A Holiday reminder 2014: It’s Christmas time again and the House on the Rock is all decked out for the Holidays. It’s a wonderful time to take a little trip to Dodgeville, Wisconsin and experience the land of Santas.
The Christmas Holidays have a way of creeping up on us leaving little time to enjoy the magical sights and sounds of the season. With only 101 days left it’s time to start planning those little trips that embody the spirit of the Holiday.
A trip to The House on the Rock in Dodgeville, Wisconsin will get your spirits soaring as you walk through the house that Alex Jordan built. Having visited The House two previous times and been totally “WOWED” by the vast collections of “everything under the sun”, our visit on Thursday, November 15th, 2012 to check out the Santa Claus Collection exceeded any expectations I might have dreamed.
The house was built by Alex Jordan, collector extraordinaire and an enigma. I use the descriptive enigma because as you learn more about The House on the Rock and its designer, collector, builder and overseer you will find “stories” about every aspect of his life and very few of them support each other. He was a very private person, he rarely appeared in public and when he was recognized he denied who he was. He made Howard Hughes appear to be an extravert. For more information about Alex Jordan, Doug Moe’s book “Alex Jordan architect of his own dream” is probably one of the best accounts of his life. But back to The House!
As we entered The House I began noticing points of interest that I had never seen before and quickly realized that I had never been to The House in the middle of the week in winter. Maybe there were 50 people there as opposed to the summertime crowd of upwards of a couple thousand people in attendance.
The ability to meander through The House and discover new things became just another bonus of this winter trip.
The Santa Claus Collection was phenomenal. Over 6,000 Santas – Free standing Santas, Santa ornaments, Santa mugs, Big Santas, Little Santas, modern day Santas, Vintage Santas, Santas, Santas everywhere.
In 1988 Alex Jordan sold The House on the Rock to long time friends Art and Karen Donaldson, also collectors, and the Santa Claus collection belongs to Karen.
During the winter months there is a lot of construction going on so there are some rooms that are not animated and some that are not accessible. In addition some of the lighting is disconnected, but this is hardly noticed because of the strategically and beautifully placed Christmas lights. The Christmas lights added a whole lot to the ambiance as did the Christmas music playing throughout The House.
The House on the Rock is probably best known for housing the World’s Largest Carousel and for the Infinity Room. The Carousel is magnificent and no picture really does it justice.
The Infinity Room which opened in 1985 extends out approximately 250 feet with 140 feet protruding without support. You will read written accounts that tell you that “visitors walk out to the tip at the end of it,” but I suspect the authors have never been there. That would not be a good idea.
So when you visit please don’t duck under the rope barrier and continue on your way to the tip of the room. I have always found the construction of the Infinity Room fascinating. It was sections of steel that telescope out with each section being welded to the next. It moves a bit when you walk on it or the wind is blowing, but it’s perfectly safe. The Infinity Room holds 200 pounds per cubic foot. The walls are windows — more than 3,000 of them.
The House on the Rock is a wonderful place to visit any time of the year, but I think it’s especially warm and welcoming during the Christmas Season. Another bonus — a winter visit admission is approximately $8 to $10 less than the regular season admission. Yes, there are some things you won’t be able to see, but there are many other things that you will see!