[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]
Day 3: Monday, July 24th (continued)
Eventually, after the dashboard downshifted from Red Alert, and after one missed turnoff along the Minnesota side of the Mississippi River, we skipped back into Wisconsin and reached Highway 35, a.k.a. the Great River Byway, a stretch of road that follows along the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi through several small towns all the way to Minnesota. We were unaware until we reached it that the byway was an attraction unto itself, but it was a beautiful surprise. The river on your left is gorgeous, but the ridges and rock formations on your right are intimidating yet impressive.
Our first intentional stop on the Byway was in Fountain City, home of a roadside attraction called the Rock in the House. From the front, it’s just another home near a cliffside. As you approach from the modest parking area, it appears ordinary, even quaint.
From the rear, it looks like this:
We discovered its existence and strange history at Roadside America. Long story short: a rock fell from the mountainside and crashed into this house. Instead of being repaired for an exorbitant cost, it was maintained as a stabilized ruin and turned into a sort of sideshow oddity.
We paid the suggested donation of a dollar apiece out of amused kindness and entered. The electricity in the house is still on — the lights, a fan, and a small radio were all on and working. Objects on display for your perusal include photos of the incident (of which there’re multiple copies available for purchase — on the honor system, of course), old newspaper clippings, and photos of the original homeowners guest-starring on a Japanese game show.
There is, of course, the boulder itself, still imbedded in the bedroom. Two other carloads of tourists showed up while we were there, proving that we’re not the only weird ones.
The Rock in the House is not to be confused with the House on the Rock, which is a very different attraction elsewhere in Wisconsin. Yes, really.
To be continued!
[Historical note: It’s my understanding that at some point the suggested donation was increased to $2.00 per gawker. In our current American economy, suggested donations don’t stretch as far as they used to.]
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]