Answer: You do a little research, and plan to take a week each way meandering around the countryside looking for roadside art! Here's a sample of what you can see if you go looking for it:
"The Helicopter", by Steve Gerberich, greets shoppers from the west side of the plaza. And all along the plaza are additional works, but sadly many of them are in less than good condition. The clock (right) moved occasionally in fits and starts, but in good repair it must have been a wonder to watch as the balls moved through the mechanism reminiscent of the game "Mouse Trap". But then, I've always been a sucker for Rube Goldberg machinations, ever since I first encountered "A Big Ball of String" as a child.
But it is also home to an a huge assortment of metal spiders and dragons and bird-like creatures. As we strolled around the "grounds", we happened upon two humongous Fiddle Birds,
not realizing at first that they were part of an entire orchestra!
The body of each creature in the "Bird Band" includes one or more musical instruments, making the entire orchestra an astonishing and complex single-themed work of art. I found it impossible to photograph it in such a way as to do it justice, so the picture above has over two dozen "hot spots" in it, each with a close-up of birds of a related specie. When you mouse over a hot spot, a message will give you some idea of what you will see if you click on the spot.
We hear that negotiations are underway to preserve Dr. Evermor's site, or at least some of his art,
and send our best wishes to all parties involved for a successful conclusion!
So began our tour of Jurustic Park, home to the creatures of Clyde Wynia's imagination. As he tells the story, Clyde dug these creatures out of the marshes (here in Marshfield, of course) where they have lain these untold millennia, victims of industrial pollution.
Clyde gives a great tour of his "findings", peppered with some hilarious (and sometimes slightly off-color) stories about the creatures and their habits. Note the sign under the fish: "Wisconsin Piranhas (Vicious Phishes)". Clyde's wife Nancy is an accomplished glass and fiber artist, and in their honor we named our new pet rustosaur Clancy. Clancy is a small flightless Squat Bird with a spring neck who responds to a gentle kick by nodding his head. I also have a thing for kinetic art...
If you're having trouble finding the park, take WI 97 north through Marshfield, and turn left on
County Road E, then left on Sugarbush. While you're back there, be sure to take a walk
through Foxfire Gardens.
And before you leave Marshfield, have a look at the world's largest
round barn at the fairgrounds.
Anglers will go nuts over the Hall of Fame, which includes entire wings filled with outboard motors and lures and rods and reels and of course, a lot of stuffed fish. But lovers of unusual art and architecture will also find the price of admission cheap for the privilege of seeing these spectacular oversized piscines. Take a picnic and a lot of pictures!
including a few we missed because we didn't read our brochure closely enough. The lesson here is
to not be in a hurry, and realize that the sites on the main drag are not always everything there is to see.
Unfortunately, we arrived at the Kegs too early for lunch, but as long as it's daylight it's
never too early for a photo op!
And here we see the westbound end of an eastbound W'eel Turtle:
Gary told us that it typically takes about 5 years (!) to build one of the sculptures. Design and partial construction is done at his shop. He then trucks the pieces out to the site and assembles it there. By this time it has rusted, so he sand-blasts it and paints it. And finally he builds the picnic area surrounding each sculpture.
So far he has eight sculptures in place: Geese in Flight, Deer Crossing, Grasshopper's Delight,
Fisherman's Dream (still under construction), Pheasants on the Prairie, Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again,
The Tin Family and next to the gift shop, a motorized household (just push the button).
Gary has plans for a total of eleven, so come
back periodically (and buy more T-shirts to support Gary's work!).
Wayne does his work 200 miles away in St. Lawrence, and moves it to the park for final assembly.
The "Egyptian Longhorn", made of railroad tie plates, is 60 feet tall, weighs 25 tons and took
3 years to build. It is clearly visible from the interstate, but a visit to the park is certainly
worth leaving the highway for. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day (8 AM to 6 PM) a paid admission includes
a tour hosted by Wayne. While he claims no interest in computers, he does have a
Mr. Rusch spent most of his
life as a farmer, becoming a self-taught master of masonry in his retirement. He passed away shortly
after his 100th birthday in 1985.
There are several more pictures from these sites linked from my Roadside Americana page. Those pictures, as well as this selection, were culled from the 458 (!) pictures I took over 18 days and 5600 miles. Which means there's a whole lot more to see, so get going!
©2005, Kenneth R. Koehler. All Rights Reserved.