When Danish Immigrant Rasmus Petersen (1883-1952) came to America at age 17, he started collecting all kinds of colorful local rocks from the area around his home in the Cascade Mountains. These rocks included Oregon agates, obsidian, petrified wood, malachite, and jasper. However, it wasn’t until 1935 that Petersen began building things out of his rocks. At first, it was just a small rockery near his home, but over the years, Petersen built increasingly complex structures on his four-acre site. When he died in 1952, he had been building for 17 years, and had mortared tens of thousands of rocks together into miniature buildings, monuments, lagoons, and bridges.
The result is in an amazing four-acre park, featuring replicas of historic buildings, bridges, towers, and many other wonderful structures–all created out of rocks and petrified wood. Today, while the gardens look a bit neglected, it is still a magical place to visit. There is a small on-site museum, featuring a variety of rock specimens. Peacocks, chickens, and cats roam the gardens freely, and picnic sites are available. The museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm daily, and the park is open from 9 am to sunset.