Why You’ll Want to Take a Day Trip to This Idiosyncratic Monument

Since it was built in the 1980s, Dr. Evermor’s Sculpture Park has brought art lovers and curiosity seekers to a tiny town off of Highway 12, near Baraboo.

Even in a state with more than its fair share of outdoor art installations, Dr. Evermor’s Sculpture Park stands out. Literally. If you drive along Highway 12 in the blu country of rural Sauk County, you’ll find your eyes pulled toward a menagerie of scrap metal sculptures – strange creatures with metallic beaks and talons that look like something Dr. Seuss and Tim Burton might have raised together. And in the middle of that motley collection, a staggering, 300-ton sculpture that stretches skyward.

It’s called the Forevertron. And, like the rest of the sculptures in the garden, it was created by a man named Tom Every, born in 1938, who worked in the wreckage and salvage business. By the 1980s, Every had grown tired of dismantling and demolishing antique machinery. So he began building instead, creating scrap metal sculptures made up of whatever odds and ends he could get ahold of.

(Photo: Courtesy of Mike Kohlbauer)

 

 

(Photo: Courtesy of Robin Zebrowski)

He also created an alter ego for himself. Dr. Evermor, Every decided, was a Victorian professor from Eggington, England, who had made it his life’s mission to construct a 50-foot-tall rocket ship to launch himself into the heavens. Every didn’t take the invented persona too seriously, but he did devote himself to the construction of the Forevertron with gusto incorporating Thomas Edison dynamos from the 1880s, power plant components from the 1920s and other historic oddities into its design. He also managed to salvage the decontamination chamber from the 1969 Apollo 11 spacecraft and work parts of it into the massive sculpture, which he designed and assembled entirely without blueprints.

Every passed away last year. But his Forevertron remains, a testament to his unique vision and creative spirit. “We’re only here a short time,” he told PBS before his death. “We’ve got to leave this planet something. We’ve got to leave it a little better than we found it.”

If You Go

The Sculpture Park is located in the town of Sumpter, behind Delaney’s Surplus Sales, at S7703 US Hwy. 12. It’s open Thursday through Monday from 11 a.m.– 5 p.m. (except on Sundays, when its hours are noon–5 p.m.). Admission is free. And you can find more info at worldofdrevermor.com.

MORE TO EXPLORE

A detour to Devil’s Lake State Park is in order. It’s only about 8 miles northeast of the sculpture park. And you could easily spend a few hours walking along the perimeter of the crystal-clear lake that gives the park its name. Or check out the East Blu Trail, which offers stellar views of both the lake and the craggy, tree-dotted rock formations that surround it. (devilslakewisconsin.com)


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s April issue.

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.