NBC’s ‘Today’ show discovers acres of hidden sculptures in the Waldoboro woods

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OK, I’ll do it. I’ll start with a typical social media clickbait-type lead-in: This national television news crew stopped in a small Maine town, and you’ll never believe what they found.

In all seriousness, Bob Dotson and his Emmy Award-winning “American Story” series on NBC’s popular “Today” morning show visited Waldoboro to tour a five-acre forest of wondrous sculptures left behind by the late farmer Nate Nicholls for his grandchildren.

I owe another tip of the cap here to my colleague, Beth Brogan, who covers the southern midcoast area, for sending this “Today” segment my way.

Nicholls was a well-known artist in the area who built whimsical statues from recycled junk, according to the Lincoln County News, and died suddenly in July of heart failure, Dotson wrote.

He left behind a publicly accessible property on Bremen Road filled with metal monkeys, dragons, submarines, mermaids, fish, time machines and many other things.

“Everybody else looks up in the clouds and says, ‘Oh, that cloud looks like a dragon,’ Nicholls’ son, Josh, told Dotson. “My dad looked down at the ground and said, ‘That wrench looks like a monkey.’”

Dotson wrote that Nicholls died while making a metal frog sculpture. He was buried in the fall beneath flowers he’d made out of recycled water faucet handles.

Visitors to his Waldoboro property are always discovering something new Nicholls had left behind — and may be for some time, as some of his sculptures were as small as three inches in height, Dotson wrote.

To see more of Nicholls’ work and hear him talk about it, watch the video below, which was made by visitors to his property back in 2009.

“Sometimes the junk tells me what it wants to be, and sometimes I’m looking for a specific shape,” Nicholls told them.