materials including Sheetrock and lumber salvaged from demolished houses, and hardwood floors made from palettes that held rubber from WWII.
The lower level has a concrete floor that Mr. Lessaman made his canvas. “I let the wrinkles in the concrete help me find what I’m going to paint,” he said.
The upper level is the Lessman home. The front area features a greenhouse garden and painted floors and walls. Beyond that opens a ‘front door’ to an open kitchen, dining and living room area, plank wood floors, and giant wood doors that open to adjoining rooms.
Mr. Lessman and his wife Linda offer tours that feature the Artwalk and the Quonset House. Tours donations are welcome. Some of the chainsaw sculptures and limestone art are for sale.
More information: The catfish pond is available for fishing, and portions of the land are available for camping for an earthy fee.
For more information, and to schedule a tour and art viewing, call (785) 234-3486 or or visit here..
***photos by Jacquée T.