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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Detail, Farming With Oxen (c Fred Scruton, 2004)

Chiann the Beer Drinker (c Fred Scruton, 2004)

Budweiser Clydesdale Team (c Fred Scruton, 2004)

Detail, Mr. Knox and Oxen (c Fred Scruton, 2004)

Wisconsin Concrete Park
Highway 13, Town of Worcester, Price County
Designer: Fred Smith

The Wisconsin Concrete Park is an outdoor museum comprised of over 200 embellished concrete and mixed media sculptures built between 1948 and 1964 by Fred Smith, a retired lumberjack and self-taught artist. Installed throughout Smith's northwoods property near Phillips, WI, the site is a historical panorama of life-size and larger-than-life tableaux depicting people, animals, and events from local, regional and national history, from local lore, and from Smith's expansive imagination.

Fred Smith was born in 1886 to first generation German immigrants to Price County. He built his house, barn, and tavern on property he homesteaded in 1903. Smith worked in regional lumber camps from his early teens until 1948, when he retired due to severe arthritis. At that time he began to build bas relief plaques and sculptures in the vicinity of his tavern. Smith's work evolved from two dimensional into three-dimensional sculptures and tableaux, which he built on an ambitious scale throughout his property. Smith called his sculptural environment the Wisconsin Concrete Park. He focused his energy on its creation until he suffered a stroke in 1964, and was unable to continue.

Smith made sculpture within the longstanding, formal tradition of commemorative monuments and memorials, and within a regional tradition of grotto building. Conceived and created in his senior years, Fred Smith built the Wisconsin Concrete Park as a gift "for all the American people." The site is recognized as a masterwork in the genre of 20th century sculptural environments created by self-taught artists.

The Park is now owned by Price County and is open during daylight hours.


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