One-Tank Trip: A rockin' good time in Redmond

Petersen's Rock Garden delights visitors of all ages

One-Tank Trip: Petersen's Rock Garden wows visitors

REDMOND, Ore. - For some, the topic of rocks can be a bit of a yawn. But take a trip to Petersen's Rock Garden in Redmond, and you might leave in awe -- and with a whole new respect for rocks.

It's here where you can visit the Statue of Liberty, the Capitol, lighthouses and castles without ever changing ZIP codes. Of course, these are a bit smaller and made of stones.

In addition to the beautiful structures, the garden features lush lawns, ponds brimming with lily pads, a museum filled with gems, and peacocks regally roaming free.

There is a rich family history beneath the rocks, and behind the man who painstakingly crafted each feature.

"The first statues were the ones over between the house and the road. The pedestal and the one right by the house," Sue Caward said. "And his friends and neighbors saw it and convinced him to do more. And so he did, and over 17 years, he built everything that's here."

Caward is talking about her grandfather, Rasmus Petersen, who moved to Redmond after emigrating from Denmark in 1900.

Petersen came to farm, but in his later years discovered his true passion of collecting rocks and stones around Central Oregon and displaying them through intricate works of architecture.

Petersen first became famous with neighbors and locals, and today, visitors come from all over the world to see the garden and visit the museum.

"They come from everywhere," Caward said. "We've had them from all over the United States and different countries."

Although visitors come from different backgrounds, they often share similar reactions to the garden.

Matt Tuttle, a self-proclaimed "rock geek," said he was amazed by the complexity of the rock formations.

"I don't see how an old man could do it -- it hurts my back just looking at it," he laughed.

Nancy Karipinski from Sisters agreed. And for her, a second trip back to the site was well worth it.

"I just can't imagine somebody putting the time and effort into something so beautiful," she said. "(It's a) very pretty little place. And I haven't been here for about 60 years, when my grandma and grandpa brought me here."

And if you've already visited, you may want to come back -- just don't wait 60 years. The garden is vying for a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Caward hopes some grants will help to restore the garden and eventually allow them to add some new features.

This one-tank trip is only 15 minutes outside of Bend — and you can't beat the prices either. It costs only a few dollars per person for admission.

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