Obscure attractions: scrapyard sculptures, Elvis house, historic autos


Roads Traveled readers, thanks for sharing your ideas about truly weird and wonderful attractions that are worthy of inclusion in Atlas Obscura.

A new edition of Atlas Obscura has been published, and atlasobscura.com describes thousands of additional destinations that are unique and lesser known, throughout the world.

Lynda Eirich of Pleasant Prairie has received my extra copy of the book because of her good idea for an addition – and her diligence in following the rules (explain, in 50 words or less, what should be added).

Then she got extra credit for including photos! Lynda writes:

Wisconsin Concrete Park (wisconsinconcretepark.org) features creations by Fred Smith. Made from cement, broken glass and an assortment of other materials, the free park has 237 larger-than-life depictions of people, animals and the times and events in Smith’s life. 

That succinct description was sent in after she realized her, on her own, that the original entry exceeded 50:

“Turn around” I told my husband as we were driving north on Highway 13 to the Apostle Islands. Out of the corner of my eye I had spotted a county park with sculptures. It turned out to be Wisconsin Concrete Park featuring creations by Fred Smith. Made from cement, broken glass and an assortment of other materials, the free park has 237 larger-than-life depictions of people, animals and the times and events in Smith’s life.

We marveled at figures of moose, horses, dogs and people with the largest being Clydesdales pulling a carriage of beer barrels.

Other finalists included Elizabeth Snyder of Kenosha, for describing two California oddities. She writes:

If you’re in Palm Springs, Calif., looking for something to do beside play golf or shop in expensive boutiques, visit the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway House. The futuristic home, tucked away in a residential neighborhood, is a fun spot for Elvis selfies. It may just leave you “all shook up”! elvisinpalmsprings.com

In addition to the desert scenery, there are more than 100 sculptures, including giant scorpions and dinosaurs, in California’s sprawling Anza-Borrego State Park near San Diego. Create your own scavenger hunt by finding all the sculptures (use a free park map). It’s a wonderful way to spend a day. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=638

From Jane Harrington-Heide in Kenosha comes this nifty Wisconsin destination:

Follow the hand-painted signs “Spectacular Sculpture” leading to the outdoor sculpture gallery of Paul Bobrowitz in Colgate, Wisconsin.

No false advertising here. The journey begins at the stone-piered entrance, down a long driveway, flanked by Paul’s “spectacular” sculptures.

The visual delights continue throughout the property, literally “littered” with Paul’s creations. https://www.bobrowitzsculpture.com

Last, a big thanks to John Hoh Jr. of Beloit for enthusiastically submitting several offbeat U.S. attractions. Here are four. He writes:

In Atlanta is something called a Cyclorama. Has nothing to do with cycling. It is a panoramic painting set in a circular (cycle) format depicting the Battle of Atlanta. Sit in theater seating that rotates as the story of the battle is told in the painting. Dioramas in front of the painting were sculpted as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) arts project. If you see a diorama figure that is smiling, you have found the figure sculpted after Clark Gable when “Gone with the Wind” opened in Atlanta. https://www.atlantahistorycenter.com

Hoh also likes the seasonal laser light show at Stone Mountain Park, near Atlanta. https://www.stonemountainpark.com

He also pays attention to excellence closer to home, writing:

Beloit College has the Logan Museum of Anthropology. This museum contains Central and South American artifacts. Logan Museum also curated burial mounds throughout Beloit (several mounds are on the Beloit College campus). The museum is open to the public but closed during the Christmas break and one week in the summer. No charge but free-will donations accepted. https://www.beloit.edu/logan/


Historic Auto Attractions in Roscoe, Ill., is just south of Beloit. Auto and history buffs should enjoy this museum as it has more than autos.

The 75-plus historic autos include presidential and world leaders’ limousines, John Dillinger’s getaway car, an Elvis Presley car, Indianapolis 500 racecars and vehicles used in TV shows and movies, including a Batmobile.

Also in the museum are President Kennedy and Kennedy family artifacts, a room of President Lincoln memorabilia and World War II items. http://historicautoattractions.com/m/

Weekly “Roads Traveled” columns began in 2002. These syndicated articles, archived at www.roadstraveled.com, are the result of anonymous travel, independent travel, press trips and travel journalism conferences. What we choose to cover is not contingent on subsidized or complimentary travel.

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