Eyesore or city landmark? Car cut in half spurs controversy in Edgerton

EDGERTON, Kan. -- People living in a small town in southwest Johnson County are upset over a decision to get rid of a fixture that’s been around for 30 years.

If you’ve driven into Edgerton, Kansas, on Highway 56, you’ve likely seen a car split in half sitting on a lot in front of an old service station. It has a sign on it that reads, “Divorced, she got 1/2.”

“I have so many people stop there taking pictures saying, ‘I love this. This is great,’” said Danny O’Neal, the current property owner.

Ray Braun, a longtime resident of Edgerton, had the idea to cut the 1987 Chevy Citation in half and put different signs on it. A few years following his death, O’Neal bought the property from Braun’s son in 2015 and decided to leave the car where it rested.

“If you remove that half-car, where’s the city?” O’Neal asked.

On Wednesday, the city council voted that the car was in violation of an ordinance that prohibits junked motor vehicles on private property.

“I own the property,” O’Neal said. “It’s not an eyesore to me. It’s special, and I’m going to fight to keep the car there.”

Scott Peterson, the assistant administrator for the City of Edgerton, said they received a “series” of complaints about the car over the last several months. He couldn’t give an exact number but said he knew of at least three complaints.

“Sure, there might’ve been a couple, but did you invoke the complaint?” O’Neal questioned. “Did you go beseeching for complaints because you want the car gone? We don’t know.”

FOX4 talked to several residents who disagreed with the council’s decision.

“As many times as I’ve seen it, it still makes me laugh,” said Joe Sprague, who has lived in Edgerton for 23 years. “People drive by and see it all the time, and I’d be upset if they took it away.”

“It’s nostalgic,” said Sara White, who’s lived in the Edgerton for 13 years. “I look for it every time I drive out and in.”

White stopped by the car on Wednesday after hearing about the council’s decision. She said she smiles every time she drives past it.

“This is history, a historical landmark, and I don’t think we need to get rid of it,” White said. “It’s upsetting because it’s going to leave a void.”

O’Neal said the thought of having to remove the car is frustrating.

“It hurts,” O’Neal said. “That’s something that should be left there and left alone.”

The city council is meeting Thursday to vote on a resolution requiring the car be removed by May 7. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall.