Yard Art: Creativity with Scrap Metal, Chain Saw Art and “stuff” collections

Need some dolls? Shop in Buena Vista, Colorado

Need some dolls? Shop in Buena Vista, Colorado

As I travel the backroads of America and Canada I always run across all sorts of what some call “Yard Art”.  Others call it folk art, offbeat art, quirky things, etc.  Well, there is the whimsical and fun, there is the unique and then the downright strange. Some of the sites, like Cadillac Ranch above, are world famous.  Others are in the middle of nowhere and are happenstance and unexpected.  Following is a menagerie of quirky and offbeat whimsy and creativity that I have seen.  Enjoy the ride and see if you have been to any of these places…

SCRAP METAL DINOSAURS AND DRAGONS

Guitar Playing Scrap Metal Dragon - Harrietsville, Ontario

Guitar Playing Scrap Metal Dragon – Harrietsville, Ontario

Perhaps one of the most common types of yard art I see is scrap metal work.  And it seems that dinosaurs and dragons are the most popular.  Here are a few.

(UPDATE II – May 2015: On a recent trip to California, I discovered this great piece called “Horn Dragon” by Upper Lake, CA artist Diego Harris. It certainly fits into this post!)

"Horn Dragon" by Diego Harris.  Currently on display at Real Goods Store in Hopland, CA

“Horn Dragon” by Diego Harris. Currently on display at Real Goods Store in Hopland, CA

(UPDATE – October 2013: I have found another great scrap metal artist besides those noted below.  Visit my post on Larry Vennard from Centralia, Missouri)

Scrap Metal Dinosaur chasing a ram - Glasgow, Montana

Scrap Metal Dinosaur chasing a ram – Glasgow, Montana

Big White Dino made of old car parts - Bertram, Texas

Big White Dino made of old car parts – Bertram, Texas

Giant Scrap Metal Triceratops - near Rudyard, Montana

Giant Scrap Metal Triceratops – near Rudyard, Montana

Scrap Metal Dinosaur - work done by Wally Keller - near Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Scrap Metal Dinosaur – work done by Wally Keller – near Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Big Dragon - Jurustic Park - Marshfield, Wisconsin

Big Dragon – Jurustic Park – Marshfield, Wisconsin

Small triceratops in someone's yard in Kelly, Wyoming, near Grand Tetons National Park

Small triceratops in someone’s yard in Kelly, Wyoming, near Grand Tetons National Park

Big Scrap Metal Stegosaurus - Texas Pipe Company - Houston, Texas

Big Scrap Metal Stegosaurus – Texas Pipe Company – Houston, Texas

Grazing Dinosaur - Harrietsville, Ontario

Grazing Dinosaur – Harrietsville, Ontario

Hungry Dinosaur - Wally Keller collection near Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Hungry Dinosaur – Wally Keller collection near Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Skeleton Walking Dinosaur near Murdo, South Dakota

Skeleton Walking Dinosaur near Murdo, South Dakota

Dragon Biting my head off - Jurustic Park - Marshfield, Wisconsin

Dragon Biting my head off – Jurustic Park – Marshfield, Wisconsin

Scary Dragon - Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Scary Dragon – Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Metal Dragon Head - Salida, Colorado

Metal Dragon Head – Salida, Colorado

Metal Dragon on a Building - Clayton, New Mexico

Metal Dragon on a Building – Clayton, New Mexico

SCRAP METAL CRITTERS

Barbed Wire Buffalo Head – Sod House Museum – Gothenburg, Nebraska

Of course, dinosaurs and dragons are not the only creatures (critters) that can be seen out on the road.  Here are a few more scrap metal (found metal) critters from all over…

