Greg Brockner always wanted to build a sculpture out of junk. One day early this summer he started welding and didn’t stop.
He is a collector of all things old. Cars, trucks, tractors, some appliances-anything with a motor fills the back part of the property he shares with wife, Luann, 4 miles north of Mora. He built his collection by clearing items that people didn’t want anymore off of their properties.
The Time Machine, as the sculpture would come to be called because of the huge amount of time Brockner put into making it, features many of his collected items. “The motor on the Time Machine belonged to the neighbor,” said Brockner. “I played on this motor when I was a little kid. After the neighbor passed on, I cleaned up all the junk and saved the motor.”
The massive 20 foot sculpture can be easily seen from Highway 65. On closer inspection, curious observers will see old gas barrels from Twin City Furnace Company in St. Paul, rake tines, steel wheels, whirling fans, springs, exhaust pipes, chains, hub caps, mirrors, headlight rings, shovels and a huge white light at the top that Brockner calls the eyeball of the sculpture. Brave visitors can climb a series of exhaust pipes and rungs to sit on a seat at the top of the sculpture and enjoy the view.
Once Brockner began work on the Time Machine he didn’t stop. “He would come home from work and begin welding,” said Luann. “Many days he would weld for five hours. Our electric bill went way up.” He welded the pieces together on the site the sculpture is sitting using a front end loader to stand on and lift him higher as the piece grew.
The sculpture is a draw for travelers and wildlife alike. Cars pull in and visitors take pictures of the sculpture. Bluebirds also made nests in the tail pipes this summer. The Brockners listened to a lot of squawking from the birds and enjoyed watching the baby birds fly away.
The Time Machine sits on a rise on the Brockner property alongside the Whatchamacallit, Brockner’s second sculpture. This 30 foot sculpture is a unique looking vehicle made of three gas barrels, a Curly’s logging truck cab, headers, a large fan, lights, tire irons and steel wheels. A stove in one of the tanks can be lit to make smoke come out of the stove pipe. Brockner used materials leftover from the Time Machine to build it.
Also near the sculptures sits an old cabin from the 1940s that used to be on Lake Mora behind the library. Alongside it is a 1940 Chevy that the Brockners take on road trips as far away as South Dakota.
When asked if he has any further plans for more sculptures Brockner replied, “It depends on if I find more junk.”