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The House on the Rock

The House on the Rock

The House on the Rock

  • The House on the Rock
The House on the Rock Map
Address:
5754 State Rd 23Spring Green 53588
Phone:
(608) 935-3639
Open:
Year-round, Call for Hours of Operation
Website:
http://www.thehouseontherock.com/
Contact:
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Phone:
(608) 935-3639
 
Phone:
(608) 935-3639
 
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Overview
Alex Jordan's remarkable retreat built atop a chimney of rock opened to the public in 1960. The retreat known as The House On The Rock, was only the beginning. In the years that followed, Alex expanded his vision beyond the house and collected and built on a massive scale creating an attraction with some of the world's most unique collections. You'll see a 200' sea creature, maritime displays with intricate model ships and Titanic memorabilia, a huge steam engine, a mechanical calliope, an American small town street of yesteryear, a Japanese garden, a million piece miniature circus, automated music machines and much more at The House On The Rock Wisconsin Dells.
 
Convention Overview
The awe-inspiring array of sights, sounds and sensations. Experience such fantasies as the world's largest carousel, a 200-ft long see creature and the gravity defying Infinity Room which extends an unsupported 218 ft above the valley floor.
     
    Add Your The House on the Rock Story
    The House on the Rock
     
    The House on the Rock Stories
    05/27/2013Our daughter Amy loved the House on the Rock with all her heart. She visited many times and each time discovered something different to enjoy and talk about. She thought it was the most wonderful place she had ever visited. Our daughter passed away almost five years ago and among her belongings, I am still finding souvenirs she had purchased at the gift shop, books, postcards ,whatever she could find to remember her favorite place. Amy was only 31years when she left us and I sometimes feel her spirit still visits this special place she held so dear. Sometime when your'e visiting The House on the Rock, please say hello Amy, she just may be there in spirit that day. This is from a poem I wrote for Amy: House on the Rock, a place I cherished, I could spend days and hours there. I could take in the sights and sounds and be myself without a care. And in this earthly place I loved, my spirit can forever and freely soar. Because epilepsy has left me now and my seizures are never more.
    -AmyPeoria,Illinois
    09/07/2012Visited the "House" in the late 90's with my mom-in-law & my son. We were in awe of the place. We all wished Grandpa was alive to see it. It was fantastic. The collections of stained glass windows, dolls, houses, etc. made our eyes just pop. The carousel was, by far, the best thing any of us had ever seen. Can't wait to get back to see it again if for no other reason but to see what else has been added. Again, it's a fantastic place to visit. Have the book showing some of the collections and everyone who looked at it is flabbergasted by all they see. Thank you for still being there. Can't wait to get back.
    -JeannetteCarmel,New York
    07/02/2011Went to house on school field trip many years ago when I lived with parents in Madison. It was AWESOME! From walking up through the hallways to the ginormous carousel. Now I live in south Texas and planning a trip to the house next summer with my family. Its the best.
    -Robert 
    06/14/2011I had heard about The House for years and finally got to go there a few years ago...WOW! We are heading back there again this year.
    -BeverlyMarlton,NJ
    02/21/2009We took our grown and still at home children to the Dells back in the 90's and one day it rained so not too much to do. Our son suggested we go to the House on the Rock and I didn't want to but went along anyway. When we got there it was the neatest thing - rain and thunder and lightening as we approached the house with I think some weird gargoyles on the outside - what an adventure we had that day!! It was so worth the effort to get there and I have gone back with other people several times but that rainy day was the best.
    -MaryannOklahoma City,OK

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    The House on the Rock Articles
    DIY History Tour01/25/2014Read More
    DIY History Tour
    01/25/2014

    From its earliest days as a fascinating tourism discovery some 150 years ago to its modern-day cache as The Waterpark Capital of the World!®, Wisconsin Dells has been largely powered by the ingenuity and work ethic of local families. Even today the majority of businesses in the Dells are owned by people who grew up in town, and that goes for most of the waterparks. So you’ll have to forgive the locals when they get a little superlative-happy. Let’s just say they earned it.

