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Head of State: A walk between the busts of a giant president

If you want to stay close to the head of the nation, head to this swamp just outside the historic. In Williamsburg, Virginia, a huge, rotten bust, about 20 feet high and weighing a few tons, depicts all US presidents from George Washington to George W Bush.

"They are just huge," exclaimed one visitor.

"This is all about the atmosphere," another said.

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Washington to Bush 43: Visitors pass the US President's 42 huge busts (only one Glover Cleveland) .. CBS News

But they are accidental attractions. "You would think it's like a museum," Ben said. "Instead, they are outside, just inside the element."

All on the grounds of Howard Hankins' Recycle Center.

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Most important by historians, including Franklin D. Roosevelt (center), George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas The bust of the seven presidents considered Jefferson, a little bigger than the others. CBS News

Hankins, also a builder, originally helped build a bust park that opened in 200445} Take advantage of Williamsburg's tourism industry. But just six years later, "the economy was hit hard," he said. "They couldn't keep the doors open, and they called me and asked me if I would crush them because I would crush them."

Correspondent Rita Braver asked, "Why didn't you want to say,'Well, let's get rid of these things. Nobody wants them.'"

"They are our history," Hankins replied. "I don't care who it is. You save it and learn from it."

So he decides to use the company's resources to transfer the president. Decided. The result was damage to all presidents, some of which were significant. "Lincoln over there, he fell and opened a little behind his head. He's okay, I can fix him. I put Jackson back all the way. So he was painted, He looked really good. In the meantime. "

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Monumental Abraham Lincoln. CBS News

Hankins just plunged into his fortune. But quietly, the wordscame outVisitors sneaked into social media, started posting photos, and history lovers like John Plashal, a photographer and medical equipment sales expert. I got more attention from my house. Attracted by the eerie image of his head, he asked Hankins to put him in and take a picture one night.

"I think he mandated because I'm very polite to him," Prashall said. "And I was crazy."

I was so crazy that I had Hankins open a property about once a month, sell tickets online, and small group visitors and guides. Allowed tour with. "It started locally, then expanded to domestic, and now international," Prashall said.

And the declining head is gaining even greater support on social media. One TikTok post has nearly 8 million views.

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The president's head is a social media star. CBS News

The man who created the statue, 95-year-old David Adickes, feels all kinds of joy. "It surprises me," he told Braver. "I'm sorry they were all bust. If I knew they would be moved, I could have taught the guy how to move."

In my hometown of Texas A successful painter and sculptor with a prominent work, Adix was inspired by a trip to Mount Rushmore in the early 1990s. Their eyes. "

Braver asked," They felt like they were too far away. "

"Yes. Back in the middle of the night, the idea came to my little mind. Wouldn't it be great to be the president of all, not just four?"

He has his own private collection of giant headsoutside the Houston studio, just below the busy interstate highway.

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Sculptor David Adickes and correspondent Rita Braver outside the Houston studio. CBS News

"It's a pretty array," Braver said. "It's like pulling your leg."

His latest sculpture is from our 44th President. As the documentary "Building Obama" shows, Adickes first carves a small clay model, then a large foam styrene base, and finally a concrete-filled mold to cast the statue. The shoulders are made separately on the wire frame.

Obama Construction:Robert JohnsDavid Adickes Project YouTube

He says it takes about a month to make one of the busts.

Braver asked, "Why do you think it is important for Americans to see such statues?"

"History," Adix replied. "You know why someone has a statue of something. History."

Adickes initially wanted to have at least three different centers featuring these busts. I was there. However, the South Dakota park near Mount Rushmore has closed. So now the only place visitors can see them is the Virginia recycling plant, which depicts Jordan Patterson and Eric Nelson who understand the implications of the collapse.

"Some of them have collapsed, some of them are new, and some are more damaged than others," Nelson said. "In a sense, they're still watching over their people."

"Hierarchy" Patterson suggested.

"Yes, you don't necessarily have to put them on the pedestal, but only the size of what they represent."

And Howard Hankins, who saved these statues, said they. They say they try to save them, but they don't try to repair them. As Braver said, "Some people really like corruption and their appearance, weathering, etc. Do you do that?"

Hankins said, "It's more of them. Gives the character of. I will probably keep them that way. "

"Many people really admire you for the fact that you don't destroy these things."

"I'm the kids who really affect you." I received some moving letters from, thank me, and I got me to send me a $ 10 gift card, it's like you're making fun of me. " He laughed. "Mainly for them. Let's get them out and have fun."

    
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Produced by Story Michel Kessel. Editor: Lauren Bernero. 

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