Here is the part where I confess that I didn’t actually read many of the informational plaques, posters, signs, etc. while we were in Section 1 of The House on the Rock. If I had, I probably would have been able to tell you more about its founder and creator, Alex Jordan.
I do remember a few things:
- He was inspired to build The House on the Rock during a family picnic. They stopped in the area to eat and found the giant boulders on which he built his house. He wanted to incorporate nature and have Japanese style gardens.
- In the 1950s he started holding small private events in the house, but people were begging him to open it to the public. He decided to start offering tours in order to finance all of the additions he wanted to make to the house and his collections.
- He had a love interest, Jennie, most of his adult life – they did everything together, sent valentines to each other, were the perfect couple all around. However, they never made the relationship official publicly or married.
- He died in 1989(ish), right before they finished working on the room with the giant sea monster.
- Frank Lloyd Wright’s home is right down the road from House on the Rock, making Alex Jordan his neighbor. I don’t know if they had some kind of architectural game of chicken going on – but it seems like it.
- He decided to build the world’s largest carousel and hired artisans from all over the country to help him collect and restore carousel animals. There is now even a specific technique of painting carousel animals called “House on the Rock Method.” This technique starts by painting the entire animal black then painting dark to light colors. This is what gives them their rich tones.
That just about concludes what I gathered from the educational portion of the House on the Rock tour. So thank me later when you get that answer right on Jeopardy.