Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

One man's trash is Mel Gould's pleasure

 

August 31, 2017

Gary Collins/Pine Bluffs Post

Mel Gould is standing on his property on Highway 30 and beside his electric scooter which he built and is powered by an electric rotor-tiller motor.

"I'm going to show you how junk fits together," said Mel Gould, who thereafter did precisely that.

Anyone who has driven on Highway 30 east of Cheyenne has noticed the brightly colored scrap sculptures, the whimsical collection which draws the eye and the wonder of what is going on here.

They are the creations of Gould.

If one only went by what can be seen on the Gould property from the road, then it would be easy to assume that Gould's only passion was art. It is not.

The mailboxes at the entrance of the Gould property give evidence of the man's inventive spirit. The two boxes sit atop a frame designed by Gould to lessen the damage which occurs to an automobile when it hits the mail boxes. It is designed in such a way that the mailboxes will fly over the car rather than into the windshield. The patented design has been certified by the state of Wyoming.

He is also the inventor of the 'duck-billed anchor' and the "Manta Ray anchor." Gould developed these utility anchors while working for Foresight Products, LLC. The Manta Ray is so successful at what it does that the artist Cristo used them for a couple of his projects, testing them before hand on the Gould property.

Cristo is known for such works as a project to erect 1,500 large umbrellas across a California valley and another 1,500 in Japan. The Bulgarian artist is famous for projects like "the running fence" through California, ringing Caribbean Islands with pink cloth to simulate lily pads and a drape across a Colorado canyon.

Since Gould, an Air Force veteran of the Korean War era, was working for Foresight when he developed these devices, he receives no money from them.

"I've spent a lot of years making other people rich. But I have no regrets," Gould said in a 2002 interview with Sparks: Your Electric Cooperative's Monthly Newsletter. "Someone said I'm a genius. I'm not a genius. I'm a packrat and a tinkerer."

Anyone wishing a tour of Gould's property is welcome. He will show the "Purple People Eater," an eight-wheeled prairie buggy which Gould assembled for $200. The vehicle was featured on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated in 1962 and housed at the Forney Museum in Denver for 34 years before its return to the Gould property.

There is "Moon Beam," which was also featured in Mechanix Illustrated, though in 1992. The vehicle is made of an assortment of car, motorcycle and machinery parts. The current engine, the third used by the vehicle, is from a Honda Gold Wing. The engine having no reverse, Gould fashioned his own.

There is the Mechanical Horse, a workshop, "Brute", a UFO, Mr. Cranky, Miss Ellie Phant and much more. What is not on a display to the public is Buryville, Gould's version of a tinkers man cave. Digging a trench on the west end of his home, Gould buried a school bus, and old grain silo, a 55,000 gasoline tank and a camper which he has converted to be a resting place, complete with a bed.

To access Buryville one must enter the Gould home where he will introduce you to his "Beautiful wife, Opal," to whom he has been married for 62 years this June past.

"I married my best friend," Gould said.

Two choices are available for descending to Buryville, traditional stairs or an elevator. The elevator has made over 112,000 round trips in its lifetime. The cage was constructed by Gould out of a 6x2x2 locker, much like a high school locker.

Entering Buryville just off the basement, you will notice the camper tucked into the right hand corner. To the left is a museum quality display featuring two of Gould's one-man band contraptions. These include a saxophone, which Gould stated he no longer has the wind to blow, other instruments and guitars which he was able to play with his feet. He was able to do so by hooking the guitars up to old typewriters in a way that is better seen than described.

There are tools like lathes and grinders in a little work shop that are powered by either solar panels above ground or the 35 foot tall windmill seen from the road and called by Gould, "Wild Thing."

There is, in the little workshop, a "Jacob's Ladder," which will be familiar to anyone who has seen the original Frankenstein movie. I consists of two parallel vertical rods and when powered electric current shoots between them and up to the top before disappearing. The sight of this contraption, buried in the cave below the earth, brings to mind the vision of the mad scientist. Rest assured, however. Gould uses his powers only for good.

At the west end of Buryville is the storage locker with a shelve of food for "man cooking," which is nothing much more than canned goods.

As mentioned above, Gould will be happy to take visitors on a tour, delighting them with his creations and a lively humor.

Be sure, if you should visit to wave a hello to his favorite creation, Rocky, sitting on the northeast corner of the yard fence and waving the American Flag wind the wind blows.

 

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