Local artist celebrates his 90th birthday giving back to the area he helped shape

Elmer Petersen has shaped the look of our area, and he spent his birthday party working to make the arts more accessible.

A local sculptor, Petersen held his 90 th birthday celebration Saturday at the Old Main Historical and Community Arts Center in Galesville.

The building has been around since the 1860s, and its old-fashioned design means it’s not always accessible to everyone. So, Petersen invited the public to celebrate his special day with him and donate money to help the building to add an elevator.

“Plays and singing events and so forth are on the top floor, and so some people can’t get up there — if they’re 90, for instance,” said Petersen with a wry wit.

Petersen’s public sculptures include the Eagle Landmark and the La Crosse Players, both in the Riverside Park area, and a sculpture of George Poage in Poage Park. He also sculpted the World’s Largest Buffalo Monument in Jamestown, North Dakota.

Petersen’s birthday is September 4 th .

You can donate to the Old Main Elevator Fund at http://www.oldmain.org/donate-to-old-main1.html.