Located in Wisconsin's Dane County, not too far from the State Capital of Madison, Mount…
Wisconsin: Sumpter – Dr. Evermor’s Sculpture Park
Exploring the wonderful and crazy world of Dr Evermor (aka Tom Every)
S7703 US HWY 12
Town of Sumpter, WI 53591
When planning our journey through Wisconsin I had stumbled across something that caught my imagination; Dr Evermor’s Sculpture Park just south of Baraboo, on route 12 heading towards Wisconsin, Dells.
We easily found the Evermore sculptures park as its entrance is marked on the side of the road by some of his sculptures, so we of course pull off to see what is going on. The sign on the gate stated the park opened at 12 noon and as it was 11:45 am we decided to wait it out for a few minutes to see what happened. In the parking lot, there was one other car, which was empty and as forlorn as we were. A few minutes after noon our hopes rose as some people appeared from the side of the property along a fence that runs around the sculpture park. The area was covered in grass, thistles and other types of vegetative detritus and Karen (who is much more suspicious of such things than I) suspected they had been in the bushes for a romp. As is turned out they were also hoping to visit the sculptures and had been around the back where you can see some through the fence. They also told us they believed the creator, Tom Evermore, had passed away and had heard that there were stories of the site closing. We, of course, we sad and disappointed at the news but decided to follow on in their footsteps and set off through the undergrowth like intrepid explorers – and as our predecessors had warned we were met with thorns, thistles and brambles. Nonetheless, we continued our journey and reached the back of the lot, where you could see through the cracks in (and, for the loftier of us, over) the fence. There were some amazing sculptures of various sizes. The centrepiece is a huge art structure entitled the Forevertron; an orchestra of strange metallic creatures and a huge creepy spider. Karen mused how fantastic this was looking through the fence into this secret world. After a few minutes gazing on this strange landscape, we decided to return through the Wisconsin jungle to our van. Just as we neared the end of our journey I noticed some people in the park wandering around and as we reached our van I saw even more people. Our hopes were raised (although the gate was still locked) that we’d be able to get into our secret (not so secret now) garden.
The entrance to the sculpture park is most bizarre as you pass through a graveyard of dead radiators, industrial equipment of all shape and size and large sections of broken cars. As we cleared this mayhem you enter the park, the park opened up before us. It was as if we had passed across the river Styx and were now entering Valhalla! As we had observed from our portal on this strange world (well a hole in the fence!) there was a phantasmic and weird collection of creatures and mechanical aberrations (in an artistic sense).
As we wandered around we come across an elderly gentleman wearing a large floppy hat, scurrying around in a wheelchair. He encouraged Jack and Emily to pick up some metal beaters and hit them against some cylindrical pipes welded along the back of a curling length of metal with scales – somewhat like a dragon’s tail. The sounds were clear and shrill – but are obviously tuned. Karen got talking to this gentleman, as she does, and said how wonderful this all was and whether he got to come here often. He said most days. It turned out that this is the man who built all these wonderful structures – Tom Every, aka Dr Evermor, and contrary to the rumours he was very much alive and kicking, although clearly not well (he had suffered a stroke). For several minutes we chatted and he told us about some of his workpieces, such as the Forevertron. He regaled Jack with the story of how you could climb up into the capsule on the top and be beamed to wherever you desired to go. Whilst he was telling these stories, he seemed to magically escape his crippled body and become Peter Pan! It was wonderful to see him living through his art. After a minute or two, Tom called across his wife, who was a bit reluctant to talk at first. After while she warmed up and we spent some two hours talking to them. It was a fascinating visit.