After being closed off-and-on since for years, Petersen Rock Garden has spent the last year welcoming visitors consistently.
Owner Susan Caward says the business has dealt with back-and-forth closures since 2015 due to insurance troubles and the pandemic.
“I know we’ve had people from every state in the United States,” Caward said. “We’ve had people from many different countries.”
Caward, a third generation owner, wants to keep her grandfather’s creations alive.
Rasmus Petersen, a Danish immigrant and farmer, started his rock sculptures on the Redmond property in 1935.
Caward says her grandfather’s goal, at first, was to beautify his land.
“My mom said he did one rockery every couple of years,” Caward said. “When he passed away in 1952 I don’t think he was done, I think he was planning on doing a lot more.”
It took Petersen 17 years to create his self-named rock garden, building everything from houses, to bridges, to the Statue of Liberty.
He also raised peacocks on the property, an attraction that continues to this day.
“We’ve got about 25 peacocks,” Caward said.
Petersen Rock Garden was even listed as one of Oregon’s most endangered historic places about a decade ago, leading to something special for this unique spot off the Old Bend-Redmond Highway.
“The family and Restore Oregon worked together to actually get it listed on the National Register of Historic Places,” Kelly Cannon-Miller, Deschutes Historical Museum executive director said. “So in 2013, Petersen Rock Garden was listed as a national historic spot.”
For just a few bucks, visitors can enjoy the historic rock structures and presence of peacocks.
$6 for adults, $4 for seniors, people with disabilities, and military, $3 for kids age 6-18, and free for kids under the age of 6.
“It’s just really relaxed here,” Caward said.
Petersen Rock Garden is located at 7930 SW 77th Street in Redmond.