Petersen’s Rock Garden

Please send in your own pictures of time spent at Petersen’s Rock Garden. I honestly don’t know if it is Peterson or Petersen. I see it both ways.

An avid rock collector, Rasmus Petersen, built a magnificent fantasy world outside Bend and Redmond, Oregon in the 1940’s. The rock garden takes up four acres of formerly farm land. It took Mr. Petersen 17 years to complete his vision. As kids growing up in the area, we loved to visit the rock garden and ride the pedal boats.

The gift shop/museum had beautiful examples of spectacular geodes, which we called thunder eggs. They were cracked open, some with lights shining from within revealing gorgeous crystals in many colors. The entire garden was encrusted with rocks and shells pressed into concrete. The museum had a black light room for viewing the special effects on certain rocks. The only place I have seen anything remotely similar to the rock displays here was in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA. It is now called Petersen Rock Garden, not Petersen’s and you can find it on the web.

Here is a link to pictures of Petersen Rock Garden and here is the Wikipedia article. Here is its Facebook page. I just read that is now on the Historic Register!

Petersen began constructing the garden in 1935 at the age of 52, using rocks he found “near” his home (85-mile radius). He built castles, buildings, churches and replicas of American monuments. He incorporated bridges, water features and landscaping. The imaginative artistry is lovely and done with a variety of rocks, obsidian, and shells. After his death in 1952, the garden passed to his family’s care and has fallen into disrepair. However, the rock garden is part of Central Oregon’s history, and a trip here can spark your imagination and give you a good idea of what it once was.

RASTUS PETERSEN’S INITIALS AND YEAR IN THE SIDEWALK
RASTUS PETERSEN, CREATOR OF PETERSEN’S ROCK GARDEN
ME, SANDRA LARSON (AND MY THUMB), MY MOM ON THE LEFT AND MY DAD ON THE RIGHT
VINTAGE POST CARDS
RASMUS PETERSEN ENJOYING HIS HANDIWORK AT PETERSON’S ROCK GARDEN
PETERSON’S ROCK GARDEN
Larry Larson, Joann Courter, Carolyn Courter, Marcia Sanders, Sandra Larson
PEDAL BOATS AT PETERSON’S ROCK GARDEN

From left: Carolyn Courter, Joann Courter, Larry Larson, Marcia Sanders, Sandra Larson

Sorry the picture quality is poor, but we were going really fast! At one of my birthday parties, Judy Haines went ship to shore for a while, then while trying to go shore to ship, she fell in the water (in a dress), but it was only about 20 inches deep. The boats are shaped like swans now.

I put so many pictures of it up, now you don’t even have to go there!!