February 22, 2009

Bust of Andrew Taylor Still - Topeka, KS

As I was walking back to my car from the World's Largest Wren, I passed the Kansas Association of Osteopathic Medicine. On the left side, I noticed a small sort of garden. There was a red brick path off the sidewalk that led into the area that circled a creepy looking bronze bust with stone benches around it like pews around an altar. I circled it looking for a plaque or explanation of who this man was but there was nothing. Just this memorial garden in homage to head and hand of a really creepy looking man.

The eyes of the bust glance to the side, it makes it seem as though he is regarding you with a sidelong stare - he is sizing you up for some unknown purpose. I know the bone he is holding in his hand is supposed to be a sign of his powers as a healer, but with the creepy stare it becomes more menacing. Like he is threatening to hit me with it. This is supposed to be an homage to this guy, but really he doesn't seem like someone I would want to spend too much time with.

When I get home, I look up the the Kansas Association of Osteopathic Medicine online. There is no information about the bust itself except for a picture. But browsing more I learn it might be Andrew Taylor Still who created osteopathic medicine in 1874, a method of healing that focuses on the unity of all body parts. After a little more research, I found that Still may have this little memorial garden in Kansas but he actually founded the first school of osteopathic medicine in Kirksville, Missouri. It still exists although now it carries his name as the A.T. Still University.

The creepy bust of Still doesn't do much to improve my opinion of Topeka. I still think it is the most depressing place I have traveled to in a while. But I will be giving it another chance soon. I'm going to go back to see the Brown v. Board of Education Historical site, only a few blocks away from the wren and the bust. We'll see if the second visit proves more uplifting than the first.

Click here to see more pictures!

Soundtrack: Fiona Apple "Extraordinary Machine"

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