The Strangest House in Each State
What does the quirkiest abode in your home state look like?
Alabama: AnchorLight Bed and Breakfast
The AnchorLight in Crane Hill, Alabama on the shores of Smith Lake is quite the attraction because of its 53-foot lighthouse. The good news, there are two rooms inside the lighthouse for guests to stay and catch a great glimpse of the lake.
Alaska: Goose Creek Tower
Alaskan attorney Phillip Weidner started building cabins on top of cabins until the structure reached 185 feet tall. He stopped short of 200 feet because that is when federal airspace begins. Weidner says he can see 300 miles out from the top of the structure, which is still a work in progress. He says he has built Goose Creek Tower without any blueprints but rather from his mind and small notations. This might be the tallest house in Alaska but do you know what the biggest house in Alaska looks like?
Arkansas: Quigley’s Castle
The story of Quigley’s Castle in Arkansas goes back more than 100 years when Elise Fiovanti started collecting rocks as a kid. When she married Albert Quigley he promised her a house. He built her one she designed with lumber from the property and she decorated the exterior walls with the rocks she’d collected as a kid. She also created bottle trees around the property for a unique look.
Arizona: Cat Crazy
Just make sure it doesn’t turn into a giant litter box. Believe it or not, this place was listed for $240,000 in an unincorporated Concho, Arizona. Not looking to spend that much money? Plan your vacation around the cheapest months to travel to each of the 50 states.
California: The Winchester Mystery House
With the word mystery in its name, the Winchester House has a good reason for its reputation. Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune, continued construction on this house after her husband and infant child had passed with the purpose of creating a mystery. A psychic had told her that her family died because the spirits of the people who died by Winchester rifles were angry; by continuing to add rooms and wings to her home, she could give these spirits a place to go. Sarah believed that the confusing passageways that turned on themselves and staircases that led nowhere would confuse and trap the evil spirits.
Colorado: The Sculptured House
It appeared in Woody Allen’s film Sleeper but don’t sleep on this home on Genesee Mountain, southwest of the Denver suburbs. Architect Charles Deaton designed the home and construction started in 1963 but Deaton never finished it. It wasn’t until 2003 that the house got completed under new owner John Huggins, who bought it in 1999. The home, which has no flat walls, Deaton railed against boxy design and probably disliked the six most popular architectural styles in the United States. The Sculptured House is on the National Register of Historic Places. Deaton later went on to design Arrowhead Stadium where the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs play and Kauffman Stadium next to it where the Royals play MLB. Both are considered two premier stadium venues and both are two of the longest-standing stadiums.
Connecticut: Art House
When this house went on the market it drew varied responses from corners of the internet. Artist Nikolay Synkov designed the house as an experimental art studio. Synkov was largely influenced by abstract Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky. Synkov completed intricate wood carving on the exterior and themed each room. He also included poetry for each room, you can find the whole explanation here, it’s pretty interesting.
Delaware: Futuro House
The Futuro House, designed by Matti Suuronen, a Finnish architect, back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Fewer than 100 are thought to have been built and there are 80 remaining units. Seventeen Futuros have been demolished but those that remain span the globe. They were made with fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic and designed as a ski chalet. It stood 14 feet tall and had a diameter of 26 feet. Eight people could fit inside.
Florida: The Dune House, Atlantic Beach
William Morgan, a modernist architect, designed the duplex in the ’70s and it quickly caught the attention of many. It even led to Playboy using the duplex built into a sand dune in an issue. There are no right angles with the house and a nautilus shell inspired the interior design. Each duplex is 750 square feet with lofted bedrooms and closets built into the wood-paneled walls.
Georgia: Guitar House
Country music performer Elvis Carden has got a house that can hit all the right notes. Carden has spent the better part of two decades designing and building a guitar-shaped house. He’s named his record company Guitar House Records, has a backing band named Guitar House Band and titled an album Living in an old Guitar. It’s been in and off the market through the years and while it’s priceless to some, it can’t compete with the most expensive home in Georgia.
Hawaii: Kehena Point Cliff House
If you’re in Hawaii you’ll want to keep looking all around you. The Kehena Point Cliff House, which is available to rent, provides plenty of views with sa pectacular setting and ample windows. It’s a concrete house designed to look like a boom box. Guests can walk to a black sand beach and watch dolphins swim in the ocean. Can you guess what the state flag of Hawaii looks like?
Idaho: The Sluice Box
The Sluice Box in Idaho City is actually an antiques and collectibles store but it certainly looks like an old mining residence. The shop was built with barn wood, along with other items found in Idaho, Nevada, and Colorado. There are hidden rooms, screened porches and even pictures plugged into knotholes.
