Beer Can House
In 1968, John Milkovisch was just another retired employee of Southern Pacific railroad. He lived in an undistinguished house in an undistinguished suburban neighborhood of Houston. Then John got antsy. He began decorating his patio with pieces of brass, marbles, rocks and buttons. Then he tore up the lawn and replaced it with similar glittery debris. The house itself was next. John took beer cans and flattened them into aluminum siding
Beer cans quickly became John's exclusive medium -- a convenient one, since John drank a lot of beer. He worked on the house for the next 18 years, incorporating a six-pack a day into its adornment -- roughly 39,000 cans. He linked pull-tabs into long streamers to make curtains that chimed when the wind blew. "This curtain idea is just one of those dreams in the back of my noodle," he explained at the time.
"John thought beer cured everything," explained Mary, his wife, after John had died in 1988. Mary was still there, welcoming visitors, until her death in 2002. In November 2001, when Mary could no longer live without assistance, the Orange Show Foundation and its army of folk art preservationists purchased the property. By March 2008 the house and property were open again to the public, helped by a $125,000 Houston Endowment grant to repair and restore the Milkovisch's Beer Can home.
The cans are a record of John's imbibing preferences -- Coors cylinders are sculpted into whirligigs, while long rows of Texas Pride and various Lite beers make up the walls. Pull tabs tinkle lightly in the breeze, but the only belches you'll hear are your own.