Big Parrot - Jurustic Park - Marshfield, Wisconsin

Big Parrot – Jurustic Park – Marshfield, Wisconsin

Scrap metal buck made from car parts - Kadoka, South Dakota

Scrap metal buck made from car parts – Kadoka, South Dakota

Scrap Metal Horses - Durant, Oklahoma

Scrap Metal Horses by Doug Owen – Durant, Oklahoma

Scrap Metal Alligator - Harrietsville, Ontario

Scrap Metal Alligator – Harrietsville, Ontario

Giant Armadillo - Texas Pipe Company - Houston, Texas

Giant Armadillo – Texas Pipe Company – Houston, Texas

Gigantic Scrap Metal Bull - Montrose, South Dakota

Gigantic Scrap Metal Bull – Montrose, South Dakota

Giant Scrap Metal Fish - by Gary Greff, on Enchanted Highway in North Dakota

Giant Scrap Metal Fish – by Gary Greff, on Enchanted Highway in North Dakota

Huge Pheasant Family - by Gary Greff on Enchanted Highway in North Dakota

Huge Pheasant Family – by Gary Greff on Enchanted Highway in North Dakota

See my complete tour of Enchanted Highway here

Metal Bird - Idaho Falls, Idaho

Metal Bird – Idaho Falls, Idaho

Scrap Metal Horse - Oil Springs, Ontario

Scrap Metal Horse – Oil Springs, Ontario

Scrap Metal Ostrich - Salida, Colorado

Scrap Metal Ostrich – Salida, Colorado

Scrap Metal Anteater - Walla Walla, Washington

Scrap Metal Anteater – Walla Walla, Washington

Scrap Metal Turtle - near Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Scrap Metal Turtle – near Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Big Horse - Clayton, New Mexico

Big Horse – Clayton, New Mexico

Scrap Metal Pink Flamingo at Melody Muffler in Walla Walla, Washington

Scrap Metal Pink Flamingo at Melody Muffler in Walla Walla, Washington

Scrap Metal Flamingo - Harrietsville, Ontario

Scrap Metal Flamingo – Harrietsville, Ontario

SCRAP METAL FOLK

The Tin Family - Enchanted Highway

The Tin Family – Enchanted Highway

Of course, dinos and critters are not the only things made out of scrap metal.  People are too.  Perhaps the biggest and most impressive scrap metal people I have ever seen are the three that comprise the “Tin Family” at the end of the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota (if driving from I-94 or first one if driving from Regent, ND).  The Dad is 45 feet tall, Mom is 44 feet tall and the Tin Kid is 23 feet tall.  But, there are many more that are unique.  Here are a few scrap metal folk found on the road…

Greedy Attorney - Jurustic Park - Marshfield, Wisconsin

Greedy Attorney – Jurustic Park – Marshfield, Wisconsin

Barbed Wire Indian Chief and Horse - Sod House Museum - Gothenburg, Nebraska

Barbed Wire Indian Chief and Horse – Sod House Museum – Gothenburg, Nebraska

Scrap Metal Mariachi Band - Hico, Texas

Scrap Metal Mariachi Band – Hico, Texas

Scrap Metal and wire Man and Dog at entrance to Gates of the Mountains in Montana

Scrap Metal and wire Man and Dog at entrance to Gates of the Mountains in Montana

Scrap Metal Farmer - Oil City, Ontario

Scrap Metal Farmer – Oil City, Ontario

Flute Player made from mufflers at Melody Muffler in Walla Walla, Washington

Flute Player made from mufflers at Melody Muffler in Walla Walla, Washington

Big Scrap Metal Soldier - near Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Big Scrap Metal Soldier – near Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Scrap Metal Blackfeet Warriors - Cut Bank, Montana

Scrap Metal Blackfeet Warriors – Cut Bank, Montana

Blackfeet Warrior 1 - Cut Bank, Montana

Blackfeet Warrior 1 – Cut Bank, Montana

Blackfeet Warrior 2 - Cut Bank, Montana

Blackfeet Warrior 2 – Cut Bank, Montana

Scrap Metal Lady Liberty - Hamtamck, Michigan

Scrap Metal Lady Liberty – Hamtamck, Michigan

15 foot Tall Mariachi Trumpet Player - Bertram, Texas

15 foot Tall Mariachi Trumpet Player – Bertram, Texas

Then there is the most magnificent of all scrap metal art pieces, the World’s Largest (according to the Guinness Book of World Recrod’s).  This is at the entry of the amazing Enchanted Highway in North Dakota:

Geese in Flight - World's Largest Scrap Metal Sculpture - Enchanted Highway off of I-94 in North Dakota

Geese in Flight – World’s Largest Scrap Metal Sculpture – Enchanted Highway off of I-94 in North Dakota

CHAIN SAW ART

Chainsaw Guy - Alpena, Arkansas

Chainsaw Guy – Alpena, Arkansas

Obviously, scrap metal is not the only medium used in the creation of yard art.  There is a ton of work don with chain saws and wood.  I have seen hundreds of pieces dot the country.  Here are a few from all over…

Wooden Bear Totem Pole - Gronk's in Superior, Wisconsin

Wooden Bear Totem Pole – Gronk’s in Superior, Wisconsin

Crusty Old Man

Crusty Old Man – Pauly’s Backwoods Gifts and Chainsaw Carvings – Gateway, Arkansas