Illinois: The Kirsch Home
There aren’t many details out there about this Oak Park home designed by Errol Jay Kirsch in 1982 but it is something to behold. Some have said it has the makings of a “green” home with some of the solar design features. Check out the best-kept secrets in each state.
Indiana: Old Jail Inn
So you can stay in a jail that you’re free to leave from at anytime? That’s possible at the Old Jail Inn, a former Parke County Sheriff’s office and jail. It was in use until 1998 and was purchased in 2009 by Debra Olson. Olson thought she’d just purchased a steel door and windows from the site but her purchase also included the building. A year later she developed it into a bed and breakfast where guest can dress up in the original jail clothes and head over to The Drunk Tank Winery at night. The Old Jail Inn sleeps 18 among the rooms called: the Indian Garage Suite, the Gangster Hideout Suite, the Harley Davidson Suite, the Bonnie and Clyde Suite, the Thelma and Louise Cell, the John Dillinger Cell, the Al Capone Cell, the Jesse James Cell and the Elvis Presley Cell.
Iowa: The Spaceship House
It’s hard to miss this house in Urbandale, Iowa since its one of the tallest buildings around. It was built in 1993 and the main living room stands 35 feet up from the entry. There’s a 6,000-square-foot garage and recreation center on the property, too.
Kansas: Subterra Castle
The Subterra Castle outside of Topeka is a former underground missile silo converted into a home. Edward and Dianna Peden bought the property in 1994 and converted it. It was built in 1959 and was in operation from 1961-65. It gained notoriety when it was listed on Airbnb in 2017 but the listing has since been pulled. See if you can find these hidden gems in each state the next time you’re traveling across the country.
Kentucky: Mother Goose House
The Mother Goose House in Hazard, Kentucky has drawn the attention of drivers for more than 70 years now. The house started by George Stacy in 1935 was completed in 1940, complete with egg-shaped windows. The goose even has automobile lights for eyes. The story goes that Stacy used the skeleton of a goose he killed and ate for scale to start the project, a so-called sacrifice for the project. The exterior was built from sandstone found in creeks nearby and the roof is ribbed like a goose.
Louisiana: Abita Mystery House
The Abita Mystery House is more of a museum and a folk art warehouse. It has been featured on American Pickers and holds exhibits like a comb collection and the house of shards.
Maine: Goose Rocks
Plenty of people visit old lighthouses but how many get to spend a night in one? You can at Goose Rocks in Maine. The lighthouse can accommodate up to six and those who visit do so as a way to support the preservation of the lighthouse. Here are things you can’t do in every state thanks to these 50 dumb U.S. laws.
Maryland: Vanadu Art House
For the gearheads and junkyard pickers, Vanadu in Hyattsville, Maryland has got to be a pit stop for those on a summer road trip. Clarke Bedford has filled his house with antiques, sculptures pieced together from found materials, art cars and especially the Vanadu Ford, an Econoline Ford Van with dozens of metal pieces attached to the roof, front end and sides.
Massachusetts: The Paper House
The Paper House in Rockport, Massachusetts is exactly that, a house made from paper. It was built by Elis F. Stenman, a mechanical engineer who designed machines to make paper clips. He started building the home in 1922 and though the paper was first used as insulation, it expanded into furniture. Stenman used pressed paper and a lot of varnish for the walls and paper logs for the furniture.
Michigan: Honolulu House
In Michigan, a trip to Hawaii isn’t as far as it seems. The Honolulu House in Marshall, Michigan is reminiscent of Hawaii because of its architectural style, which is a mix of Italianate, Gothic Revival and Polynesian design. Abner Pratt, a U.S. Consul to Hawaii built the home in 1860, which resembles the ‘Iolani Palace. The house has a nine-bay porch and guest can tour it on the weekends for free. It has undergone restoration efforts to maintain its look. You’ll be also be amazed to see these beautiful sunsets in each state.
This home in Minnesota is made from polyurethane spray foam over a metal skeleton. There are few windows and even fewer angles to it. Architect Winslow Wedin set about building it in 1969 with a team of art students. The house sold in 2011 for just $170,000 and the owners have maintained it.
Mississippi: Mont Helena
The history of Mont Helena makes it a strange place. The home is built on a ceremonial Indian mound off of U.S. Hwy. 61 north of Vicksburg. George Harris built the house on land his wife Helen inherited. But as they prepared to move into the house, a fire destroyed it. Their furnishings were on their way by train at the time.
