Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden & Museum

Prairie Moon Road just off Wi 35, between Fountain City and Cochrane

Lifetime collection of a self-taught artisan; Restored by the Kohler Foundation in 1994

Photos 

The 260 Foot Arched Fence

The fence runs the length of the north edge of the property and is just as plumb and true as it was when Rausch built it in 1958.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning

Map 

Description 

Herman Rausch retired from farming after forty years, and purchased the Prairie Moon Roller Rink to house his lifetime collection of oddities and curiousities. He began building his art garden in 1958 with no training in art or masonry. The site was restored by the Kohler Foundation in 1994.

The Artwork of Herman Rausch 

Written by J.R. Manning

Herman Rausch retired from farming after forty years and purchased the Prairie Moon Roller Rink to house his lifetime collection of oddities and curiosities. His collection includes a tree that grew around a scythe that was carelessly left hanging in its branches and a washing machine that was powered by a goat on a treadmill.

Sensing that the grounds appeared barren, in 1958, he began to build sculptures from rock, stone, and concrete. He started with a 260 foot long, arched fence that was plumb and straight, and remains so today. He added whimsical creatures, planters, a fountain and a self-portrait statue. He said, Ill still see whats going on here when Im not around.

His last endeavor was his most ambitious, a 13-1/2 foot tall watchtower constructed from stones hand-selected from a quarry on the bluff that overlooked the sculpture garden and the Mississippi River. He completed the structure when he was 89.

He sold the property when he reached the age of 95 and died just weeks after his 100th birthday. The sculpture garden is his living legacy, lovingly restored by the Kohler Foundation, that restores the efforts of self-taught artisans.

Update Log 

  • September 2, 2010: Essay added by J.R. Manning

Sources 

  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • Kohler Foundation - A page of the Kohler Foundation website that lists preservation sites of self-taught artisans.