El Paso, Texas: House of Sugar: Folk Art Confection

For 25 years retired Levi Strauss worker Rufino Loya Rivas built "La Casa de Asucar" around his home as a tribute to the city of El Paso. The House of Sugar's hyper-ornate statues and features were inspired by Catholic churches Rufino recalled from his youth in Mexico.
Address:
4301 Leavell Ave., El Paso, TX
Directions:
Take the Patriot Fwy north to exit 26. Merge onto Gateway N. Blvd. Turn left onto Atlas Ave., then a slight left onto Gateway S. Blvd. Turn right onto Leavell Ave. At the corner of St. Charles St.
Hours:
Private home. Visible from street.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
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Visitor Tips and News About House of Sugar: Folk Art Confection

Reports and tips from RoadsideAmerica.com visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

House of Sugar.

La casa de azcar AKA The House of Sugar

We went to see the La casa de azcar AKA The House of Sugar. This is someone's home!

While we were walking around and taking photos of the house, the owner came out. Rufino has been working on his house for 20 plus years. He's retired from Levi's. If you are smart you'll introduce yourself and allow him to walk with you and see the outside of the house. He talked about himself when we asked questions, and he was kind enough to translate the plaques to English, as my friend and I don't speak Spanish. I'd say he looks for visitors. Nobody builds a house like this and then doesn't want people to see it. Random strangers and weirdos stop to photograph his home all day long so it's awesome that he comes out to join you.

He has a tiny suggested donation can which helps with upkeep. The place requires a lot of pain and touch up to keep it looking nice. He said a donation was not necessary, but I gave him $10 to help with future upkeep and as a thank you for the pleasant conversation and impromptu tour.

[Trista Robinson, 04/14/2017]
The Sugar House

On our way there this place was a running joke, but once we arrived it was amazing! The work that was put into it is truly incredible. We had the chance to meet the owner who was kind enough to take us on a tour around his creation and talked in great detail about how he made everything. For those inspired, he does take donations to help pay for the upkeep.

[Joel and Tonya J., 12/31/2016]
La Casa de Asucar - House of Sugar

A previous Roadside America tipster commented on the owner/artist of this creation as a little creepy. We just left this location, it was amazing! The owner was out tinkering on dabbing paint here and there and was very nice. He was happy to discuss his work, the length of time on the project...very nice man.

[Rebecca Gaines, 09/25/2015]

House of Sugar.

House of Sugar

This was fantastic -- to my mind, the best attraction in El Paso. The House of Sugar is delightful, it goes on for a whole city block, and it is "excellently" kept up. It's in top condition and full of interesting detail. One warning: the owner constantly shadowed me at a distance, always too far away for conversation, but it was clear he was keeping a very close eye on me. I waved to him, and I got a wave back. But still the surveillance. I always try to be respectful around such sites, and here I actually stood in the street when I could -- I didn't even stand on the sidewalk. But the constant wary surveillance by the owner finally creeped me out, and I left without enjoying this site as much as I would have liked. It's a real treat! Too bad the owner is so mistrustful.

[Flamingo John, 06/06/2013]

Rufino Loya Rivas, if that's who you were observing as observing you, is soft-spoken, but he's been known to strike up conversations with visitors.

House of Sugar.

House of Sugar

La Casa de Asucar was built by Rufino Loya Rivas between 1973 and 1998 as a homage to the city of El Paso. The tribute has been built surrounding the house as a fence of sorts, complete with many religious-themed statues and descriptions in both Spanish and English.

[Greg Brown, 01/18/2011]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Grave of Wild West's No. 1 KillerGrave of Wild West's No. 1 Killer, El Paso, TX - 4 mi.
1919 Vintage Gas Station1919 Vintage Gas Station, El Paso, TX - 4 mi.
National Border Patrol MuseumNational Border Patrol Museum, El Paso, TX - 5 mi.
In the region:
Chamizal National Memorial - It Used To Be In Mexico, El Paso, TX - 5 mi.

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