FOX 47 - Road Trippin'
SPRING GREEN- If you're from
It's a sight to see and really, cameras can't quite capture the scale and what feels like an endless amount of things to see. The House on the Rock is the brainchild of former Madison resident, Alex Jordan.
He started building a getaway cabin on a rock near Spring Green in the 1940's. But it wasn't until locals wanted to see the house that its tourist attraction roots were developed.
"In 1960, he opened the house itself to the public, and it just grew, said Matt Schneider, Marketing Manager, The House on the Rock. He has quite the imagination and wanted to collect things and wanted to create things."
Today, more than 400,000 people visit the house each year.
The fairly new Historical Center gives a little insight in the mind of the avid collector, but it isn't until you make your way to the house that his vision starts to reveal itself.
He used the contours of the rock to add his rooms, said Schneider. He started constructing the permanent structure that we're in now in 1945 adding 13 rooms in 13 years."
Turn the first corner and you see the winter room built in the mid 40's and it's just as it was.
We were there for the start of the holiday season and can say Santa made himself known to the tune of 6000 different version of Old St. Nick placed around the property each year.
Next up, one of the main attractions inside a wildly-perched room along a hillside, The Infinity Room.
The infinity room is over 218 feet long and has more than 6000 windows as well, and it's built on a 6 inch incline, so if it's full or people, it actually levels off, it's like a cantilever, Schneider said.
Just around the next corner was a mid-1800's village, then onto a massive room with a Shark just as massive.
Hannah Coffin and Trenton Maddox from Illinois were just a few minutes ahead of our tour.
"I was a little guy and came here with the family on a family vacation in the dells, had a great time here and it's been probably 15-20 years since I've been, said Maddox.
"It's amazing, said Coffin. I can't even describe it, just one thing after the next."
Fans of old music players can find their Mecca in the music of yesterday section. Theyre all hugely elaborate with endless details. Around yet another corner the scene will stop you in your tracks.
"Now we're going to be seeing the world's largest carousel, Schneider said. It has over 20,000 lights and there's 269 handcrafted animals on the carousel, but not one horse. Alex Jordan said if he was going to make the world's largest carousel, he wasn't going to make it like the rest of them and put horses on it."
Standing there you can't count the 182 chandeliers or notice it's 80 feet wide, 35 feet high and weighs 26 tons with a value of $4.8 million dollars. But all those things don't really matter for time in front of this vision of so many craftsmen.
"It's the very last thing that our visitors see on our tour and it's really the most popular part of our tour, it's what people talk about in the car ride home.
An interesting note is the whole idea of turning it into a tourist destination started with Jordan charging 50 cents to scare nosey neighbors away.
But it turned into a passion and his only source of income. The only other job he ever held was driving a taxi in Madison.
He sold the property to a Janesville family in 1988 and died in 1989.
Thursday, October 3 2013, 04:08 PM CDT
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