How 43 Crumbling Presidential Heads Ended Up in a Virginia Field

In Croaker, Virginia, stands a sight that would make just about anybody stop in their tracks — 43 ghostly effigies of presidents past. On Howard Hankins’ family farm are all that remains of Virginia’s Presidents Park, a now-defunct open-air museum where visitors could once walk among the 18-to-20-foot-tall presidential heads. The park first opened in Williamsburg in 2004, the brainchild of local landowner Everette “Haley” Newman and Houston sculptor David Adickes. However, their presidential visions soon went bust……literally. The park, which cost about $10 million to create, went belly-up in 2010 due to a lack of visitors. Doomed in part by its location — hidden behind a motel and too far away from colonial Williamsburg’s tourist attractions — the park went into foreclosure. That's when Hankins offered to take the heads and move them to his 400-acre farm. The week-long process cost about $50,000, which Hankins views as an investment. He is now working with a couple local governments to find a good site to rebuild the museum. His goal is to build something both local children and local economies can benefit from while educating the public and making money.