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HPPR People & Communities

Welcome to Lucas, KS: Home of the No. 2 restroom in America

Many small towns have welcome signs that proclaim their state athletic championships from years gone by.  But Lucas, Kansas will now be able to welcome visitors with a sign stating, “Welcome to Lucas, home of the No. 2 restroom in the country -2014”.

Lucas won the honor last week on World Toilet Day, an annual event sponsored by the United Nations focused on improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide.  The competition itself, “America’s Best Restroom Contest” is sponsored by Cintas, a company providing various services and products to companies, including restroom supplies. 

Credit Grass Roots Art Center / www.grassrootsart.net/
Grassroots Art Center in Lucas, Kansas

The winning restroom is located in the Grassroots Art Center’s Bowl Plaza.  It was constructed in 2008 as a community effort to provide a public restroom for those visiting the community of about 400 residents, which has become a regional mecca for American folk art.  The building itself is shaped like a toilet and extensively decorated inside and out. 

Lucas is best known as the home of S.P. Dinsmoor’s “Garden of Eden” and has been designated by the state as the "Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas".

The 2014 bathroom contest attracted nominations from a wide range of businesses, including restaurants, a retail complex, an outdoor restroom along a running trail and a children’s toy store. Cintas selected the ten finalists based on cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements.  The public was then invited to vote for their favorite on the contest website. 

The first place winner, Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia, is a formidable competitor.  It’s the most visited public garden in America and renowned for its grand horticulture displays. Its 17 restrooms feature a “green wall” on the outside and etched translucent glass inside that provides natural light, reduces electricity and minimizes the need for light fixtures. 

The Fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis, Missouri took 3rd place.  Other finalists with pictures are listed on the contest website.

Credit Kohler Foundation
Overhead view of the west side of S.P. Dinsmoor’s “Garden of Eden” in Lucas, Kansas.