In 1983, Tom Every retired from a career in the wreckage and salvage business with tons of parts collected from factories and industrial sites. He created an alter ego, Dr. Evermor, and began working on the Forevertron, a contraption intended to launch him “into the heavens on a magnetic lightning force beam.” The huge sculpture includes parts of two dynamos built by Thomas Edison, the decontamination chamber from the Apollo 11 mission, and tons of other stuff. A glass ball enclosed in copper is Evermor’s “spacecraft.” It sits atop the sculpture. The construction includes a telescope through which skeptics can watch the flight and a gazebo in which Queen Victoria can view the proceedings.
The Sculpture Park is on Route 12 south of Baraboo, Wisconsin. We followed the signs and parked in what looked like a junk yard. (We had the place to ourselves at first. The busload of students didn’t arrive until later.)
The large, gray, ribbed structure is the Apollo 11 decontamination chamber.
I had the red chair in tow, and took a few photos of it around the sculpture. A woman appeared and said, “I thought I saw a chair I didn’t recognize.” She asked me if I was a professional photographer and I assured her that I wasn’t. I explained the chair briefly. She seemed reluctant to believe me, but walked off and disappeared.
The Forevertron is the central feature of the park, but not the only one.
Overlord Master Control Tower
The Juicer Bug
The Bird Band
The grounds were scattered with other large sculptures.
There was also a lot of stuff that hadn’t yet been built into a sculpture. All of this was just scattered around haphazardly. At first, I found myself wishing it was better taken care of, but the chaos began to grow on me. I think it’s part of the park’s charm.
I saw my wife talking with the woman who had confronted me earlier. I wandered over and discovered that she was Eleanor Every, the wife of the creator. She said that Tom Every was in a retirement home now, but that she brings him to the park when the weather is nice. She paints the artwork and buys scrap metal (her son still creates pieces), but most of her time is spent policing the park because things have been stolen. I asked if I could get her picture in the red chair and she said, “Finally, something is happening with the chair.” I guess it bothered her that I’d been carrying it around and not using it.
I didn’t mention that I had taken one earlier shot.
Eleanor took a look at the chair and said she could tell it was an antique by the hardware.
We hung around for about an hour, taking photos and pointing things out to each other. Even though we went everywhere several times, I’m sure I missed a lot. I was amazed by how the artists were able to give personalities and facial expressions to creatures made from basically unaltered metal parts. The word that kept coming into my mind was “whimsy.”