If you find yourself traveling the Great River Road between Minnesota and Wisconsin, you owe it to yourself to stop at Rock in the House, in Fountain City, WI. It is at once creepy (in an X-Files/Criminal Minds kind of way), unsettling (not one, but TWO massive boulders plowed down the hillside and landed on this same site! What are the odds! And could it happen again?! While you're in the house??!!) and downright fascinating, to read the story of how this natural disaster happened (twice!), what happened to the family, and the quirky pop culture role it has taken on (TV crews from around the world have filmed the site).
I had to laugh at one person's (seemingly snarky—maybe it wasn't) comment, "okay, so this is American ingenuity...rock smashes into house, don't remove, charge people to come see it and they come." First of all, it's two freaking dollars, by honor system—you stuff two bucks into the jagged hand-cut hole of a rusty old toolbox nailed to the side porch. If you really don't want to part with your hard-earned dollars, you could go right on in without paying, as there's no one supervising the self-guided tour (though karma may get you, in the form of another rock tumbling down the hillside while stealing your freebie tour . . . it's happened before. Did I mention twice?).
Hollywood couldn't create better ambiance: old clock radio playing in the kitchen when we entered the house (though no one else was present), musty, moldy smell permeated the home, one door in the powder-blue bathroom had a hand-lettered sign taped to it, "Don't Open!" (I have worst-case-scenarioitis and couldn't bring myself to open it, tempted as I was). . . lots of yellowed newspaper clippings adorn the walls, telling of the two disasters (a woman was killed with the first boulder incident), the various TV crews that have visited, lots of photos of the astounding path the boulder gouged into the landscape before landing smack-dab in the middle of the master bedroom, just moments after the owner stepped out, into the kitchen, the next room over (she miraculously survived, and no one else was injured/killed in the 1995 incident).
Would I go out of my way to see Rock in the House? Probably not. But if you're in the area, definitely tour it!
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