Wednesday, 22nd September 2010 by Ian Brown
Many people may complain about their neighbours for relatively minor reasons – perhaps music is played too loud, or they don’t mow their lawn very often. Selection of paint colour, or exterior decorations are also hot topics, but there are some people who transform their houses to an extent that you’re convinced the majority of neighbours must just cringe whenever they walk past, and watch their own property value sink with the ‘creative’ modification.
So, today Google Sightseeing presents a collection of the most ‘creative’ neighbours1.
First up: the small Colorado town of Antonito, where we find Cano’s Castle.
After repeated complaints from neighbours about the growing pile of beer cans on the property, the owner decided to put them to good use … nailing them to the walls and roof of the increasingly ramshackle buildings, along with hubcaps and other assorted scrap metal and assorted signs about the evils of alcohol and tobacco! It’s now a fairly well-known tourist attraction.
Following the same general idea is the imaginatively-named Beer Can House in Houston, Texas.
Owner John Milkovisch has used an estimated 50,000 beer cans (and has the beer belly to show it) in the decoration of his home, which is open to visitors on the weekend.
In the same city, but a different neighbourhood, we find the Orange Show.
A bizarre testament to one man’s love for citrus fruit, which has manifested itself in the form of garish folk art, much of it made from recycled junk. Jeff McKissack worked on it for 24 years until his death in 1980, at which point the neighbours may have hoped to see it disappear. Instead, a community association purchased the property which is now a thriving tourist attraction named the “Orange Show Center for Visionary Art”. Mr Milkovisch’s Beer Can House is apparently included in their definition of ‘visionary’.
While many people love Elvis, most don’t go quite so far as Paul McLeod – the owner of Graceland Too, a house in Holly Springs, Mississippi, which is about 70km from the real Graceland.
Once bright pink, the Street View cameras captured this modestly-sized replica painted white (and with a large election sign outside). We can, however see the lion statues and fake Christmas wreaths which echo the original. The interior is full of Elvis memorabilia, with the owner happy to give visitors a tour of his collection.
For something a little different, we have a perfectly normal house … which happens to be surrounded by nightmarish concrete and stone sculptures – the Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas.
Samuel Dinsmoor created this ‘sculptural environment‘ in the early 20th century, and thoughtfully included a 12m high limestone mausoleum, where his embalmed body is still on display decades after his death.
Some people take their creativity to rural areas, where they have more space to express themselves, as in the case of the Golden Pyramid House in Wadsworth, Illinois.
This is a private residence, so any curious passersby have to content themselves with the view from the road, where the pyramid can be seen in the distance beyond a giant statue and a wall covered in hieroglyphics.
Even more remote, and likely not even vaguely concerned about the neighbours, is Jim Bishop, who has been building a castle in the wilds of Colorado for more than 40 years!
While visitors are allowed, they are greeted by a long list of rules and a host with what are described as ‘extreme views’, who has been battling with authorities who control the state parks where he gathers stones for his creation, and the local tourist office which refuses to officially list it as an attraction.
We end with a couple of examples of property owners responding directly to complaints from their neighbours…
First to Youngwood Court in Los Angeles.
Neighbours weren’t happy when the owner Norwood Young erected a single replica of Michaelangelo’s statue of David. He responded to the complaints by installing a further 18 statues … and from time-to-time he decorates them in seasonal attire such as Santa outfits! The property is also known as the House of Davids!
Finally to St. Paul, Minnesota and a rather unusual triangular house.
The property at the corner of 3rd St and Gotzian is rather unconventional due to the angle at which the streets meet. The owner tried to build a normal house on the lot, but the neighbours, perhaps having enjoyed an empty space nearby for some years, objected to the plans.
Eventually the owner gave up trying to apply for variances and just built his home to the exact dimensions allowed, resulting in a house that must have some very interestingly-shaped rooms!