Kabetogama, Minnesota: Ellsworth Rock GardenWhat was Jack Ellsworth thinking? His elaborate but remote rock garden is on an island in a National Park.
Voyageurs National Park
- Waltz Rd, Kabetogama, MN
- US Hwy 53 to Voyageurs National Park. A boat trip is needed to get to the garden, which is on the Kabetogama Peninsula across from Cutover Island. The Park Service runs a tour, or you can hire a private water taxi.
- Accessible only in the summer.
Visitor Tips and News About Ellsworth Rock Garden
The Ellsworth Rock Gardens, built between 1944 and 1965, was created by one man -- retired Chicago building contractor Jack Ellsworth (1899-1974). Ellsworth claimed to have logged over 14,000 hours of labor on his gardens (quite probably with the help of his wife). In a rare interview he gave in 1960 to the International Falls Daily Journal, Ellsworth discussed the purpose of the project with understated humility: "We love this country and wish we could spend more time here, but I just had to have something to keep me busy." Taking his cue from the existing landscape and enhancing it with built features and plantings, Ellsworth created a cohesive composition of formal elements that segued seamlessly into natural ones.
A boat trip is required to get to the garden. The park service runs a tour, or you can hire a private water taxi.[Brenda Bennett, 06/27/2005]
At its peak, when Jack Ellsworth was still alive, Ellsworth Rock Garden contained over 200 sculptures. About 80 have been restored.