Lifetime collection of a self-taught artisan; Restored by the Kohler Foundation in 1994
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, “I’ll still see what’s going on here when I’m 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.