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Fountain City, Wisconsin

Prairie Moon

A curious sculpture garden and museum in Cochrane, Wisconsin. 

After a lifetime of working on the prairie, farmer Herman Rusch decided to invest 25 years of his retirement into transforming an old dance pavilion into a bizarre museum and the land surrounding it into a folk-art inspired sculpture park.

In 1958 Herman built his first sculpture on this barren plot of land and did not stop there. There are now around forty sculptures scattered along the grass, painted with vibrant colors and decorated with found objects, glass, and stone. Along with the sculpted animals and lifelike people that populate the small land, there are decorated fences and bizarre structures topped with stars all along the yard. Artist Halvor Landsverk also did a few creations on the property such as the sculpture of the man fighting a bear with a knife.

Unfortunately, the museum no longer exists and all of its eccentric items and features were auctioned off in 1979. While the museum is no longer around, it will always be remembered for its bizarre exhibits, such as a washing machine powered by a goat on a treadmill and a tree grown around a scythe.

Herman Rusch died in 1985 at the age of 100 and after his death the upkeep and preservation of the Prairie Moon sculpture yard has been taken over by a company dedicated to preserving old Wisconsin art.

 

Know Before You Go

Located in Buffalo County between the communities of Fountain City and Cochrane, Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden & Museum can be reached by taking Highway 35 northwest from Fountain City about 6 miles. Just past the Cochrane-Fountain City School, turn left onto Prairie Moon Road; the site is located 1/2 mile on the left. When traveling on I-94, take the Eau Claire Highway 37 exit south through Mondovi continuing on towards Alma, then Highway 35 south to Cochrane and Fountain City.

Contributed by
bboas
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