Image: floradorOn U.S. Highway 12, about 5 miles south of Baraboo, WI, behind Delaney’s Surplus and across from the Badger Army Ammunition Plant lies a very special roadside attraction: Dr. Evermor’s Scrap Metal Yard. Here, there are hundreds of amazing sculptures that have steampunk written all over them.
A truly mad orchestra: Image: Greg Poulos
Are you talking to me, strange bird? Image: Greg PoulosProbably the most amazing part of the junk yard — apart from the 15-meter-high Forevertron — is the Bird Band, a congregation of 70 birds made from scrap metal instruments. The theme is percussion and strings — there is a metal cello, various bells in all shapes and sizes, xylophones, tubes and flutes that all invite visitors (or the wind) to strike up a quick chord.
One of the cello birds: Image: D. Wiberg
Two of them talking at twilight: Image: Robin DaviesSays Tom Every, the creative (some might say mad) genius behind the sculptures: “I’m about the only guy that’s using preexisting shapes and forms where they lose their original identity and become something else, without any alterations to that shape or form.” Every has even created fictitious Dr. Evermor, a Victorian inventor who designed the Forevertron to launch himself into space. But, instead (pardon the pun) he just had to have ever more, helped by Every who seems to have picked up literally every piece of scrap he could get his hands on.
The crazy peacock: Image: Greg Poulos
And another one, cross-processed and having undergone multiple exposures: Image: Sarah ReeseThe former demolition expert has come across many scrap metal pieces in his life: Every spent decades collecting antique machinery for his sculptures — long before the term steampunk meant anything to anyone — and started the park in 1983. Highlights of his collection are two Thomas Edison dynamos from the 1880s, high-voltage components from 1920s power plants and even Apollo 11’s decontamination chamber.
The 70-member scrap metal big band: Image: vigeEvery doesn’t even create blueprints or drawings and develops his own construction solutions on the go. He is a natural who has no formal art or engineering background. Says Every: “No sketches, no models, no nothing — I just go for it. Everything here is free floating. I got these bug toenails up in the air, but I don’t want a toenail falling off on somebody.”
Crazy bird: Image: Greg PoulosWhoever is getting second thoughts about visiting upon hearing this doesn’t need to worry — Every’s and the scrap yard’s records are quite good — no injuries or casualties reported in all the decades since its existence. Confirms Every: “Hey, I must be doing something right. So far all the people who come here have survived the experience.” Right. We’d surely go and explore. But let’s conclude with this video tour: Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4