Sunday, June 29, 2014

Petrified Wood Park, Lemmon, SD - 2014 Author Tour, Part 4B

(To start at the beginning of this series of posts about my 2014 Author Tour, go here)

This place is one of those reasons I like to get off the Interstate and take some of the lesser travelled roads. This is in the town of Lemmon, SD (pop. 1227) on highway 12, the old Yellowstone Trail that took people out west before Interstates 90 and 94 were around. Lemmon is right at the northern edge of the South Dakota border.

The Petrified Wood Park was created by Ole Quammen in the early 1930s with the help of three dozen or so men. He used materials found within only a few miles of town. There's no admission charge to explore the park or the accompanying museum.

The pictures don't do it justice. You walk through this place surrounded by all these strange sculptures and easily forget you're in the middle of a town. It's a tactile place. You can't climb the sculptures, but you can touch them. It's one of those places where you might ask yourself "Why?" and just as easily answer, "Well, why not?"

It's just plain cool.

This building houses a museum dedicated to the history of Lemmon

The park is huge - taking up an entire city block

You can go inside this interesting structure. 

This is inside the above structure looking up at the pyramidal ceiling. Apart from petrified wood and stones, you can find fossils incorporated into many of the sculptures - particularly this one.

A little courtyard 
Detail of the arch from the picture above this one - those stones imbedded on the arch are rose quartz

Aside from the petrified wood sculptures, there were stacks of these cannon-ball type rocks

Petrified wood sculptures

Looking up at one of the taller sculptures
Is this place a vision of mad genius? Or is it some guy who just tried getting through the Great Depression in an interesting fashion? He did, after all, give the 30+ men who helped build the place jobs at a time when many in the country couldn't find any.

I love places like this. They're unique. They're something that take you out of the ordinary, everydayness of life. They make you look around, smile a bit and say to yourself, "Well, why the hell not?"

Thanks for stopping by, and head on to part 4C of the author tour, in which I find myself in a bit of a moral dilemma!

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