Nick Engelbert (1881–1962) was an Austrian-born dairy farmer who came to call his Hollandale home “Grandview” for its panoramic vista. Inspired by a visit to the Dickeyville Grotto around 1930, Engelbert began to transform his own property, building an elaborate arched porch of concrete around the front entrance of his farmhouse, ultimately covering every inch of the outside surface of the house with concrete inlaid with shards of china, glass, beads, buttons, and seashells. Over the next 15 years, Nick created more than 40 concrete sculptures in his yard, combining patriotic themes with imagery from history, fairy tales, mythology, and his own imagination.
Sculptures include eagles, castles, planters, a Viking in a ship, and an organ grinder. One piece, humorously entitled How do you expect to get a day’s work out of a team like this, had Uncle Sam plowing with a team made up of a donkey and elephant (only the elephant remains today), referencing congressional battles.
At the age of 70, no longer able to make sculptures, he turned to painting, producing over 200 oils before his death in 1962. Engelbert once said, “If a man can’t be happy on a little farm in Wisconsin, he hasn’t the makings of happiness in his soul.”
7351 State Hwy 39
Hollandale, WI 53544
(608) 967-2122 or (608) 967-2151