Found: The House on the Rock, Spring Green, WI

Found: "The House on the Rock at Spring Green, Wisconsin on Highway 23, North of Dodgeville, Wisconsin" copyright The L.L. Cook. Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin from Ektachrome Transparency, circa 1965

Less than seven miles from Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin in Spring Green hovers a spectaclar manifestation of hording, imaginative architectural design backed with an astute ability to appeal to public curiosity. Wisconsin Dells is not far away nor is Cave of the Mounds. Tourist pamphlets didn't prepare us for the sensory overload that is The House on the Rock. More proof positive what isolation, time, and money can produce in Wisconsin. Built on "Deer Shelter Rock" by Alex Jordan, Jr. in the 1940s, this maze of rooms and objects wasn't originally intended as the sort of tourist attraction it has beomce with inn, spa, golf course and tour packages. Plunk down the $28.50 and try to power through it. After an intense darkly mysterious 3 hours of gawking, strolling, striding, and absorbing, we were expelled back into the bright light of Wisconsin on a summer afternoon.  Inside, the eerie pneumatic 35 piece orchestra of stringed and percussion instruments (from sitars to cellos) was topped by the surreal installation of an immense and swirling carousel with topless winged women peppered throughout. Back then, disposable cameras and rolls of 35 mm film were vended near the carousel to satisfy the overwhelming urge to document the intensity photographically. At the core of the house is a carpeted dank lounge/pit where Jordan is said to have sipped Tom Collins and read books. A stream of nosy tourists pushed him to start charging to look around the place. He applied the income to acquiring and expanding his home and collection over time. The house sprawls to display collections of eccentric and associative objects from dolls to steam locomotives to pipe organs. "Despite the globe-trotting aura of the collection, Jordan hated to travel and never left the country. He died in 1989, at age 75," wrote Roadsideamerica. Alex's world makes a great exotic location to stage your next wedding or a Halloween party...

Author Neil Gaiman, who  lives near Menomine, Wisconsin, appeared at the 
The Gathering of American Gods Costume Party  at HoTR, 10.29.2012.. Video by EvilWylie.

NOTE: Thanks to Professor Ed Kern, our Lawrence University colleague, for the tip on Neil Gaiman's references to the House on the Rock in American Gods.

No comments:

Post a Comment