Concrete Ideas: Weird wonderful Wisconsin

Riding through the beautiful farm country of northern Wisconsin, we passed fields of asparagus, young corn and lots of dairy cows. In the town of Phillips, there is a unique state park: Fred Smith’s Wisconsin Concrete Park.

Fred Smith (1886-1976) began creating his sculptures when he retired from his lumberjack work at the age of 63. He created over 200 sculptures in 15 years. The sculptures are placed around his property and represent stories about northern Wisconsin and other historical moments.There are broken pieces of glass, bottles, shells, reflectors and other colorful objects used to embellish the statues. Fred Smith was illiterate, however, he had a typist transcribe his comments about the sculptures and the notes were framed and installed on stone pedestals throughout the park (those have since been replaced with anodized aluminum replicas).The sculpture garden also includes his house, now a gift shop and information center, a studio for local artists and markers where his barn and tavern were.

Fred Smith’s sculpture park is a whimsical and wonderful way to spend some time in northern Wisconsin.

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