Out of the remnants of destruction, artist Tom O. Every—“Dr. Evermor”—has created a playful yet provocative sculptural landscape. A fantastic world of giant birds, space-age vehicles, and other objects made from industrial cast-offs is set among the sidewalks and chimney ruins of an old schoolyard. The area was once part of Badger Village, a housing complex built during World War II for employees of the nearby Badger Ordnance Works. Every assembled a monumental work of folk art from artifacts that reflect the rapid obsolescence of industrial technology. During the 1960s, Every’s work in industrial salvage brought to his attention items that held, for him, aesthetic and historic value. Collecting and reconstructing these objects into larger sculptures, he retained their existing shapes and forms and preserved their original craftsmanship and ingenuity, at the same time giving them new and personal meanings.
Every’s earliest and most massive piece is The Forevertron, formerly known as The Force, a mythical vehicle that, according to Every, transports a person to a higher plane through the harnessing of lightning. From a distance, The Forevertron resembles a futuristic Victorian amusement park ride. Closer inspection reveals a collage of discarded historic objects assembled into a vehicle that figuratively enables a person to traverse time and space. The sculpture is over 40 feet tall and 120 feet long, and it reportedly weighs more than 250 tons. Its hundreds of historic objects include the decontamination chamber from the Apollo space program, a double compound steam engine, and several bipolar dynamos manufactured by Thomas Edison and acquired from the Henry Ford Museum. Numerous other sculptures followed The Forevertron, each constructed of industrial objects: a 1920s gas tank forms the body of an 18-foot-tall spider, an “orange peel” pile-digger composes an enormous eagle’s head, and antique motors form the bodies of three elegantly plumed birds, each over 15 feet tall.
Some of the sculptures lurk along the roadway, but the heart of the sculpture park is through Delaney’s Surplus salvage yard, where contemporary scrap gradually yields to an imaginative landscape literally made of history.