Petersen Rock GardensRasmus Petersen (1883 - 1952)
About the Artist/Site
By 1935, Danish-Born farmer Rasmus Petersen had begun turning his backyard into what would become a must-see tourist destination in central Oregon. Petersen used local rocks including petrified wood, agate, jasper, thundereggs, malachite, lava, and obsidian, in crafting intricate structures across four acres of his property. Intricate castles, sculptures, bridges, and fountains dot the landscape along with free-roaming peacocks, chickens, and ducks.
The rock-crusted buildings attracted a quarter of a million visitors by 1974, and continued to thrive while the community surrounding the garden grew. A museum on the site provides fascinating geological displays and artifacts from the indigenous tribes that reside in the area, exhibited as part of the garden’s mission to educate and amaze guests.
The 21st century has brought many changes to Petersen’s rock garden. After being declared one of Oregon’s endangered places in 2011, the site received a preservation grant and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. Various issues including financial setbacks led to the rock garden closing indefinitely by 2016. As of 2022, Petersen’s granddaughter Susan Caward has announced that management of the rock garden and museum has been transferred to new owners who have plans to restore Petersen’s project to its former splendor.
~Nikki Ranney, 2023
found materials, wood, thunder eggs
SPACES Archives Holdings
1 folder: clippings, correspondence, pamphlets, images
Map & Site Information
7930 SW 77th St
Redmond, Oregon, 97756 us
Latitude/Longitude: 44.2033884 / -121.2626247
Agate Beach, Oregon