    Rather than delivering a dry history lesson following that preamble (this is vacation, not school, after all), get a real feel for the community with this rundown of inventions, rituals, firsts and quirks. It even makes for a handy DIY history tour of major landmarks.

    Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself uttering phrases like “Who knew?” and “Is that really true?” It happens all the time.
     



    Inventions
     

    The indoor waterpark 


    The Polynesian Resort was the first property in the nation to introduce the indoor waterpark concept; that was back in 1989. It started with a sketch on a napkin after local business partners attended a waterpark convention in Texas. No kidding – the blueprint for the first indoor waterpark was actually hand-drawn on a napkin.

    Today, the Dells has more indoor and outdoor waterparks per capita than anywhere else on the planet.

    Noah’s Ark Waterpark is the largest outdoor waterpark in the country, sprawling over 70 acres.

    The Wilderness Resort is the largest indoor/outdoor waterpark resort in the country.


    Stop-action photography


    Landscape photographer H.H. Bennett is credited with this feat, as evidenced by his 1886 “Leaping the Chasm at Stand Rock” photo of his son Ashley frozen in mid-air (the story goes that Mrs. Bennett was not aware this was going on). He also made Wisconsin Dells famous with his hauntingly beautiful images of the Wisconsin River and bluffs when he had them placed in train stations between Chicago and points north. His original studio still stands today on the main avenue and is a state historic site.



    Rituals


    Scenic river tour - Take a boat tour of the Upper or Lower Dells or both. Learn the names given to the more unusually shaped rock formations. The Upper Dells tour offered by Dells Boat Tours® includes a shore landing at mystic Witches Gulch and Stand Rock where you see the famous dog leap (recreating the leap of H.H. Bennett’s son – see “Inventions” above). Other scenic river tour choices include the world-famous Ducks (see Only in the Dells below) and water-skimming jet boats.

    Tommy Bartlett Show - This is one of the last professional water ski shows of its kind in the country. It’s staged Memorial Day through Labor Day on Lake Delton.


    Only in the Dells


    World’s largest fleet of WWII land-to-water vehicles. Known as DUCKS (military shorthand), this amphibious vehicle’s finest moment was D-Day, June 4, 1944, when more than 2,000 were put into service to deliver troops to the rough shores of Normandy, France. In 1946, a man by the name of Melvin Flath brought the first DUCKs to Wisconsin Dells and set up a tour company. Take a ride on both the Original Wisconsin Ducks® and Dells Army Ducks.  

    All 15 species of cranes. The International Crane Foundation is the only place in the world where you can see all 15 species of cranes, including the most endangered of all, the Whooping Crane.

    Largest collection of restored circus wagons. Circus World's collection of artifacts is the largest in the world and includes over 210 original wagons displayed at what was once the winter quarters of the Ringling Bros. Circus circa 1900.
     

    Vacation Firsts


    World’s first all-wooden looping roller coaster. The Hades 360° opened in 2013 at Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Parks. As if the loop wasn’t enough, the tracks also plunge underground, taking riders into complete darkness.

    America’s first trap-door looping waterslide. That would be Scorpion’s Tail at Noah’s Ark Waterpark. For the country’s only indoor versions of the looping waterslide, head over to the Kalahari Resort Waterparks, where they literally had to raise the roof to make room for the slides. Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort jumped on the bandwagon, adding their own outdoor versions in 2012.


    Kitschy Purchases


    Minnetonka moccasins. This fashion footwear is now found in chi-chi stores from coast to coast, but it’s been a staple in the Dells for generations. Grab a pair, or two, at Winnebago Fine Goods & Gift Shop, Aunt Jenny's Got-It-All Store, and Parson’s Indian Trading Post.

    Old timey photo. Three studios downtown let you pretend you’ve taken a step back in time: Capone's Original Old Time Picture Studio, Old Abe's Old Time Portraits, and Prof. Porter's Old Time Portraits.
     

    Quirky Fun


    MIR space station. This 43-foot-long piece of Russian space hardware is on display at the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory – Interactive Science Center. It was acquired from a Moscow museum in need of cash. It’s the only MIR exhibit in the world that you can step inside.

