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The House on the Rock is the weirdest place I have ever been. And I lived in Flint. And Detroit. As much as I love Dale’s photos, I don’t think you can truly experience The House on the Rock in pictures. It doesn’t pick up the dank smells and low ceiling of the main house or the bizarre dark clutter of the warehouses that keep the various collections.
Strange sculptures greet you as you drive along the entry road.
Inside the house, the rooms are dark and low and filled with strange vaguely Asian treasures. Legend has it that the architect–Alex Jordan–was insulted by Frank Lloyd Wright and decided to build a monument to himself just up the road from Wright’s own home, Taliesin.
An indoor fountain with Asian sculptures.
The key feature of the house is the Infinity Room. It narrows to a point, creating a strange forced perspective. Light floods in on all sides (unlike the vast majority of the rest of the house).
There is also a glass bottom section of the Infinity Room that is pretty freaky!
Another strange sculpture in the house!
A backlit wall, a “Tiffany” lamp; and an inlaid chest. The House used to claim the most Tiffany lamps in one place. However, it turns out they have the most Tiffany knock-offs made by a Chicago company in existence. That’s the thing about the House. Most everything is a trick. They used to make all kinds of claims but now they simply don’t mark anything so you just never know what you’re looking at, not really.
A sitting area in the house.
From the house, visitors exit and walk through a garden to the first of several warehouses that house a nearly endless number of collections. One of the first includes a showcase of Faberge eggs. I have no idea if they’re real but they were fancy!
By far the most amazing thing in the house are the large music machines. This is The Mikado (I think). Anyway, you drop in two coins and it plays. Some elements are recorded and other elements happen live. The entire thing moves (and multiple bows draw across stringed instruments). It’s all kinds of weird but also whimsical. I like them even if they were fakes.
In the nautical room, there is a 200 foot whale with a boat in his mouth who happens to be wrestling a giant squid. The room is filled with small version of famous ships.
Another music machines. Rumor has it that the son of the original architect’s house created these as a way to drum up tourist business. He apparently loved to create these elaborate contraptions.
The Blue Danube Music Machine.
Finally, at the end of the second section a strange hallway takes you to what they describe as the World’s Largest Carousel. I prefer to think of it as the inspiration for the color scheme of the movie Moulin Rouge. It’s the closest I have ever come to being inside that movie. And I loved it.
The carousel is all strange, mythical creatures, spinning wildly. Nobody gets to ride it, which is a tragedy.
Another room–the Organ Room–is filled with invented electrical machines that are wildly and absurdly elaborate.
Another elaborately constructed organ.
In the weapons collection room there is a fake female leg with a gun hidden in it!
These photos represent approx. 1/5 of the display rooms. Seriously, it’s bananas. And there is a giant cannon on your way out! Bananas.