Tuesday, September 2, 2014

House On The Rock- Second Part

Alex Jordan enjoyed spending time in his retreat house on the rock, pursuing his interests in books, art and sculpture.  He also enjoyed listening to music recordings, especially orchestral sounds.  He collected guns, armor, and dolls for the Mill House.  However, his imagination was flying into wider interests than his collections, because he soon was creating music machines.  In 1974 he showcased them as The Music of Yesterday.  One of the more interesting is the Mikado with its flamboyant Oriental facade.
He purchased Asian figures from the Merchandise Mart in Chicago for the machine, and had one of his workman create the animation.  A music roll plays several numbers including "Dance Macabre" and "Harem Bells".  We stood and looked at the musical wonder long after the music stopped because the figures were still raising their eyebrows and rolling their eyes- very hilarious!  Also in this building are the "music environments" of Miss Kitty's Boudoir, the Gladiators, Blue Danube- to name a few.  As Jordan's collections grew, so his house continued to grow with a series of interlocking buildings and themed rooms.
 Jordan felt that his best work was the Organ room, built in 1981.  I would have to agree.  As we stepped into this room, which has a very large chandelier with winking red lights, we heard organ music playing J.S. Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze".  What a surreal, awesome experience!  As we wound our way through a maze of walkways and winding staircases organ music continued to play other musical numbers including a variety of show tunes.  Besides large organ consoles and pipes, there are large brew kettles, cheese vats, compressors, religious statuary, and thousands of whiskey barrels.  I believe that it was in this room where I also saw "The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse".  Jordan had always admired A.Durer's prints of that Biblical passage in Revelations chapter 6.
  One room he had envisioned in his house from the very beginning was the Infinity Room built in 1985, which is pictured below as it extends 218 feet over the Wyoming Valley from the house.  It is counter balanced by 105 yards of concrete which allows the last 140 feet to extend unsupported over the valley.
Pictured above is part of a sea creature which is in battle with a giant octopus, the sculpture is as long as the Statue of Liberty is tall.  It can be found in the Sea Heritage Room, a room which was not completed before Alex Jordan's death in 1989.  Reportedly a frail Jordan had climbed into the mouth of the whale several months before he died.  In reality, volumes could be written about House on the Rock.  I did not even write anything about the world's largest carousel which it houses.  The carousel has no horses but 269 creatures, both real and mythological.  It also sparkles with 20,000 individual lights.  I would not mind returning to this house in another few years, and it should be on everyone's bucket list! 

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