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Littlest Kansas Town Has Biggest Bathroom Pride

Here's the poop on the latest, greatest toilet news from around the world.

It's Toilet Tuesday again! With all the toilet media we've found this week, you might need an extra flush to get this one down:

What town in America is most proud of its public restrooms? That would have to be Lucas, Kansas, which recently celebrated the opening of an outdoors bathroom with an all-day fiesta featuring a costume parade, talent show, toilet-seat toss, a lecture about bowel movements and a replica of Michelangelo's "David" made from 200-plus rolls of toilet paper.

Lucas, located a couple hours' drive northwest of Wichita, is home to about 400 people but attracts thousands of tourists each year for its quirky arts scene. For instance, the town is home to the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the Worlds Largest Things, which has its own amazing theme song. Here's Lucas on Google' Street View:

My apologies, I had it facing away from Lucas. Here's looking into town:

Much better.

Anyway, the public commode, plopped at a new landmark called Bowl Plaza, is the "culmination of a four-year dream to build a downtown restroom in Lucas," reports the Salina Journal. Just a short time ago, the international travelers flocking to Lucas had no adequate place to pee; today, they have a building that is shaped like a toilet tank with a doorway resembling a toilet lid. Benches for waiting outside are also toilet-seat shaped and a sidewalk leading into the lavatory zigzags like unrolling T.P.

Inside this potent powder room are mosaics created by the residents of Lucas, who came together to create Art in the town's moment of need. Here's an indoor stall in all its gastric-voiding glory:

This porcelain artwork, crafted by the smiling Eric Abraham, recalls all the random objects humans have flushed down the bowl, such as a toothbrush, pocket watch and alligator:

What about the actual facilities, you're probably asking? Well, they are assertive in their own special ways. The women's toilets are titled the "Porcelain Throne" and the "Oval Office," whereas the men's urinal is called the "Porcelain Bus" and the handicapped stall is the "Superbowl."

According to the Journal's account of the momentous "First Flush" ceremony, in which townspeople strode down the street in robes and clutching toilet plungers, people trekked from as far away as Washington, D.C., to pay tribute to the almighty john. Here's how one man in a group of bikers put his interest in the unusual restroom:

Joe Kearns, of Pleasant Hill, Mo., rode his Harley Davidson to Lucas with seven other members of the American Heartland Hog group. He said they had a wild idea to hop on their bikes and make the trek to Lucas just to watch a toilet be flushed.
"It's a fun day to ride out," he said. "And I'm always looking for a toilet."

Photos of Bowl Plaza courtesy of the non-profit Get Lucas on Facebook.

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.