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House On The Rock
A Fun Weekend Getaway
For over 60 years, the House on the Rock has been a majestic work in progress. It all began in 1945, when Alex Jordan decided to build a man-made retreat as awe-inspiring as the view from the rock upon which the house would eventually be built.
Over the years the House on the Rock has evolved to include amazing displays and unfathomable collections that never fail to amaze. You can visit the house on the rock dozens of times and still find something you missed last time.
The house on the rock located in Spring Green, Wisconsin, is only a 4 hour drive from our house in St. Paul, Minnesota. It makes a wonderful weekend trip and we try to visit once a year.
The History Behind House On The Rock
The "House on the Rock" sits atop Deer Shelter Rock, a 60 foot tower of sandstone just south of Spring Green Wisconsin. Construction of the house itself was begun by Alex Jordan Jr. in the early 1940s as a retreat from city life in Madison, Wisconsin.
The original 13 room house has grown over the years to house Alex Jordan's amazing collections. House on the Rock is now an extraordinary complex of rooms, streets, buildings and gardens covering over 200 acres. Furnishings include Oriental art, stained glass lamps, bronze statuary and a three-story bookcase filled with rare books. The 14th room was added in 1985 and proves to be the most spectacular, the Infinity Room.
The house officially opened as a public attraction during the summer of 1960, at the urging of Alex Jordan Jr.'s father who had been bankrolling the project.
Spring Green, Wisconsin
House on the Rock is about a 4 hour drive from the Twin Cities in Minnesota or Chicago, Il. Both have major Airports and the drive through Wisconsin is always beautiful.
Alex Jordan Jr.
During the 1940s, a man named Alex Jordan discovered a 60-foot chimney of rock in the beautiful Wyoming Valley. It was here he decided to build a house on the sandstone formation called Deer Shelter Rock. Jordan built the house as a weekend retreat and never intended it to be a tourist attraction. However, people kept coming to see the architectural wonder they had heard about. Jordan eventually started asking for 50 cent donations. That was only the beginning. The 14-room house is the original structure of what is now a complex of many buildings, exhibits and garden displays.
Alex was a collector all his life and enjoyed visiting museums; however, he did not want The House on the Rock to be a museum. He intended it to be much more than that. Though parts of the collections could have easily found their way into museums, The House on the Rock is more of a trip through the wild and fantastic imagination of Alex Jordan than a visit to a dusty, lifeless museum.
In December of 1988, Alex sold The House on the Rock to longtime associate Art Donaldson, a collector and a businessman who shared his broad interests. Alex remained at The House on the Rock as Artistic Director until his death on November 6, 1989. Art Donaldson continues to own The House on the Rock and builds on Alex's dream of expanding and entertaining visitors from all over the world. Alex continues to be in his own words, "Present but not voting".
The Infinity Room
Alex Jordan first envisioned the 14th room to be called the "Infinity room" in the 1940s after being inspired by a verse of a Don Blanding poem. Alex wrote his own poem about the house that he imagines as "one long thin room will hang in space." This engineering marvel was finally completed in 1985, after 4 decades of dreaming.
Today the infinity room extends for 218 feet over the scenic Wyoming Valley. The room stands 156 feet above the forest floor, with the last 140 feet of the amazing room simply hanging in mid-air, entirelly unsupported. There is no other room like it in the entire world.
The Doorway to Infinity
The room contains 3,264 window panes to allow a clear view in all directions.
The Gate House
The construction of the Gate House was started in 1960 after the House on the Rock was opened to the public. The Gate House serves as the entry way to the main house .
This area has a rugged and masculine feel with a unique stone fireplace, 1960s era modern kitchen and glimpses of some of the collections and themes found throughout the rest of the complex. Here you will find Oriental and other ethnic artwork and the first of many fantastic music machines.
Gate House Room
The 1st of many self playing music machines
Inside the House on the Rock
The natural rocks of the cliff are as much a part of the house as the house is a part of the rock.
The actual house is a labrinth of stone and wood with every nook and cranny containing new marvels and delights.
There an amazing collection of antique and rare books, cosy reading areas and waterfalls built right into the living areas.
The house contains hundreds of Bauer ~ Coble stained glass lamps inspired by Tiffany, as well as wonderous stained glass windows.
Each room has it's own special mood or theme. The three stories of books and cozy reading nooks inspire fantasy and the music machines add an element of the magical.
Built in Fireplaces
Amazing Statuary is everywhere
The Mill House
The Mill House boasts one of the world's largest fireplaces. Designed to resemble a fireplace in a Scottish castle, the huge fire pit easily holds giant cauldrons. Everywhere you look there are fantastical delights and amazing collections.
The Mill House is filled with music machines, suits of armor and a virtual arsenal of antique firearms. More massive collections like mechanical die-cast banks, colorful paper weights, fragile glassware, toy trains and steam engines are displayed all around to delight the eye.
Wall of Armor
House on the Rock has three different options for lodging with package deals available that include tickets for the House on the Rock tours. Stay and Tour Packages and Stay and Golf Packages are available at the Inn, the North Lodge, and the Resort. Call 800-334-5275 for reservations and more information.
