Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 352. The planter that Chuck built

It's Jut Me Again No. 352: The planter that Chuck Hinman built in 1954 still stands at 3812 Lester, Bartlesville, OK (MAP) . Blessed with a prayer, and despite the economies which circumstances imposed at the time, it still stands. If you want to run by and see it, its only 688 miles/11 hours, 49 minutes west of Downtown Columbia, KY, according to Google.
Is Chuck Hinman your favorite Sunday with CM columnist, as many tell us? If so, we hope you'll drop him a line by email. Reader comments to CM are appreciated, as are emails directly to Mr. Hinman at:

The next earlier Chuck Hinman column: Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 091, Hitch-Hiking, Soliciting a Ride by Thumb

By Chuck Hinman

In 1954, after Connie and I moved to our new little house at 3812 Lester here in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, I got the urge to build a brick planter between the front porch and the sidewalk leading to the porch. I bought several hundred buff bricks to do the job.

We didn't have much money so I needed to be economical as possible on the purchase of tools.

For example (and don't laugh) I used one of Connie's square cake pans for a builder's square. This is not so outlandish when you consider that I did not come from a long line of craftsmen who carried a pair of pliers in their diapers when they were babies.

My even attempting to build a simple planter would be like most guys' attempting to build something complicated like the Eiffel Tower in Paris. In other words, it was a formidable undertaking for little old me and I trembled at the outcome!

I had never laid a brick before. So I pressed on.

I decided at a minimum I needed a wheelbarrow in which to mix the mortar, sand, dry cement, a trowel (I rejected the thought of using our pancake turner for a trowel), a cheap level, and a lot of patience. I had about twenty bucks invested in tools which I probably would never use again.

The first day I formed-up with some scrap 2x4's a small trench in the ground a little wider than the width of a brick. This was to hold the cement foundation on which to lay the bricks. The longest part of the trench (14 feet) lay next to the sidewalk along the front of the porch. Then I extended this trough on each end up to where it reached the porch, about four feet.

Using the level, I made sure the mortar would give me a level foundation on which to start.

I let the foundation mortar cure for a couple of days so it wouldn't crack.

With the framing material removed, it was time to start the job with a prayer: "Heavenly Father, you of all people know that I don't know beans about what I am about to get into. I humbly ask that you guide me brick by brick and don't let me make a mess to be laughed at the rest of my life. Thank you in advance for your guidance. In Jesus name, Amen!"

Fast forward two days! The job is done. The tools are cleaned and put away. It looks like a planter without dirt or shrubs. Don't look too carefully or you can see there is a small bend or wave in the brick along the 14' length.

I filled the planter with enriched dirt, and planted three blue spreading pfitzers in it. I noticed the wave in the brick until the pfitzers spread over the bricks...

Here's the part of which I am most proud. I have seen many similar planters on houses that in time cracked and were an eyesore until removed and/or replaced!

My planter has never cracked. It is almost sixty years old! I am now legally blind and walk with a walker. The last time I was by 3812 Lester, the planter I built fifty-five years ago with a minimum of tools is still standing.

It is obvious that God answered the prayer of this thirty-two year old young man that God would lead me in the building of that planter.

Drive by 3812 Lester and see for yourself "the planter that Chuck built"! -Chuck Hinman

This story was posted on 2011-07-24 06:21:44
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.


Quick Links to Popular Features

Looking for a story or picture?
Try our Photo Archive or our Stories Archive for all the information that's appeared on


Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by D'Zine, Ltd., PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270.403.0017

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia! Magazine and D'Zine, Ltd. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.