Guide to the Farm Home of Rasmus Petersen, Redmond, Oregon, Photograph Album
ca. 1940-1950

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Overview of the Collection

Photographer: Symons, Myron
Title: Farm Home of Rasmus Petersen, Redmond, Oregon
Dates: ca. 1940-1950 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 1 album (12 photographic prints)
Location of Collection: Materials are located in Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries. For more information about this collection including links to additional digital content, please connect to the finding aid on the University of Washington website.
Collection Number: 652
Summary: Collection of photographs taken by Myron Symons documenting the rock gardens created by Rasmus Petersen at his home in Redmond, Oregon.
Repository: University of Washington Libraries
Special Collections
Languages: Collection materials are in English.  
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical Note

Rasmus Petersen was born in 1883 in Denmark. In 1900, Petersen immigrated to the United States and settled in the state of Oregon near the Cascade Mountains in 1906. He built a two-story Craftsman house and adjoining farm. As a personal hobby, he began collecting rocks on his land, including Oregon agates, obsidian, petrified wood, malachite, and jasper. In 1935, Petersen began building miniature buildings, monuments, and bridges out of rocks. By his death in 1952, Petersen had created a four-acre rock garden. Petersen's Rock Garden (called Petersen Rock Garden and Museum from the mid 1950s on) is a well-known Oregon roadside attraction.

Myron Symons was an Oregon photographer in the early 1900s. Symons, orginally from New York, moved to Seattle at the age of fifteen. After a three-year apprenticeship to a jeweler, he worked in a Dawson, British Columbia, jewelry store for almost two years; while living in Dawson, he gained experience in scenic photography by photographing the Yukon. Symons returned to Seattle where he was married and opened his own jewelry store but moved to Bend, Oregon, in 1915. In Bend he established the first jewelry store in the O'Kane Hotel building and became known as a local photographer. Symons photographed sawmills, local businesses, the Cascade Mountains, and other areas of interest in central Oregon. In 1920, his brother Archie became a partner in the jewelry store. Myron's photographs were sold in booklets by the Symons Brothers jewelry store. After Myron's death in 1959, the editor of The Bulletin wrote that Myron's work was the "record, displayed in pictures and slides at outdoor shows in California, that brought to the attention of thousands the little-known scenic Deschutes country of central Oregon."

Content Description

The collection is composed of one album of photographs taken by Myron Symons of Petersen's Rock Garden, located near Redmond, Oregon. The photographs show the monuments, miniature buildings, and bridges that compose the gardens. Also documented are the two-story Craftsman house and the surrounding land.

Other Descriptive Information

Typed introduction on first page of album: "Miniature castles, picturesque fountains and beautiful terraces within the grounds pictured here, on the Rasmus Peterson place between Bend and Redmond, Oregon, tell their own stories, but unless the visitor inspects the grounds carefully, and with a questing heart, he will fail to read the strange stories told by the ancient stones used in the construction.... Look twice at that bit of petrified wood, for it is a remnant of a great redwood forest that once flourished in Central Oregon.... Examine that banded rock carefully: It is a bit of a thunderegg hatched in the lavas of old Oregon.... Feel the cool surface of those glass-like rocks: They are volcanic glasses melted in plutonic fires.... Trace the growth rings on that bit of petrified sequoia: They tell a story of weather born of oceans that swept over beaches now elevated into Oregon mountains. Enjoy the blooms of these rock gardens, but do not overlook the stories of the rocks."

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open to the public.

Administrative Information

Additional Reference Guides :  

To view selections from the collection in digital format, you can view the finding aid on the University of Washington website

Processing Note :  

Processed by Noella Natalino, 2004.

Detailed Description of the Collection

1 1: Rock garden with view of Cascade mountain range
2 2: Rock garden built on island and bridge
3-5 3-5: Rock garden scultpures and small buildings
6 6: View of rock garden on island from bridge
7 7: Rock garden sculptures and small buildings
8 8: View of rock garden and Petersen house from bridge
9 9: Front part of the grounds, including rock garden, fence, and irises
10 10: Rock garden and Petersen house
11 11: Rock garden built on island, bridge, and Petersen house
12 12: Petersen house


  • Geographical Names :
  • Redmond (Or.)--Photographs
  • Subject Terms :
  • Folk art--Oregon--Photographs
  • Rock gardens--Oregon--Photographs
  • Vernacular architecture--Oregon--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photograph albums

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