It’s South Dakota Day at Grouchy Farmer

It’s South Dakota Day here at grouchyfarmer. Why? Why not? I’ve managed to get out to western South Dakota almost every year since 2007, and whenever I get out there I stop at the Badlands.

As always, photos are copyrighted by the photographer and should not be used without written permission.

Ore Dock at Ashland, Wisconsin

This is the old iron ore dock at Ashland, Wisconsin. Wish I had taken more photos of it the last time I was up there because I heard it was recently demolished, which is kind of a shame but understandable. I’ve been in Ashland many times and the dock was always an amazing sight to see.

The dock was built back around 1915 or 1916. It was enlarged in 1925. It was 1,800 feet long, 85 feet tall and 75 feet wide. Ore from iron mines in the area was hauled by rail where it would be dumped down the chutes you can see on the side of the dock down into freighters which would take the ore out through the Great Lakes.

The dock was shut down in 1965, and has been badly deteriorating ever since. In 2009 Ashland gave the Canadian National railroad permission to take the dock down because it was in such bad shape that it was downright dangerous.

As usual, all photos are copyright by the author and should not be used without permission.

Concrete Park, Phillips Wisconsin

The photos above are images I took at the Concrete Park in Phillips, Wisconsin in Price County. The more than 200 statues in the park were all created by Fred Smith, a local farmer and tavern owner. The first time I saw the place I thought it was utterly charming, and after visiting there several times and taking hundreds of images, I still find it absolutely fascinating.

Fred was an interesting character by all accounts. He began working on the statues in 1950 when he was 65 years old, and he continued making them until he had a stroke fourteen years later.

The statues are made out of pretty much whatever he had at hand; concrete over wooden frames, bottles, broken glass, insulators, stones from the property, anything might become part of one of these whimsical statues.

The statues depict people, agricultural scenes, animals and the last piece he worked on, the Budweiser Horses pulling the wagon.

The story I heard was that the family was rather ashamed of the whole thing, and after his death they were going to bulldoze everything. But the 16 acre property was purchased by the Kohler Foundation. While restoration work was done to maintain the statues, if you look closely at some of the images you can see that many are in poor condition and deteriorating badly.

In 1995 an organization was set up whose mission is to restore and maintain the statues.

The park on the outskirts of Phillips is open to the public. The old farm house has been turned into a visitors’ center.

If you ever get up in Price County, stop in and wander around. It’s  a fascinating place to visit.

Note: All images are by the author, copyright 2013 and may not be reproduced without permission