A - Wisconsin Concrete Park ~ B - Ave Marie Grotto
A - WISCONSIN CONCRETE PARK
Its hard to believe that just one man, Fred Smith, built the Wisconsin Sculpture Garden. Illiterate and with no formal schooling, Smith worked in lumber camps for almost 50 years. In 1948, at the age of 62, he began to build monuments to the things that were important to him. As one area resident noted, It was like instead of writing his autobiography he sculpted it. His sculptures included European immigrants who had come to Wisconsin: the lumberjacks who cleared the forests, the stump farmers who cleared the rugged land and the plowmen and farmers who enjoyed an occasional frosty bottle of Milwaukees finest after a long day in the fields.. Smith worked on the Concrete Park from 1948 to 1964. After Smith suffered a crippling stroke in 1964, the future of the Wisconsin Concrete Park was uncertain, until The Kohler Foundation (yes, the bathroom fixture company) committed to restoring and preserving the site. According to Ruth Kohler, director of the Kohler Foundation, These are not simply oddities, they are important works of art These important works are the legacy of a man viewers will come to know as a backwoods renaissance man a lumberjack, fiddler, farmer, pub owner and sculptor.