Feature

Forevertron Is A Strange Steampunk Video Game World Come To Life

by Matt Helgeson on May 16, 2014 at 07:54 AM

A few miles away from the Wisconsin Dells stands the Forevertron, one of America's strangest roadside attractions.

Forevertron was built by Tom O. Every, a British born Wisconsinite who worked in the salvage and wrecking business. In 1983, Emery renounced his former name and assumed a new identity as Dr. Evermor. According to Emery, "I became Dr. Evermor around 1983 when we started to build the Forevertron outside of Baraboo, Wisconsin. I was a bit upset with the world, not so much the economic conditions as the judicial system and things like that, and I wanted to perpetuate myself back into the heavens on this magnetic lightning force field."

Every concocted a complex backstory for Dr. Evermor, detailed in a PBS Independent Lens article:

"Dr. Evermor was a slightly eccentric Victorian-era professor-inventor from Eggington, England. As a child, Evermor had been trapped in a huge electrical storm with his father, a Presbyterian minister. Such a storm, his father said, could only come from the hand of God. This event made a big impression on the future doctor. From that day forward, Dr. Evermor knew what he had to do. He would move to Wisconsin and from relics of the industrial age, he would build the Forevertron. This circa 1890s spacecraft would be his salvation."

Starting in 1983, Dr. Evermor started to accumulate junk and salvage from industrial sites and - without any blueprints or engineering experience - began crafting the giant Forevertron he claimed would one day transport him into the skies. He also populated the grounds with increasingly strange and complex metalwork creatures that wouldn't be out of place in a particularly eccentric Japanese RPG. The grounds are a close approximation of a steampunk fan's greatest fantasies come true.

I was lucky enough to be in the Baraboo area last summer, and went visited the Forevertron at a friend's urging. It's an amazing place. The scale of the Forevertron itself is impressive - it stands between two and three stories tall. The gates are open; there are no tour guides, no one trying to sell anything. As I wandered around the grounds, I couldn't help but feel transported into the world of a video game. If you're ever close, I highly recommend you go. The following are some pictures I took, along with a large panoramic view of the Forevertron. I've also included a brief video walkthrough I took with my phone. It's not of the highest quality but gives you an idea of the scale.