    A house on a rock. Built atop a chimney of rock, The House on the Rock is a complex of rooms all chock-a-block with mind-boggling collections including the world’s largest carousel. It was built in the 1940s by eccentric architect and overly zealous collector Alex Jordan and is located just a short drive from the Dells.

    Believe-it-or-not oddities. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum is an “odditorium” of interactive galleries that pay tribute to the odd and strange. Shrunken heads, anyone?  
     

    Foodie Temptations


    Monk’s burgers. The owner of Monk’s employed “aroma marketing” – venting the smell of burgers and fried onions onto the sidewalk – to lure in hungry tourists when he opened the downtown joint in 1947. It still works today.

    Fudge. For sweet tooths, there is the double joy of watching fudge being made andthen eating it. Confectionary shops line the downtown, which has a boardwalk feel to it.

    Fried cheese curds. It’s Wisconsin, say no more. A staple on the appetizer menu of most restaurants in town.

    Microbrews. Ditto to above statement, it being Moosejaw Pizza & Dells Brewing Co., Port Huron Brewing Company and Sprecher’s Restaurant & Pub of Wisconsin Dells are a fine trio of establishments to try.

    Brandy and Wine. Wollersheim Winery, established in the 1840s by a Hungarian nobleman who went on to be known as the founder of the California wine industry, offered its first batch of all-Wisconsin brandy last year and it sold out immediately. Must be because it’s the key ingredient in the state’s most popular mixer, the Old Fashioned.  Wollersheim has national wine awards to its name too. There’s also Fawn Creek Winery with a vineyard carved out of a pine grove.  

    Supper Clubs. In Wisconsin it often means a cocktail at the bar, relish tray to start the meal, homemade rolls and breads, a great entrée (usually a steak or seafood), and irresistible dessert, all served by talented wait staff. Great examples here include the Del-Bar, House of Embers and Ishnala Supper Club which is open seasonally on Mirror Lake.


     

    Frank Lloyd Wright Connection


    Two restaurants. The Del-Bar and Field’s at the Wilderness, both fine dining establishments, were designed by a protégé of the master, with the Del-Bar being classic Prairie-style and Field’s offering a more contemporary interpretation.

    Seth Peterson Cottage. Built in 1958, this tiny 880 square foot cottage on a bluff overlooking Mirror Lake was the first Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in the country to be available for public overnight rental. Sadly, FLW died before it was completed and Seth Peterson, the home’s commissioner and a fan of Wright’s from an early age on, never lived in the cottage due to an untimely death at age 24.


    Monikers


    Waterpark Capital of the World!® With waterparks in all shapes and sizes and more than 200 waterslides, no other destination comes close to Wisconsin Dells status in this category.

    Spring Break Capital of the Midwest. The indoor waterparks provide a feel of the tropics for family spring-breakers.

    Mini-Golf and Go-Kart Capital of Wisconsin. These could be in the “Rituals” category too, with both activities offered outside and inside.
     

    Haunted


    Showboat Saloon. This 100-year-old establishment in downtown Dells has long been purported to be haunted by the ghost of a past resident named Molly who liked to open and close doors and fiddle with appliances on the second floor so much that the owners stopped renting out the upstairs apartment. 

    Leroy Gates Some in the community say the ghost of lumber rafter turned riverboat captain Leroy Gates, R.IP. 1895, haunts the waters of the Wisconsin River to this day.  It was back in 1856 that he took out an ad declaring he had purchased a boat for the purpose of touring occult caves of the Dells – a premonition of things to come perhaps? 

    Belle Boyd Famous Confederate spy Belle Boyd died during a visit to the Dells – she was in town to present a dramatic narrative of her spying adventures when she suffered a heart attack. She’s buried in the Wisconsin Dells Spring Hill Cemetery, where her ghost is said to wander the graveyard.


    Small Town, Big Tourism


     

    • 19.5 square miles. Yes, that’s all it is.
    • 5,600 permanent residents. And that’s including both the city of Wisconsin Dells and the village of Lake Delton (locals fondly refer to the combo as “the Dells”).
    • Nearly 10,000 Number of hotel rooms and other overnight lodging options, more than any other destination in Wisconsin.
    • Four million. The number of estimated visitors each year.
       
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