Explore the Enigmatic House on the Rock This Summer
July 10, 2024

Lake Country Tribune

Nearly a century ago, Wisconsin native Alex Jordan stumbled upon a 60-foot chimney of rock in the scenic landscape between Dodgeville and Spring Green. Inspired by the stunning sandstone formation known as Deer Shelter Rock, he decided to build a unique house atop it, from there, history was born, as they say.

Originally intended as a personal weekend retreat, Jordan’s giant oddity soon garnered global attention and curiosity from the public. What began as a private project transformed into a sprawling complex of buildings, exhibits, and gardens, now famously known as The House on the Rock.

From a Home to a Tourist Attraction

The original 14-room house has expanded into an extensive wonderland, requiring several hours to explore, featuring the world’s largest carousel with 269 carousel animals, 182 lanterns, over 20,000 lights, and hundreds of mannequin angels. Influenced by his passion for unique items and museum visits, Jordan aimed for The House on the Rock to be more than a traditional museum, offering a captivating journey through his wild and imaginative mind.

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According to Atlas Obscura, “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. Jordan remained at The House on the Rock as Artistic Director until his death on November 6, 1989.

“Art Donaldson continued to own and operate The House on the Rock until his death in 2018, and the property has remained in the family.”

Add This to Your Summer Bucket List

Before planning your visit, it’s crucial to check the official website and make arrangements in advance. Exploring the intricate paths through The House on the Rock can take several hours, and unlike typical museums, there aren’t clearly marked sections, making the journey a continuous exploration.

Visitors should be aware that some collections, originally labeled as originals, are actually reproductions.

For families seeking exciting summer activities in Wisconsin, The House on the Rock offers a perfect adventure. The whimsical and fantastical displays promise an unforgettable experience that captures the imagination of both children and adults. As Atlas Obscura notes, it’s not just a visit to a collection of oddities; it’s a dive into the incredible creativity of Alex Jordan, making it a must-see destination​

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