February 15, 2009

Concrete Teepee - Lawrence, KS

Today, I went with my parents to Lawrence, Kansas to visit the University of Kansas Law School. We spent some time looking around campus, at Green Hall and student residences near by. After an hour, I suggested we go see a roadside attraction I had heard about - the Concrete Teepee. It is 50 feet tall and 33 feet around and was once the center of a Native American-themed tourist trap.

Frank W. McDonald patented the giant teepee that was once surrounded by a gas station, restaurant, and motor court of smaller teepee tents that made up "Indian Village" off US Highway 40. The other teepees are long gone. All that is left is the sign, the 50-foot concrete teepee and a one story building with a teepee on either side. The sign says the teepees are available for special occasions - to be rented for birthday parties or weddings. Personally, I'm not sure why someone would have a wedding at the Concrete Teepees. It seems to be an extremely politically incorrect attraction and years of decay from its abandonment make it seem hardly nostalgic or idealic in any way. The most recent development seems to be the high water markings on the side of the 50-foot concrete teepee from the Kansas River floods in 1951 and 1935.

We stood around for awhile, wondering why someone had bothered to build this thing in the 1920's and wondering even more whether it was ever popular. Afterward, we decided to grab something to eat on Massachusetts street in Lawrence. We stopped at Jefferson's because there was a parking spot out front and a sign for oysters and burgers - a brilliant combination. The food was okay, the server was wonderful but the wait was ridiculous! We sat for almost an hour waiting for three burgers and a tray of baked oysters! Seriously, I could have killed a cow, ground the beef and grilled a burger before they got us our food.

All in all, it was a good trip. I got to see a potential law school, enjoy a decent burger and see a politically incorrect roadside attraction with no visible purpose.

Trip time: 4 hours
Distance Traveled: 80 miles
Soundtrack: REM's live album

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