Wisconsin Concrete Park catches attention, preserves history - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wisconsin Concrete Park catches attention, preserves history

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PHILLIPS (WAOW) -

Sharyn Friedell says it's a question she gets asked all the time. 

"Whoa! What is this place?!"

Friedell works at the Wisconsin Concrete Park, N8236 South Hwy 13 in Phillips.  The park is an outdoor sculpture garden featuring dozens of concrete creations by the late Fred Smith of Phillips.

Smith was a lumberjack born in 1886.  And after years of working in the Northwoods he retired from logging to open a tavern, and begin building concrete sculptures combining stone, glass, metal and everything in between.    

"One of [Smith's] favorite quotes is 'nobody knows why I made them.  Not even me!' Friedell told Newsline 9. 

Though Smith never knew how to read or write, he had no shortage of creativity.

Many of the creations on display are depict people and events from Price County's history.

"The people that knew him saw how inspired he was and how much joy it brought to him" Friedell said. 

Therese Trojak is one of those people.  She grew up across the street from the concrete park and often played with Smith's daughters. 

"For a while there weren't any night lights here and when I'd come here I always swore up and down that Abe Lincoln lifted his hand or that the horses were swinging their tales" Trojak said with a smile. 

Today Trojak is president of the Friends of Fred Smith.  That's a non-profit organization working to preserve the sculptures.

"And so all I can say about this place is it really rocks" Trojak said laughing.   

 

Directions to the Wisconsin Concrete Park:

From Wausau: Go north on Highway 51 for 42 miles to exit 234 (Prentice / Rhinelander exit). Turn left onto Highway 8 (toward Prentice) and drive 32 miles. Turn right onto Wisconsin 13 (toward Phillips) and drive 10 miles to N8236 Hwy 13 South, Phillips. There is a large parking area, flush toilets spring through fall, picnic tables and a hiking trail.

From Wisconsin Rapids: Go northwest for 16 miles on Highway 73. At Pittsville, go right onto County Highway A and travel 17 miles. County Highway A becomes West Arnold Street through Marshfield, and then becomes Highway 13. Follow Wisconsin 13 for about 76 miles to N8236 Hwy 13 South, Phillips. There is a large parking area, flush toilets spring through fall, picnic tables and a hiking trail.  

From Rhinelander: Go west on Highway 8 (toward Prentice) for 48 miles. Turn right onto Wisconsin 13 (toward Phillips) and drive 10 miles to N8236 Hwy 13 South, Phillips. There is a large parking area, flush toilets spring through fall, picnic tables and a hiking trail.

 

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