Tuesday, June 6, 2023


The ‘House On The Rock’ Treasure Chest Goes On And On And On

In the 1940’s Alex Jordan, a eccentric collector and dreamer with a wild imagination, purchased a 60-foot chimney rock in the beautiful Wyoming
Valley of Spring Green, Wisconsin.
He painstakingly began to build a weekend retreat – all supplies were carried up by hand. But because people kept asking to see what he was building, he began to charge 50 cents for the tour. He called his house foundation ‘Deer Shelter Rock’ and his structure slowly transformed into an architectural wonder. The House is so much more than a static museum.
Over the years Alex’s original 14 rooms expanded to numerous buildings and collections that seem endless – esthetic beautiful floral garden displays highlighted each area. It officially opened to the public in 1961.
Our first visit in 1987 was simply mind-boggling but every time we returned the displays have grown and become more extensive. The collections include rare and unique treasures from around the world.
In 1988 Alex sold ‘The House’ to his partner and friend, Art Donaldson – Art shared Alex’s enthusiasm although Alex stayed on staff until his death a year later. Art has made every effort to continue and expand Alex’s dream.
Huge extensive collections include items such as Cannons, Dolls, Circus angels and the amazing Carousel, one of a kind Organs, Circus room; Streets and Music of Yesterday, a huge Christmas collection during the season and, and and; the listings seem endless. Of course no one should miss the original 14 rooms plus the infinity room.

The House is undergoing major renovations and expansion during the next 3-years but it continues to remain open. This complex has grown so large in size that it may be advantageous for visitors to choose a shorter single tour; however a combined extensive three-tours-in-one is also available. John and I visit this one of a kind ‘Gem’ every few years to appreciate the changes, but we split up and meet several hours later. He isn’t interested in the doll room and/or similar items and I had too much to see to spend time appreciating the extensive gun collection.

The House on the Rock expansion now includes an inn, resort, golf course, restaurants and mega garden displays inside and out. Various campgrounds are located nearby
For more details please check out the official website of the House on the Rock


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16 years ago

I highly recommend the ‘House on the Rock’ as a full-day visit if you’re planning a vacation around Madison, Wisconsin or the Wisconsin Dells.

It’s a fanciful experience that awes and entertains every step of the way. When I was there a few years ago it was NOT wheelchair or stroller-friendly throughout the entire route, so do check and see what limitations are there.

There are so many wondrous collections here – mostly music-related (The life-size mechanical orchestra will amaze you). The merry-go-round was not rideable, but just viewing it was thrilling. even the architecture, with noks and crannies that go nowhere are intriguing.

If you go, plan on several days to visit the entire area. Just down the road on Hwy 23 is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin (and a rest area between the two places will present you with the view of the ‘Eternity Room’ shown in this article.

Cave lovers, take a side trip to the Cave of the Mounds and get your camera ready for Mount Horeb – try to find all the carved trolls.

For train buffs, a rrailroad museum is also close by.

Up the road is Baraboo – Summer home of Ringling Brothers circus with the most phenomenal collection of restored circus wagons and works-in-progress. ANd of course, the Wisconsin Dells are close by.

Don’t stop there, if time permits there are many other wonderful places, rich in Alpine and Germanic history. Be sure your batery charger is handy for those great images. Vicki

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