The Forevertron.
Dr. Evermor's crystalline egg capsule, perched atop the thrusters of the Forevertron.

Forevertron

Field review by the editors.

North Freedom, Wisconsin

Dr. Evermor merrily manipulated bits and pieces of the historical slipstream. He began building god-knows-what behind Delaney's Surplus in 1983.

Dr. Evermor.
A meditative Dr. Evermor in his "Inter Galactic Time Traveler" shirt.

In a previous life, Dr. Evermor was Tom Every, a successful industrial wrecker and businessman. But Tom was unsatisfied. The transformers and generators and gauges and compressors that he scrapped seemed too well-designed to be destroyed. So Tom began stockpiling them, and then building things out of them -- strange retro-sci-fi contraptions that were Steampunk long before the word was invented. In the 1970s he became partners and friends with Alex Jordan, whose nearby House on the Rock became a showcase for Tom's mechanical fantasies (You should try to visit it and the Forevertron for a truly memorable day).

Then Tom and Alex had a falling-out. The partnership ended. Tom became depressed.

Bird head.
Giant buzzard head made from an excavator bucket.

And that's when Tom became Dr. Evermor, and began building the Forevertron.

The Forevertron, according to Dr. Evermor, was based on a machine that supposedly launched one of his English ancestors skyward in the 1890s. It's a commanding mass of industrial salvage, weighing 320 tons, over 50 feet tall and 160 feet long. A plaque on the Forevertron's entrance gate calls it the "World's Largest Scrap Metal Sculpture," a title conferred on it by Guinness World Records.

Dr. Evermor showed great respect for Tom Every's artful junk. Nearly all of the Forevertron's castoff parts are unmodified; they're just welded and bolted together in a new way. There are pieces of breweries, power plants, steel mills, snowmobile factories, cargo ships, and railroad engines. A pair of Thomas Edison's bipolar electrical dynamos are in there, somewhere, as are the autoclaves that sterilized the Apollo 11 moon rocks.

The Forevertron.
The Forevertron spans 160 feet. Tyco's Telescope is on the left, Royal Gazebo in the distance on the right.

"The Apollo decontamination chamber was in three trailers," Dr. Evermor told us. "We wrecked and scrapped most of it, but I kept the two autoclaves that the moon rocks were passed through. We contacted NASA to try to get papers authenticating it, and boy -- they're very touchy about what happened to that stuff. We did get the original drawings and it's the same damn thing."

Dr. Evermor.
Dr. Evermor, eyes skyward.

According to Dr. Evermor, the job of the Forevertron was to generate a "magnetic lightning force beam" that would catapult him to the celestial sphere. After "de-watering" himself in the machine's Gravitron (a repurposed full-body fluoroscope), Dr. Evermor would fire up the Forevertron's motors and thrusters, climb into its streamlined crystalline egg capsule, and blast off for a rendezvous with God.

Why? Nothing personal, but Dr. Evermor just really wanted to get away from the rest of us.

Peripheral devices surround the big machine and spread across several acres of the Forevertron property -- a science fiction landscape from the Age of Steam. The Celestial Listening Ears were designed to detect voices from the cosmos to direct Dr. Evermor's flight. The Cherry Picker (which is 44 feet long) and the Juicer Bug (which is 50) would supply reserve power if needed. An elevated Royal Gazebo was built to allow VIPs to watch in comfort, while "Tyco's Telescope" would let observers accurately track the Doctor's flight. Four Faraday cages, one at each corner of the Forevertron, would protect the assembled launch-day multitude from stray voltage. The Epicurean mobile grill would provide food, while the Magnetic Laser Love Gun -- a fanciful Victorian howitzer -- would zap crowd members who weren't having a good time.

Scrap metal bird.
A member of the Bird Band, with a gas pump nozzle beak.

Dr. Evermor never used blueprints or drawings, and he had no traditional art schooling. "No sketches, no models, no nothing -- I just go for it," he told us on a visit several years ago. This is pretty amazing since the Juicer Bug, for example, weighs fifteen tons, and stands on spindly insect legs. "Everything here is free floating. I got these bug toenails up in the air, but I don't want a toenail falling off on somebody." The Doctor developed his own construction solutions, without mishap. "No engineering firm could compute the compression on these legs."

The Celestial Ear.
The Celestial Listening Ears, ready for instructions from the cosmos.

While the Forevertron is imposing, much of Dr. Evermor's work is delicate and whimsical. Dozens of intergalactic mechanical creatures, ranging from waist-high to over 30 feet tall, flock in clearings. The 70 members of the "Bird Band" are surprisingly lithe, made of salvaged musical instruments and gasoline pump nozzles. One towering Cello Bird is fashioned from tubs once used to treat military burn victims.

There are no guides, no labels, no explanatory signs. And it's all free.

If this sounds like a bit much, well, that's part of what makes the Forevertron so special. Other outsider-artist-spacemen have built contraptions and crafted mythologies since Dr. Evermor began his great work, but none have seriously challenged his ingenuity or the scale of his creation.

For many years the Doctor greeted visitors to the Foreverton, often wearing a pith helmet, smoking a cigar, and giving impromptu lectures (That's how we learned most of how it works). Infirmities later slowed Dr. Evermor, who spent much of his last years at a nearby care facility. But he still made frequent visits, and if you were lucky he was at the Forevertron when you were, supervising the work carried on by his supportive family.

Why, we asked, was he still building? "Why not?" he answered. He thought of his creations as "an inspiration to other people to look at things in a different perspective."

Tom Every passed away on March 30, 2020, without pomp or ceremony. But the Forevertron still stands ready, and perhaps in an alternate universe Dr. Evermor continues to build his mighty machine. When the voices from the celestial sphere tell him it's time to go, he will assemble his fans and loved ones, enter the egg-shaped travel chamber, power up the Magnetic Steering Gyro, flip on the thrusters, and, as he put it to us, "highball it to heaven."

.

Forevertron

Address:
S7703 US-12, North Freedom, WI
Directions:
Entrance on southbound side of US Hwy 12, just south of entrance to Delaney's Surplus, roughly eight miles south of Baraboo or eight miles north of Sauk City. It's a special entrance (gravel road) that leads to a small parking area and gate leading to the Forevertron. (alternative town: Baraboo)
Hours:
April-Dec. Th-M 10-5. Gated after hours. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
608-219-7830
Admission:
Donations welcome.
RA Rates:
The Best
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

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In the region:
Jimmy the Groundhog, Sun Prairie, WI - 31 mi.

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