Fire Insurance

Samuel Dinsmoor planned ahead. By the time the Kansas schoolteacher died in 1932, he had poured 22 years and 2,273 bags of cement into fashioning a concrete Garden of Eden, including a two-story concrete house, a concrete tree of life, a concrete angel and a concrete devil, concrete images of Adam and Eve, and a concrete serpent. Dinsmoor himself lies in the mausoleum in a concrete coffin with a plate-glass window.

Why? “It seems to me that people buried in iron and wooden boxes will be frying and burning up in the resurrection morn. How will they get out when this world is on fire? Cement will not stand fire, the glass will break. This cement lid will fly open and I will sail out like a locust.”

Ever resourceful, at the foot of his coffin he placed a 2-gallon concrete jug. “In the resurrection morn, if I have to go below, I’ll grab my jug and fill it with water on the road down. They say they need water down below.”