Folk Art Wisconsin: Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron

As fall finally descends upon Wisconsin the time is right for a road trip. I love Wisconsin’s farmlands and rolling hills especially when the trees are raging with yellows, reds and golds. But even these showstoppers can’t hold a candle to some of the folk art installations throughout the state.

In the past, I’ve visited the Dickeyville Grotto, Philip’s Concrete park, and Grandview, which all use concrete and mosaics as the basis for their art. Last week I finally had a chance to visit Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron, which uses scrap metal as the basic medium.

Dr. Evermor is the reborn name of Tom Every, who hated what he was doing to destroy the artifacts of 19th and 20th Century and wanted to salvage them instead. In the 1980s, he sold his demolition business to his son and began creating his sculpture garden and its focal point, the Forevertron. The Forevertron weighs about 300 tons and stands about 50 feet high. It was once named the “World’s Largest Scrap Metal Sculpture,” by Guinness World Records, but has since been displaced.

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The Forevertron was built to take Dr. Evermor to the celestial sphere when he dies. It is made up of pieces of the places he destroyed in his former life. He wrecked everything from breweries to railroad engines and the Forevertron even includes Thomas Edison’s bipolar electrical dynamos and the autoclaves used to sterilize the moon rocks from the Apollo project.

As you wander around the grounds, a flock of imaginative creatures, whimsical carriages, and fanciful resting spots make you think you’ve landed in Whoville. Dr. Evermor’s goal was to blend history and art and said that the energy of the original creator continues to be passed on.

As I walked around the garden, I did wonder who had touched all these items before, where they had come from, and what their original intention was. Some, such as the re-purposed musical instruments in his Bird Band, were easy to see. Others made me squint or look inside, as with a large boulder-sized cylinder that almost looked like someone could be living inside.

While we were there, we had a chance to meet Lady Evermor. She told us that Dr. Evermore doesn’t work at the sculpture park anymore after suffering a stroke. I asked if he still does art and though he is limited, she said he does, transforming the day’s news into scrapbooks. Maybe someday we’ll see those and continue to feel the energy of Dr. Evermor.

See a video of Dr. Evermor’s sculpture garden at catherinelanser.com

Narrative nonfiction and memoir. Querying my memoir about my family, told through the lens of brain tumor and father’s stroke. www.catherinelanser.com

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