Windmill environment in Wyoming, with ties to Christo

Buryville – Mel Gould

Artist dates unknown
3558 I-80 Service
Cheyenne, WY
Windmill environment
Private property – visible from the street

We were driving along, early-ish one summer morning, chatting away, when I spotted the windmill. Immediately, I sought the next exit and told Babs that we had to stop at this place called “Buryville.” Needless to say, with a name like that, she was suspicious. I was excited.

Mel has been called an artist, scientist, engineer and genius, although he considers himself a tinkerer and pack rat. We really couldn’t understand about two thirds of what he was trying to explain to us regarding the heat system ventilating crankshaft thermochromer that he’d recently installed.

Although he never had a formal education as an engineer, he spent 20 years working for a Denver-based manufacturing company. One of the his inventions were the earth anchors that run deep in the ground to secure telephone poles. This invention led him to working with Bulgarian artist Christo on his environmental art projects including “Running Fence” in Colorado and the 1,500 umbrella project in Japan and California.

Now retired, Mel spends countless hours tinkering around his yard with his wind-powered sculptures that are both a pleasure to watch and generate power for his modest home. He built big wind-aided sculptures like Mr. Cranky, and his rooftop helicopter security system, and various pieces made from old tires and missile silo parts that can be seen along his land from I-80.

But don’t let looks deceive you. 12 feet below his home lies “Buryville,” an artist studio/engineering lab/music room all created out of a school bus, a camper, an old grain silo on it’s side and a 55,000 gallon concrete gasoline tank. He also modifies old vehicles to create strange and wondrous hybrids, including one that lets him mow the lawn in an easy chair.

His wife, Opal, showed us her favorite invention – a homemade elevator made from an old school locker – which takes her from the kitchen down to the basement to do laundry.

As for Buryville, that’s what Mel calls his totally sustainable underground environment below the house. Get it? Just don’t ask us to explain how he built it.

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(Photos © copyright 2006-2013 Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved)

Bibliography & Links:

On DVD – Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations, “Neighborly Northerners”, KCPT, Kansas City Public Television, 1996-2001.

“Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations Coast to Coast Travel-o-Pedia” by Randy Mason, et. al., Kansas City Star Books, 2009.