I’ve been honored to capture even a few sessions of Dan and Emily. This couple adores traveling and exploring new places. This engagement session was taken in a miraculous place – President Heads in Virginia. I am so happy that this joyful couple chose me as their wedding photographer too!
In Croaker, Virginia stands a sight that would make just about anyone stops in their tracks. 43 ghostly effigies of presidents past crowd together in the tall grass. Some of the 18-to-20-foot busts have crumbling noses. The busts are all that remains of Virginia’s Presidents Park, a now defunct open-air museum where visitors could once walk among the presidential heads. But their presidential visions soon (literally) went bust. The park, which cost about $10 million to create, went belly-up due to a lack of visitors in 2010. Doomed in part by location—it was hidden behind a motel and slightly too far away from colonial Williamsburg’s tourist attractions, the park went into foreclosure.
That’s where Hankins, who helped build the park, comes in. Before the land was auctioned off, he was asked to destroy the busts. But Hankins didn’t feel right about it, and instead offered to take the heads and move them to his 400-acre farm. And so began the laborious process of moving 43 giant presidents, each weighing in between 11,000 and 20,000 pounds, to a field ten miles away. Hankins estimated the weeklong process cost about $50,000—not including the damage done to each sculpture during the move. Hankins’ field wasn’t officially open to visitors. But intrepid explorers and photographers have found ways of getting to the crumbling presidential ruin anyway.