Presidents Park: A new attraction in the Black Hills

Representatives of Presidents Park stopped Wednesday in front of the Corn Palace in Mitchell with a newly completed bust of Barack Obama, pictured here. The bust is now on display at Presidents Park near Lead in the Black Hills. (Photo by Seth Tupper, used courtesy of The Daily Republic)I had never heard of Presidents Park in the Black Hills until Wednesday, when I was working at my day job for The Daily Republic newspaper in Mitchell. I took a call from the Corn Palace director, who told me that some people from Presidents Park were coming through with a giant bust of Barack Obama and were stopping in front of the Corn Palace for a photo op.

Our photographer was out on another assignment, so my editor told me to go shoot a picture. When I got to the Corn Palace, I met David Adickes, the owner of Presidents Park and sculptor of all the park’s presidential busts. There’s a 20-foot-high bust for each president arranged in a park-like setting near Lead.

Adickes is from Houston, Texas. He made the bust of Obama there and hauled it up to South Dakota this week on a flatbed trailer, making several publicity stops along the way. He handed out free passes to everyone he met.

When I told him I’d never heard of Presidents Park, he told me something like "Nobody has. That’s the problem." I don’t know if that’s the actual quote, but that was the essence of what he said. I could tell he was hoping that the Obama bust tour would drum up some attention for his fledgling attraction, which he said is six years old.

I can tell you from seeing the Obama bust in person that Adickes’ creations, made of steel skeletons and covered in concrete, are quite interesting to look at. They’re very similar in style to Mount Rushmore, and it appears from the park’s Web site that they’re displayed in a very nice, natural setting.

So if you’re near Lead, I’d encourage you to check out Presidents Park. I hope to see it myself.

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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