WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Imagine a six-story treehouse overlooking a nearly-life-sized dinosaur and a man-made pond. An Augusta man’s dream of collecting and sharing historical pieces with the world has become a reality.
“You know, as a kid, you always want a big playground. I never had a big playground, so I decided, what the hell, I will build my own and go from there,” said Jason Lee Bradley.
Bradley, a professional landscaper, started working on what he calls Preservation Acres six years ago at his home a couple of miles east of Augusta.
“When I bought this place in 2016, it was pretty much like a flat parking lot,” he said.
Today it’s home to dozens, if not hundreds, of historical artifacts Bradley has collected himself.
“I just have always loved creating, landscaping, building anything and then I have also had a huge passion for antiques, learning the history, finding the validity of things, so I was just like what better place to do something to show examples of work using new and reclaimed material and bringing the old to a new life,” Bradley explained.
The 43-year-old considers himself a picker, someone who travels the country in search of unique items.
“I will grab a truck, trailer. I have taken a car before and I have even had to strap signs to the top of a car with baling wire and anything I could find. I just go door knocking, hit small little towns, back roads just knock on doors, go to coops, just any way I can possibly find the stuff,” he said.
That “stuff” includes antique vehicles, a Joyland Amusement Park train, original White Eagle Oil memorabilia, Coca-Cola signs, and more. It’s all perfectly placed on Bradley’s property, surrounded by rock gardens and structures he hand built.
KSN asked Bradley what others have said about his project.
“They are almost so shocked they are silent because they don’t expect this to be kind of sitting in the heart of Kansas,” he said. They are pretty amazed that it wasn’t built by a big company or anything. It’s just by me on the weekends, evenings, and days that I don’t have much to do.”
Bradley hopes to one-day open Preservation Acres to the public and share his love of history with others.
“It is almost like a calling. Somebody needs to do this. I feel like it needs to be done, or it’s just going to be lost. If this ends up being my legacy and this is all I amount to in life is building this place, you know, so then be it,” Bradley said.
Bradley is always searching for new leads and historical pieces. If you think you might have something of interest you can contact him at 316-650-0946.