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Monday, November 11, 2019


 Just north of Dodgeville, Wisconsin, atop a rocky bluff with a view of a tree-filled valley, sits an architectural marvel of unique rooms, streets and gardens called “House on the Rock.” Envisioned, designed and mostly built by architect Alex Jordan Jr., this house is an amazing combination of talent and whimsy. Built, literally, into the rock, with trees in many places growing through the floor and ceiling, the rooms wind around the natural landscape, creating wonderful vistas and cozy, cushioned nooks just begging for someone to build a fire and snuggle in with a good book.
The house isn’t one structure. It’s a complex of buildings surrounded by gardens and forest, including the Gate House, the Organ Room, the Doll House Room, and the world's largest indoor carousel, which boasts 269 handcrafted animals, 20,000 lights and 182 chandeliers. The most incredible (and mildly unsettling) space is the Infinity Room, a steel and glass “needle” that extends 218 feet out over the scenic valley and 156 feet above the forest floor, with 3,264 windows overlooking the valley. More than 140 of those 218 feet are unsupported, hanging in mid-air.
Based on a short piece on the either the History Channel or Discovery Channel, I expected a grand house with sweeping rooms and awe-inspiring views. Instead I was completely charmed by the hobbit-house feel with low ceilings with natural rock walls, the glow of dozens of tiffany-style lamps, and tiny spaces crammed full of art and books and thousands of whimsical creatures either made by Mr. Jordan or commissioned by him to fill a particular spot in the house. All the while we were walking through the structure, I kept wanting to settle in and talk or debate with friends.

By all accounts, Mr. Jordan loved to do just that. He enjoyed company and hosted many parties.

I think my favorite spot was the room where a small organ, a harp and a piano were crowded together and overshadowed by a great winged dragon.

If you haven’t seen this delightful architectural marvel, add it to your bucket list. I will definitely be going back.


  1. Tracy, what an awesome adventure and so generous of the mastermind builder to share with all. He's a sheer architechtical genius to have mastermind such a wonder. If I ever get out there, I'll sure look up this marvel. Since I play the piano,and harp, and years ago an organ, I believe I'd become lost in that room for sure. Pictures are great and thanks so much for sharing-- have got on my bucket list.

  2. I've heard of the place, but never been. Now you have me intrigued. Thanks, I think. Doris

  3. These out-of-the-way historic gems are fascinating.

  4. What a fascinating place! I've never even heard of this place before.

  5. Well, I have never heard of this place, but after looking at these pictures and reading your article I think I can safely say this has to be added to my top 10 places to see. Totally weird. Songs around the dragon sure got my attention.
    All the best to you, Tracy!

  6. I'm familiar with the House on the Rock through Neil Gaiman's wonderful novel American Godd. It sounds fascinating but also claustrophobic to me, so I think I'll stick with enjoying your and Gaiman's descriptions!