Petersen Rock Garden near Redmond is among Oregon’s latest entries in the National Register of Historic Places, the state Parks and Recreation Department said Friday.
Petersen Rock Garden was designed and constructed by Danish immigrant Rasmus Christian Petersen from about the time he retired from farming, in the winter of 1935-36 until his death in 1952.
Located in rural Deschutes County between Redmond and Bend, Petersen Rock Garden was open to the public from the beginning, with only a suggested donation. The year of his death a reported 200,000 people visited the popular site.
Petersen constructed the garden features from volcanic and river rock and semi-precious stones that he collected from around the region and the country, which he assembled into sculptures and vignettes that expressed his personal visions and views, such as his Statue of Liberty, as well as fanciful buildings and narratives.
He also built a museum on the site to showcase the more interesting stones in his collection, including his collection of fluorescent minerals.
Petersen developed the rock garden on his original homestead, which he settled in 1906. Today the property is about twelve acres in size, with the gardens occupying approximately four acres, which also include ponds and other water features,
Petersen’s own Craftsman bungalow, his workshop where he constructed the features, the museum, a restaurant from the 1950s, and landscape features. Today Petersen Rock Garden is owned and operated by a descendent of the family, and is still open to the public.
Oregon’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended the site’s nomination at its February meeting, as a unique property in Deschutes County and the state of Oregon.
Petersen Rock Garden is one of 38 individual properties and historic districts in Deschutes County that are now listed in the National Register, which is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
More information about the National Register and recent Oregon lists is online at www.oregonheritage.org
Learn more at the rock garden's Facebook page.