The Mason County Sculpture Trail: 20 Works of Art in Ludington and Beyond
Ludington is a popular all-seasons destination on Michigan’s Lake Michigan shoreline, with visitors coming to see the lighthouses, hike the trails, enjoy downtown’s shopping and dining, and more. The city hosts parts of six different cultural trails that cover Mason County, including the Mason County Sculpture Trail. Ludington’s Waterfront Park hosts nine of the sculptures on this trail, and of the 20-plus total pieces that are currently part of the trail all but four of them are located in the downtown area. We recently had a chance to visit all of the sculptures, and we have put the guide below together to help you plan your visit.
You can view the full list of sculptures on the Mason County Sculpture Trail online, or by scanning the QR code at any of the sites on the trail. It is easy to pull up more information on each sculpture from there, and access a map that makes navigating all of the trails incredibly easy. We started our visit at Waterfront Park, which is located on William St. two blocks south of W. Ludington Ave.
The Dummy Train (Waterfront Park, Ludington) – Colorado sculptor George Lundeen crafted this piece that features a woman and her two young children waiting for a train at the Epworth Depot. This piece centers around a short-lived railway that brought tourists to the Ludington area.
Follow The Leader (Waterfront Park, Ludington) – This Stanley Proctor sculpture has four children and a dog playing in the park and leaves a sixth pedestal for your kids to join in on the fun! This piece was the second to join the trail and its focus is “celebrating heritage the future through our children.”
The Spirit of Ludington (Waterfront Park, Ludington) – This sculpture honors Charles Conrad, a Ludington native who was responsible for saving the beloved car ferries and converting them to also carry passengers in the 1990s. A successful businessman, Conrad returned to his hometown and was able to keep the S.S. Badger operating. Colorado artist Kristin Kokkin sculpted this piece, which can be found in Waterfront Park near where the Spartan and Badger are docked today.
The Carferries of Ludington (Waterfront Park, Ludington) – Another piece that pays tribute to the impact of the carferry industry on the local community, this 10 foot tall sculpture in Waterfront Park is the work of Indiana-based sculptor Tuck Langland.
Reflections (Waterfront Park, Ludington) – Overlooking the harbor and welcoming boaters as they return from Lake Michigan is this 17 foot tall stainless steel piece that resembles a sail. Sculpted by Russian artist Irina Koukhanova, it is the only one of the Waterfront Park sculptures not made in bronze.
Hooked on Hamlin (Waterfront Park, Ludington) – This piece by Stanley Proctor (who also sculpted “Follow the Leader”) pays tribute to the decades of memories families in the area have from the Hamlin Lake area. Ludington State Park borders this lake, prized for its fishing opportunities and popular for a variety of boating adventures.
Put Me in Coach (Waterfront Park, Ludington) – Paying tribute to the Ludington Mariners, a semi-pro baseball team in the area from 1912-1924, this piece was sculpted by Mark Lundeen.
The Abbey (Maritime Heritage Park, Ludington) – Designed by Tyson Snow, this piece near the Maritime Museum depicts the “Abbey,” a Great Lakes schooner that was built in Ludington and operated in the area before it wrecked near Onekama in 1905. The plaque near this sculpture also honors the life of Rasmus Rasmussen, a Danish immigrant who became a successful businessman in the Ludington area.
Sport Fishing (Maritime Heritage Park, Ludington) – Ludington has long been known for its sport fishing opportunities on Lake Michigan and the Pere Marquette River. Trophy bass, pike, and more can be caught here every year and they appear to want to jump off of this piece. “Sport Fishing” was sculpted by Bryce Pettit, who is also responsible for “Flights of Learning” in front of the library.
Making Memories (Rotary Park, Ludington) – Depicting two children playing under an umbrella, this sculpture fits perfectly in the fountain at Rotary Park. It was sculpted by Tyson Snow, who also did “The Abbey” sculpture at Maritime Heritage Park.
Ascent of Heroism (Stearns Park, Ludington) – The Veterans Mall at Stearns Park is home to two sculptures by Paula Slater, including this one that depicts a service member from each of America’s wars.
Ludington’s Lumbering Era (Waterfront Park, Ludington) – This awesome sculpture incorporates a horse and a wheel in bronze with a granite wall that denotes key moments in Ludington’s lumber history. It was created by Ludington High School graduate Ronald Dewey.
Fruits of Farming (Waterfront Park, Ludington) – Designed by George Lundeen (who also created “The Dummy Train”), this piece pays tribute to Ludington’s rich agricultural history, showing a man, woman, and child with grain, milk, and cherries.
Medal of Honor recipient William Charette (Stearns Park, Ludington) – William “Bill” Charette served in the Navy during the Korean War and received the Medal of Honor for his heroism. Like “Ascent of Heroism,” this piece was sculpted by Paula Slater.
Helping Hand (Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Ludington) – Colorado artist Colette Pitcher created this piece, which honors those who have or are currently serving in law enforcement positions in Mason County.
Flights of Learning (Ludington Public Library) – The other piece on the trail sculpted by Bryce Pettit, “Flights of Learning” depicts a young girl opening a book and having it come to life. It feels right at home in front of the local library.
Double The Fun (Ludington Public Library) – Just as “Flights of Learning” is right at home in front of the library, this piece by Stanley Proctor fits perfectly well in the library’s garden. A mother reads to two children on a bench in this sculpture, which ended up being one of our favorites on the trail.
Rearing Horse Memory Pole (Mason County Fairgrounds, Ludington) – Paying tribute to the role that horses play at the Mason County Fair, this piece can be found at the fairgrounds off of US-10.
Out of the Forest (Heritage Park, Fountain) – One of the few pieces on the trail that isn’t located right in Ludington, “Out of the Forest” is located in Fountain in the eastern part of Mason County. It honors the area’s rich lumber heritage by showing a team of horses pulling logs. Sculpted by Ruben Llano of New Era, this was hands down our favorite sculpture on the trail!
Daedyl (West Shore Community College, Ludington) – This recent addition to the sculpture trail can be found on the campus of West Shore Community College, which is also home to other sculptures and paintings by Manierre Dawson. It is nine feet tall and is located at the Schoenherr Campus Center.
Community Cooperative (Ludington State Park) – One of favorite places in the Ludington Area is Ludington State Park, and we love that “Community Cooperative” was one of the more recent additions on the trail. Depicting several woodland animals together in a tree, this Colette Pitcher sculpture fits perfectly near the park’s trails.
Future sculptures that have been proposed to be added to the Mason County Sculpture Trail include a tribute to Johnny’s Bandstand in the village of Custer as well as a tribute to the Scottville Clown Band in Scottville.