John and I went to House on the Rock in SW Wisconsin.
It was creepy, as "A" from the urban home who recently commented on
that old post from last month. Not only creepy, it was also many other things,
many of which occurred in mutually exclusive instances:
musical - really!
as if the guy who built it to be a house to educate the masses about the female anatomy using almost lifelike dolls or manikins in sporadic-yet-frequent sightings throughout the three-hour tour.
Actually, I just got inspired.
How about I tell you about this house to the tune of the Gilligan's Island theme song?
Here's a refresher:
Here we go -
Just sit right back and read a tale
A tale about a fateful trip
That started with a spoiled college drop-out
Atop a rocky cliff.
He made himself a short-man's room,
though he was 6-foot-4,
Then built himself a great big house
with a three-hour tour
a three-hour tour
|I'm 5'10", and I couldn't stand up straight in here!|
The extreme of of his collections and
The magnitude of all his tricks
Can only be summed up in a
Convenient photo list.
Just follow me through the maze of halls
and weaving bumpy aisles
the crazy guns
pretty patterns, too
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0CfiPqyDvLQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>iframe>
and a WHALE
Royal "jewels", and
Smurf Bathroom Land
There at House on the Rock!!
Ok, here's just a little more background. This is the short version - trust me.
Alex Johnson, the guy who built the House on the Rock, was the son (I think the only son) of two successful entrepreneurial parents who built buildings and rented out housing in central Wisconsin. Johnson did not have the go-getter attitude his parents possessed throughout his young adult life, so he dropped out of college and decided to "go have picnics on a beautiful cliff he found."(1) Well, turns out that cliff belonged to a farmer who "asked him what he was doing up there." (2). Eventually Johnson was able to buy the plot of land from the farmer, if not the whole farm eventually (I can't remember), and he started building a place to live on top of that cliff. He had quite the operation going, with all sorts of contraptions that allow one to move rocks and wood and other building supplies up a steep cliff, say about 60+ feet above the most steady, level part of the hill.
(1): He was a bum who was living off his parent's money and didn't feel like working
(2): a.k.a. "GET OFF MY PROPERTY!"
People got curious as to what Johnson was doing, so they asked if they could come up and see. He eventually conjured up the idea that if he was going to haul these people up the side of the cliff and entertain them for the prerequisite 30 minute Midwestern visit time, he might as well charge them 50 cents a trip. Thus began the decades of people paying to see this spectacle of a construction, each walkway weaving into another part of Johnson's materialized imagination that was funded, eventually, by the reinvested ticket money those people shelled out just to see what was on top of the cliff that used to belong to that old farmer.
Until his death, Johnson kept adding, adding, and adding both real and fabricated artifacts.
Such items include:
-the world's largest chandelier
-a multimillion dollar carousel containing no horses (they were on the walls)
-a tiled town car (individual tiles on the entire exterior - think Snoop Dogg + kitchen back splash)
-a refabrication of the Crown Jewels of England (plastic...SO plastic)
-PLAYER ORCHESTRAS PLAYING THE BLUE DANUBE.
And PLAYER MARCHING BANDS!
All you had to do was put in a token and you'd hear a song for a good 5 or 6 minutes!
-a whale-like creature who not only contains both a head and a tale strikingly comparable in size to a blue wale, but also a proportionately sized octopus wrapped around its torso.
Yes, this place was creepy. Amazingly creepy. Kind of Amazing. Mostly creepy.
The gardens were cool, though! And in all honesty, it was a really interesting, thought-provoking experience that I would recommend to just about anyone who is not a child. This isn't a kid's place, that's for sure.
Here are some more pictures. Sorry for the "meh" quality. Asking for a good camera for Christmas.
Oh, and thanks for reading all of this if you made it this far.
If you didn't, I will just call you and read this post verbatim.
|This is the "Infinity Room." If you look House of the Rock up on Google images, you'll probably find this room jutting out from the main building. It also has a place where you can see a straight drop down to the bottom.|
|There is about 10 or so feet of shelves you can't see here.|
|These quotes were on their cafe's tables.|