Wooden Eagle - Red Cliff, Colorado

Wooden Eagle – Red Cliff, Colorado

Wooden Piano Playing Crow - Winter Wheat - Sparta, Ontario

Wooden Piano Playing Crow – Winter Wheat – Sparta, Ontario

Relaxing Bears - Sawtooth City, Idaho

Relaxing Bears – Sawtooth City, Idaho

Climbing Bears - Robbins Amazing Art - Ridgetown, Ontario

Climbing Bears – Robbins Amazing Art – Ridgetown, Ontario

Big Indian - Blackwater, missouri

Big Indian – Blackwater, Missouri

Big Moose - Shelby, Nebraska

Big Moose – Shelby, Nebraska

One of dozens of HUGE trolls in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

One of dozens of HUGE trolls in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Another Mt. Horeb Troll - for good measure

Another Mt. Horeb Troll – for good measure

Gigantic Peter Toth carved Indian in Idaho Falls, Idaho.  He has more than 55 of these around the US, all different.  I have only seen two.

Gigantic Peter Toth carved Indian in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He has more than 55 of these around the US, all different. I have only seen two.

Wooden Mermaid - Robbins Art - Ontario

Wooden Mermaid – Robbins Art – Ontario

Lady - Sharon, Pennsylvania

Lady – Sharon, Pennsylvania

The epitome of Chain Saw Art is the Chain Saw Totem Pole forest in Medford, Wisconsin.  Chainsaw Gordy has gone to a whole new cut above…. 21 poles with nearly 400 chainsaws in them, all done by Gordy Lekies.

Chainsaw Gordy - near Medford, Wisconsin

Chainsaw Gordy – near Medford, Wisconsin

Chainsaw Totem Pole - Medford, Wisconsin

Chainsaw Totem Pole – Medford, Wisconsin

Chainsaw Forest

Chainsaw Forest

MAILBOXES AS PART OF THE ARTWORK

Milk Can Mailbox - near Burke, South Dakota

Milk Can Mailbox – near Burke, South Dakota

Though not nearly as prevalent as Chain Saw art and metal art, there are the occasional unique mailboxes to be seen on the back roads of America.  I have passed dozens of plastic John Deere mailboxes, fish and cow mailboxes, etc., but then there are the really unique ones….

Tin Man Mailbox near Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Tin Man Mailbox near Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Mailbox for Jurustic Park in Marshfield, Wisconsin

Mailbox for Jurustic Park in Marshfield, Wisconsin

Chainsaw Carved Bear Mailbox, Ontario, Canada

Chainsaw Carved Bear Mailbox, Ontario, Canada

Knot Normal Mailbox - Peebles, Ohio

Knot Normal Mailbox – Peebles, Ohio

Antler Mailbox - Thornton, Idaho

Antler Mailbox – Thornton, Idaho

Chainsaw Mailbox - Medford, Wisconsin

Chainsaw Mailbox – Medford, Wisconsin

Scrap Metal Guy Mailbox - Dunkirk, Montana

Scrap Metal Guy Mailbox – Dunkirk, Montana

TOTALLY JUNKED OUT PLACES

Hamtramck Disneyland - Detroit, Michigan

Hamtramck Disneyland – Detroit, Michigan

Folk art abounds in this country, but there are some who have taken it to excess with knick-knacks, whirly-gigs, old toys, old stuff and more…and all in one place.  Some in the name of art and some just to, well, have a place for their stuff.  Though I have seen many across the country, here are some of the more outlandish examples (with two or three shots from each place)

Windmills and Whirlygigs at Hamtramck Disneyland in Detroit

Windmills and Whirlygigs at Hamtramck Disneyland in Detroit

Wooden Soldiers at Hamtramck Disneyland

Wooden Soldiers at Hamtramck Disneyland

Toys on the Roof at Hamtramck Disneyland - Detroit, MI

Toys on the Roof at Hamtramck Disneyland – Detroit, MI

Even a rocking horse on the roof at Hamtramck Disneyland

Even a rocking horse on the roof at Hamtramck Disneyland

Moving on to Woodstock, Ontario and Cliff Bruce’s Windmill Hill, another menagerie of the unusual….(see my writeup here)

Bruce Windmill Hill Main Gate - Woodstock, Ontario

Bruce Windmill Hill Main Gate – Woodstock, Ontario

Toys, Statues and Whirlygigs at Windmill Hill

Toys, Statues and Whirlygigs at Windmill Hill

More Stuff at Windmill Hill

More Stuff at Windmill Hill

Front Porch Collection at Windmill Hill

Front Porch Collection at Windmill Hill

Meander to Lesage, West Virginia and you can enjoy huge hot dogs while perusing the “collection” of things at Hillbilly Hot Dogs (see a slide show I did a few years ago)