The House on the Rock Resort
The high standards and impeccable tastes of the House on the Rock Resort are reflected in every aspect of the Resort experience - most notably in the 27 holes of championship golf. Beyond the course, the Resort features an exceptional blend of spacious suites, exceptional spa services and exquisite dining delights. With Frank Lloyd Wright influences throughout, our two-room suites offer splendid views of the surrounding countryside and pristine golf course.
Our Resort Stay and Tour Packages allow you to stay at the Resort and visit the Attraction for one great price! Golf Packages are also available allowing you various combinations of our courses. Call 800-822-7774 for lodging reservations, tee times, and so much more.
Indulge in a little luxury! The House on the Rock Resort is well-known as a wonderful destination for rest and relaxation. Now you can summon the services of our spa to make your stay even more memorable, relaxing and invigorating. Slip away from the stresses of daily life to renew and rejuvenate your mind and body. We offer a variety of therapies, utilizing aromatherapy, herbology and other treatments to indulge your senses.
**Both Courses Rated 4 Â½ Stars by Golf Digest**
While designing 27 holes of championship golf, three prestigious golf course architects took advantage of the amazing natural surroundings. Working with the terrain's rolling hills and tremendous greenery, these legends created the finest golf has to offer - and it's located at the House on the Rock Resort.
Golf Packages, Annual and Corporate passes are available. You'll find the rates and value as ideal as the course! Call 800-822-7774 for reservations and more information.
The House on the Rock Inn
After an exhilarating and active day touring the House on the Rock Attraction, a short, seven-mile drive to the House on the Rock Inn makes for a relaxing retreat. Outside your room, you'll find the Inn has plenty of activity and relaxation for all tastes. Stay and Tour Packages allow you to go from Attraction to relaxation for one great price! Flexible pricing options are available to help you create the perfect getaway or family outing. Call 888-935-3960 for reservations and more information.
The North Lodge
The North Lodge is a comfortable 63 room inn that offers a welcome place to realax for those more budget-minded guest. Along with a variety of room confgurations to meet your needs, the North Lodge comes complete with an indoor swimming pool, sauna and whirlpool. Guests staying at the North Lodge may also use all of the facilities of the House on the Rock Inn.
Stay and Tour Packages allow you to go from Attraction to relaxation for one great price! Flexible pricing options are available to help you create the perfect getaway or family outing. Call 888-935-3960 for reservations and more information.
The Streets of Yesterday
Feel yourself transported back in time to small town America. Visit an era of quaint little shops and cobbled streets. A time when the horseless carriage was still a novelty.
Look through the many windows of the past, into houses with wood burning stoves, an old time apothacary, barbershop and Sherrif"s office. See the fire engines of our ancestors and marvel at this amazing little villiage that lives inside of the house on the rock complex.
Heritage of the Sea
The Heritage of the Sea building was Alex Jordans last big project. The 200 foot sea creature is worth the trip to the House on the Rock all by itself. This display is longer than the statue of liberty is tall. Towering above you, the creature fights a giant Octopus as it swallows a life size whaling dinghy.
Walkways take you up and around this mighty creature so you can view it from every angle. Along the way there are hundreds of seafaring exhibits, over 200 models of ships from frigates and cutters to men o' war. Nearly every type of ocean going vessel is represented.
A Look inside - The House On The RockClick thumbnail to view full-size
Music of Yesterday
This exhibit starts in the theatre lobby with some of the smaller musical machines and moves on to grand rooms that house bigger and then massive and amazingly intricate music machines.
From the Cremona player piano to the mechanically operated symphony orchestra in the Baroque Blue Room, wonders abound.
The Josef Franz ~ A towering 27 foot tall and 12 foot wide giant organ, has mechanical action that animates brass, reed, percussion & stringed instruments and more.
The Mikado (pictured) is an astounding Oriental music machine that pumps out chords on a monster pipe organ with 118 keys.
There is an entire wall of instrumentation that plays the "Blue Danube Waltz" in the grand finale of the Russian Musical Fantasy Red Room.
From the famous tile car, a 1963 Lincoln Continental with suicide doors, armor plated and then covered in blue tiles to the 1953 Packard Coupe, the House on the Rock classic car collection is amazing.
There are even stage coaches and a long horse drawn hook and ladder on loan from the Spring Green, WI fire department.
Hot air balloons float above you as you walk through this collection that even includes an antique Ford Popcorn Wagon.
So Much to SeeClick thumbnail to view full-size
New Spirit of Aviation
In this area you are transported back in time to a 1950s Airfield.
Amazing model airplanes soar above you, some with wing spans as long as 8 feet.
A quaint Airport Cafe with 1950s prices on the menu makes this a fun blast from the past.
The World's Largest Carousel
Life size Angels float above you as you become mezmerized in the Carousel room. The impact of this one of a kind carousel defies description. At 80 feey across, 35 feet tall and weighing in at an astounding 36 tons/72,000 pounds, this carousel has 269 handcrafted carousel animals, none of which are horses.
Instead you see a mythical menagerie of sea creatures, 53 centaurs, 36 peacocks, mermaids and more.
Set admidst 20,000 lights and 182 chandeliers the carousel is in constant motion while over 200 genuine antique carousel horses decorate the walls.