Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden

Herman Rusch  |  1885-1985  |  near Cochrane, WI

Embellished concrete environment  |  Created 1958 – 1974

The highway along the Mississippi River winds through lush farm land and great bluffs.  Growing up in Missouri, where the Mississippi is big and muddy and the flood plains are flat, I was surprised by the topography and how clean the river seemed to be.  

Prairie Moon Sculpture Park is about 5 miles north up Hwy 35 from Fountain City, on the west side of the highway. There is a poorly marked road to access the Garden called Prairie Moon Road, but you can see it from 35.  (If you get to the school on the right, you have gone too far.)

After the monotony of retirement became more than he could bear, 70-year-old Herman Rusch decided to buy the Prairie Moon Dance Pavilion in Cochrane, WI and turn it into a museum to house his collection of Americana.  In 1958, after three years of creating displays for his curios, his sights  turned to “sprucing up” the place.  He noticed some pre-made planters and knew that he could make something more interesting. Despite his wife’s urging to help their son with his farm, Herman spent next 16 years were spent building nearly 40 sculptures of concrete, pottery shards, found objects, and stone, including a 260-foot arched fence that runs along the north side of the property.  “She was really against it.  She really didn’t know how good I was at it, or how bad…”

I have heard that folks are going to be moving another small sculpture garden from Fountain City and are going to install it on the grounds, although it seems that the logistics will be a bit tough to work out. (see the next stop at Fountain City Rock Garden)

more info…