Hillbilly Hot Dogs - Lesage, West Virginia

Hillbilly Hot Dogs – Lesage, West Virginia

Hillbilly Hot Dogs, LeSage, West Virginia

Hillbilly Hot Dogs, LeSage, West Virginia

Hub Cap Collection at Hillbilly Hot Dogs

Hub Cap Collection at Hillbilly Hot Dogs

License Plate Tree at Hillbilly Hot Dogs

License Plate Tree at Hillbilly Hot Dogs

Then there is the Flower Man House in Houston, Texas. Built by a man who had been a homeless alcoholic for years, he decided to turn his life around and began putting together his interestingly eccentric colorful house, which sits in an otherwise bland neighborhood.

Flower Man House - Houston, Texas

Flower Man House – Houston, Texas

Flower Man House - Houston, Texas

Flower Man House – Houston, Texas

Flower Man House - Houston, Texas

Flower Man House – Houston, Texas

Cheer for the Flower Man!! - Houston, Texas

Cheer for the Flower Man!! – Houston, Texas

And just around the corner from the Flower Man’s House is another quirky place – the Law Offices of Tim Hootman.  His office is in a brightly colored boxcar and has some unique art sitting outside the place.  Really funky…

Tim Hootman Law Office - Houston, Texas

Tim Hootman Law Office – Houston, Texas

Office is in a Bright Green Train Car - Jim Hootman

Office is in a Bright Green Train Car – Jim Hootman

This babe greets you at Hootman's Law Office

This babe greets you at Hootman’s Law Office

Unique metal work AND paint job at Tm Hootman's law office in Houston, Texas

Unique metal work AND paint job at Tm Hootman’s law office in Houston, Texas

If these are not quirky enough, how about this place in Lima, Montana…is it a shop, a restaurant, a hotel or just someone’s knick-knack collection?  It was closed, so I couldn’t really find out….

"Not the Hotel California" in Lima, Montana

“Not the Hotel California” in Lima, Montana

Sign is a Saw Blade

Sign is a Saw Blade

Stuff in front of the "shop" in Lima, Montana

Stuff in front of the “shop” in Lima, Montana

No Steaks and Burgers at this place in Lima, Montana

No Steaks and Burgers at this place in Lima, Montana

If you liked the place in Lima, how about the Junk Store in Buena Vista, Colorado?  This place seems to everything (you may not want or need)!!

Darndest Store in Town - Buena Vista, Colorado

Darndest Store in Town – Buena Vista, Colorado

Lots of Stuff at this store

Lots of Stuff at this store

Need some dolls? Shop in Buena Vista, Colorado

Need some dolls? Shop in Buena Vista, Colorado

Get Some goodies in Buena Vista, Colorado

Get Some goodies in Buena Vista, Colorado

I came across this fence in Parker, Idaho… completely made of roadsigns

Sign fence - Parker, Idaho

Sign fence – Parker, Idaho

In the small town of What Cheer, Iowa, a lady has gussied up her yard with old wheels, implements and even has a real “flower bed”!

Wagon Wheel Fence at a house in What Cheer, Iowa

Wagon Wheel Fence at a house in What Cheer, Iowa

A "Flower Bed" in What Cheer, Iowa

A “Flower Bed” in What Cheer, Iowa

Came across this little “health food store” in Gardner, Colorado, called H Food Store – Huajatollas Foods (see YouTube Video):

H. Food Store - Gardner, Colorado

H. Food Store – Gardner, Colorado

Colorful Huajatolla's Foods in Gardner, Colorado

Colorful Huajatolla’s Foods in Gardner, Colorado

And finally, we discovered a couple of places on a back road in central Kentucky.  We took Highway 77 (Nada Tunnel Road) and first came across a barn with a hubcap collection:

Hubcap Barn - Central Kentucky

Hubcap Barn – Central Kentucky

Closeup of hubcap barn in Central Kentucky

Closeup of hubcap barn in Central Kentucky

And we also came across this house near Orlando, Kentucky

House near Orlando, Kentucky

House near Orlando, Kentucky

Unique mobile at home in Orlando, Kentucky

Unique mobile at home in Orlando, Kentucky

Water Garden at home in Orlando, Kentucky

Water Garden at home in Orlando, Kentucky

Finally, this unique house in Talent, Oregon along with their Shoe Tree:

Spooky House in Talent, Oregon

Spooky House in Talent, Oregon

Shoe Tree in Talent, Oregon

Shoe Tree in Talent, Oregon

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