If you want me, I'll be in the Infinity Room.
December 24, 2004 1:49 AM   Subscribe

The House on the Rock.
Mentioned in Neil Gaiman's American Gods, worked on by the mysterious Dr. Evermor... in your face, Frank Lloyd Wright!
posted by scrim (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Despite the globe-trotting aura of the collection, Jordan hated to travel and never left the country."

Perfect, just perfect.

I deserve a good slap for reading the book and not googling this house afterwards.
posted by mek at 3:01 AM on December 24, 2004

OMG, you mean it's a real place? Excellent.

/also gets in line for the slap.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 5:01 AM on December 24, 2004

This was one of our first stops on our road trip around the country this summer (inspired in part by American Gods), and it was well worth visiting. The $20 admission seems steep at first, but we easily spent an entire day there and saw all sorts of cool, kitschy americana.
posted by schustafa at 6:23 AM on December 24, 2004

I went there when I was about 6 or so. Still freaks me out to think about it. Especially the Infinity Room. Take THAT Dells.
posted by Arch Stanton at 6:32 AM on December 24, 2004

The House on the Rock is awesome. Despite only living about an hour and a half away, I didn't check it out this year. If I get a chance, I'll upload all my photos from there and post a link.
posted by drezdn at 6:47 AM on December 24, 2004

It's going to take maybe another hour to get them all uploaded, and there are no thumbs but,House on the Rock photos.
posted by drezdn at 6:56 AM on December 24, 2004

two posts above should be "Didn't check it out until this year."

Also, John Kerry stayed at the House on The Rock hotel when preparing for the first debates.
posted by drezdn at 6:57 AM on December 24, 2004

No place in America is more insane and fucked-up (in a good way) than the House on the Rock. Truly, every time you turn a corner, you are bombarded with a new realm of visual mind-boggliness. It takes, as schustafa points out, much of the day to get through it all (4 hours is fast), and I have found that the end result is one of amazement, but also of complete exhaustion and overwhelmedness. The place amazes indeed the very faculties of eyes and ears, and does it so consistently and with such intensity that you get the feeling that your sensory receptors are literally full.
The word "unique" is heavily overused, but it fits in this case. I totally love this place.

Bonus trivia: Filmmaker Agnes Varda came to visit Madison for this retrospective, and was taken to The House on the Rock, so she might get a sense of what this crazy land of Wisconsin is like. She hated it and insisted that she be taken away. She may have called it "vulgar."
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:20 AM on December 24, 2004

I love 'The House on the Rock', but I really didn't appreciate it until I was an adult.

However, growing up in Madison, WI meant that I went there a lot as a kid - it was one of the 'default field trip destinations' for us public schoolchildren, along with The State Capitol, Vilas Park Zoo, Little Norway, and Cave of the Mounds. So I got burned out on it by 8th Grade.

Only now, that I live in Seattle, can I really understand what a truly bizarre place Wisconsin is, and now I'm grateful that I grew up there.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:12 AM on December 24, 2004

One of these days I am actually going to make it up there.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:07 AM on December 24, 2004

We went there a few years ago. That place is insane! (In a good way.) The Infinity Room totally freaked me out though. I absolutely didn't care for the way the floor moves and could not bring myself to go all the way to the end of it.
posted by AstroGuy at 10:18 AM on December 24, 2004

I went there when I was very young. It's a place to infests your dreams for a while afterwards. It's much bigger now and I need to go back.
posted by john at 11:12 AM on December 24, 2004

It's so funny, the way it's 5 minutes from taliesin.

Go at Christmas time for a slightly shortened tour with a mind-boggling number of santas (it's also cheaper) but sometime go on the full tour. Take LOTS of quarters (the self-playing instruments require quarter tokens, and they're really part of the fun, so don't scrimp).

For a while, there was a game in the arcade that my then-boyfriend and I hacked that would dispense tokens. We profited from two HotR trips in a row.

If you have any friends who are afraid of heights, take them to the end of the infinity room, then bounce up and down. It's a riot.
posted by u.n. owen at 1:08 PM on December 24, 2004

That house was the creepiest place I've ever been.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:41 PM on December 24, 2004

If you have any friends who are afraid of heights, take them to the end of the infinity room, then bounce up and down. It's a riot.

u.n. owen: I hate you. You were there that day, weren't you? I was never afraid of heights until I entered that god forsaken room!
posted by AstroGuy at 2:45 PM on December 24, 2004

i've met Evermor a few times, it's fascinating to walk around his park and listen to him talk about making certain pieces.

And for those of you who ever get the opportunity to go, the Forevertron is certainly a magnificent piece, but there is so much more to his sculpture garden that is impressive in a sublime way. My personal favorites are his bird-band. The feathers are made from scissors blanks donated by Fiskers, each one carefully welded in place to create very birdlike wings and bodies.

Truly neat stuff.
posted by quin at 2:57 PM on December 24, 2004

Great stuff. I too was surprised to find that such a place actually existed after reading the book. Of course, others may feel the same way about 'Rock City', a place close to where I grew up and also in the book.

I didn't discover 'Culvers' until I moved to the midwest, but they do have great 'butter' burgers.
posted by UseyurBrain at 3:17 PM on December 24, 2004

I'm not sure I would call Tom Every mysterious, he's just another Wisconsin crazy in my book. From all accounts, especially the book written by the Wisconsin St Journal reporter, Jordan exploited just about everyone he came in contact with including the phantasmagorical Dr Evermor.

For more of Wisconsin's contribution to the Other check out the Dickeyville Grotto, Fred Smith's Concrete Park or the the Wegner's Glass Church in Cataract, WI or Herman Rusch's Prairie Moon Sculpture Garden. They say there's something funny in the water.
posted by memexikon at 4:55 PM on December 24, 2004

I didn't discover 'Culvers' until I moved to the midwest, but they do have great 'butter' burgers.

My brother manages the Cottage Grove Rd Culvers on the east side of Madison. We just moved back to Madison in August after spending 8 years away on the east coast.

This part of Wisconsin is our favorite place to live and raise a family -- just enough quirkiness and creativity amongst an otherwise pastoral setting.
posted by thanotopsis at 6:31 AM on December 25, 2004

To me, that describes much of wisconsin, but ymmv.

Also, according to USA Today, Neil Gaiman lives in Wisconsin.
posted by drezdn at 7:04 AM on December 25, 2004

Wow! So many of my neighbors on one thread!

I have been past the HotR many times on the way to APT, but the one time we tried to go to it, my sister broke her toe while getting out of the car, so it was a no-go. Maybe next year.

I didn't discover 'Culvers' until I moved to the midwest, but they do have great 'butter' burgers.

That they do. And fried cheese curds. And turtle sundaes.


Also, according to USA Today, Neil Gaiman lives in Wisconsin.

Well, the WI/MN borderlands.
posted by kayjay at 9:21 PM on December 27, 2004

There are many parts of the original house section that are wicked cozy, and I've always remembered them as something to include in the dream-house.

The rest is, well, bat-shit crazy. Don't go into the pipe-organ room if you're on anything stronger than coffee.

Hey there, neighbors. We ever going to get another Madison Mefi Meetup started?
posted by mimi at 3:30 PM on December 28, 2004

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