Northern Wisconsin And House On The Rocks

  We woke early at Blackhawk recreation area and started making our way towards House On The Rocks. Granted it was only 9 miles away it took is a little longer just cause I had Stef walk around in this flower field so I can take some photos of her. When we got to House On The Rocks I really didn't know what to expect, Stef had been there before and tried to explain it to me but I wasn't really getting it.. And after walking through the place {that took 4 hours} I still really don't know if I can truly explain how amazing this place is... So, I will steal some words from their website and try and show you through my photos so you can get an idea what this place is actually like.I would highly recommend going there though, you will not be disappointed.

" The "house" itself is atop Deer Shelter Rock, a column of rock approximately 60 feet (18 m), 70 feet (21 m) by 200 feet (61 m) on the top, which stands in a forest nearby.Additions were made to the original structure and other buildings added over the course of several decades. The complex now features "The Streets of Yesterday", a re-creation of an early twentieth century American town; "The Heritage of the Sea", featuring nautical exhibits and a 200-foot model (61 m) of a fanciful whale-like sea creature; "The Music of Yesterday", a huge collection of automatic music machines; and what the management bills as "the world's largest indoor carousel", among other attractions. During the winter, the attraction features a Christmas theme, with decorations and a large collection of Santa Claus figures. Many of the bathrooms are decorated with strange objects, including mannequins, flowers, and preserved animals.

The earlier structures, namely the House on the Rock itself, the Gate House, and the Mill House, are reminiscent of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, though much less coherently designed than is characteristic of Wright, given its patchwork of external structures and interior spaces. The building actually began partly to spite the master architect, who ran his Taliesin communal school near Spring Green. These early structures feature exposed stone, low ceilings, dark woodwork, and antiques on display.

Jordan sold the house in 1988 to a friend who continued building on the site, adding to the collections of knick-knacks and exhibits featuring authentic pieces, reproductions, and specially-made examples of everything. The most recent addition is the "Spirit of Aviation", a collection of large model airplanes in a themed room. Another exhibit, the "Transportation Building", is under construction, but visitors can walk through and view the work in progress.

Jane Smiley wrote this about the complex in 1993:

Though most people outside of the Midwest have never heard of it, the House on the Rock is said to draw more visitors every year than any other spot in Wisconsin. Also in the Wyoming Valley, but on top of a huge monolith, the House on the Rock reveals the spirit of its builder, Alex Jordan Jr., to be as single-minded and eccentric as Wright's, but in substance almost absurdly opposed.

... And it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the House on the Rock. The sheer abundance of objects is impressive, and the warmth most of the objects exude, the way that the toys ask to be played with, for example, makes the displays inherently inviting. But almost from the beginning, it is too much. The house itself is dusty. Windowpanes are cracked. Books are water damaged. The collections seem disordered, not curated. In fact, there is no effort to explore the objects as cultural artifacts, or to use them to educate the passing hordes. If there were informative cards, it would be impossible to read them in the dark. Everything is simply massed together, and Alex Jordan comes to seem like the manifestation of pure American acquisitiveness, and acquisitiveness of a strangely boyish kind, as if he had finalized all his desires in childhood and never grown into any others."