Where I live there are amazing towns nearby with such historical places to visit like this a Wisconsin Concrete Park. I never knew this park existed until one day we were taking a drive to Phillips, Wisconsin – a town about an hour from where I live. I’d never been to this town before so it was an adventure and a beautiful Fall day.
As we neared the town we passed what looked like a stone graveyard to me but really wasn’t sure what it was. I said to my boyfriend and my son, ‘did you see that? What did we just pass?’ So we turned around to go back to check it out. I was totally amazed when I read the sign Wisconsin Concrete Park. As we entered the park there were stone statues everywhere. I was so excited to get out of the vehicle and take a closer look. They were amazing! Luckily my phone has a camera on it since I didn’t have my regular camera with me. I just have to have to take photos of the fabulous statues. I was like a kid running all over the place. I’d never seen anything like it before.
So lets get started. You don’t want to miss the tour.
Welcome – Lets Take A Tour….
Lets start with a little history about the creator of these statues.
Fred Smith – Sculptor and Creator
Fred Smith was a local guy from Price County. He was lumberjack, a farmer, a dance hall musician and tavern owner. Besides all that he became a sculptor and created 200 statues starting in 1950 at the amazing age of 65. They are displayed in the town of Phillips, Wisconsin. He made them of cement and broken glass pieces. His sculptures are of local legends and heroes – cowboys, miners, Indians and soldiers. The animals he created are of deer, horses, cattle, oxen and more. The statues are uniquely built on wooden frames wrapped with mink wire. Then they are layered with hand mixed concrete and decorated with various broken glass pieces such as beer bottles. When the sun shines on the glass pieces the figures look like they are wearing a glistening coat of armor. It’s amazing to see! So much work has gone into theses statues.
After Fred’s death in 1976 the park was purchased by the Kohler Foundation and later gifted to Price County where the town of Phillips is located. The park is maintained and promoted by the Price County Forestry & Parks and Tourism departments with assistance from the Friends of Fred Smith, Inc. It is kept free and open to the public. I think that is really great that the community got together to help maintain all of Fred’s work of the cement sculptures. It is a super neat park; one you don’t want to miss if you are visiting in the area.
Now let’s look at some amazing photos of the statues!
What are these statues of……
Fred built figures of Indians, miners, cowboys and soldiers. Some of them ride concrete horses or drive teams of concrete oxen. While others stand in long rows greeting you as walk by. Ben Hur is quite impressive and one of my favorites. That’s who is in the this photo along with my son. He thought it looked like Hitler but got quite a kick out of this statue and just had to have his picture take with him.
There is a wedding party in the mist of the all the figures and animals. Up on a hill is the Budweiser wagon all hitched with horses ready to go. Take a walk further and you’ll find Indians. Watch out so the arrows don’t get you; there’s even one that looks like he might want to hug you.
As you walk around the park looking at all the amazing statues be sure to stop at the wishing well and make a wish. I know I did!
My Favorite Statues
ABOUT THE AUTHOR