Helen had an interesting life. She grew up with privilege but as she was set to marry Henry Vick, he was killed a week before the wedding in a duel. She went on to help the Confederacy during the Civil War and soldiers wore hats with her initials in brass lettering. She eventually married George, a church Rector, and lived together for 49 years until George’s death in 1911. Helen died six years later.
A search for commercial property turned into a lot with a cave for Curt and Deborah Sleeper back in 2003. It took four years for the couple to build their offices and home. In the meantime, they lived in a big dehumidified tent inside the cave, which once served as a roller skating rink. The couple faced considerable hurdles with getting fresh air and meeting egress requirements, it’s all quite the story.
Montana: The Shire of Montana
Fans of The Hobbit ought to love two-story, 1,000-square-foot underground home in Montana. It’s available to rent for $345 a night and features a king size bed with a small guest bedroom. Think that’s cool? Have a look at the best natural swimming pools in the country.
Nebraska: The Captain Bailey House
The Captain Bailey House doesn’t appear unusual from the outside but it’s inside where the strangeness starts. Captain Bailey was a Civil War captain who lived in the house in Brownville, Nebraska until he was poisoned by a jealous neighbor, according to the legend. To this day people believe the doors in the house will not stay closed because the house is haunted by Captain Bailey.
Nevada: Check the Address
The pool possibility looks real neat but where’s it located? This home sits below ground in Las Vegas and is one of two underground houses on a 1.7-acre lot. The site does have an above-ground home for those accustomed to living on street level.
New Hampshire: Helmet House
The Helmet House drew the scorn of some architecture critics but for the group, Jersey Devil Design/Build, it was another project to get creative with design. The group of Steve Badanes, John Ringel and Jim Adamson approached architecture as DIYers. They came out of Princeton and set about creating unique architectural pieces, learning as they went. Their ventures included inflatable architecture for concerts, a football house, a snail house and the Helmet House. The Helmet House won the National Enquirer’s “Weird House” award and the New York Times called their work tiresome and gimmickry.
New Jersey: Luna Parc
Artist Ricky Boscarino uses this home as his studio and his residence in New Jersey. He opens it to the public throughout the year. He’s been at work on the home since 1989, which features sculptures throughout the yard. Inside, it’s a mashup of several styles and has a Pee-wee Herman’s Playhouse vibe to it.
New Mexico: The Spaceship House/The Bug House
Architect Bart Prince’s home in Albuquerque has gone by different names according to people who see it, each one has their own idea of what it resembles. Whatever name someone comes up with for it doesn’t seem to ever hit the mark on the home’s magnificence. Prince worked with another prominent architect, Bruce Goff, in Los Angeles for temn years. Next time you’re in New Mexico, check out the International Balloon Fiesta and these other bucket list ideas for every state.
New York: Bioscleave House
A house that is designed to extend life sounds like a pretty good deal. The 3,400-square-foot Bioscleave is on the market for a little less than $2.5 million. Arakawa and Madeline Gins designed the home, which makes people use their bodies in unanticipated ways. They say it helps maintain equilibrium and stimulate their immune systems. They built the home for $2 million on Long Island and its unusual design is said to create a sense of wonder for people. There are uneven floors, vibrant colors, windows at unexpected heights, all of which keep the senses more active.
North Carolina: Mary’s Gone Wild
Mary Paulsen has been taking what people have been getting rid of and making it into art in North Carolina. Her Visionary Folk Art Garden and Doll Village are part of her effort to help feed hungry children. She started building a village for her 6,000 dolls back in 1996 and has continued to create. Her ventures turned toward glass in 1998 and eventually a glass bottle house that is something to see. Maybe she’ll fill glass bottles with one of these 50 craft beers from each state.
North Dakota: Coghlan Castle
It’s the only castle in North Dakota, coming in at 4,000 square feet with a 12-foot diameter turret. It was built in the early 1900s by Maurice Coglan and there’s an effort to restore it. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008 and featured stained glass windows back in 1909. But after it stood vacant from the ’60s until after the turn of the century before the restoration effort began.
Ohio: The Mushroom House
Architect Terry Brown spent ten years working on this house in Cincinnati with 35 students from the University of Cincinnati College of Design. It’s a bit of an anthropomorphic house with windows that resemble eyes. Though you might not check into this house on your next trip to Ohio, you might want to browse these Airbnb rentals under $100 in Ohio and every other state.
When you’re the owner of a fishing reel company, what kind of home do you ask for? Well, Zebco founder R.D. Hull asked Tulsa architect Cecil Stanfield to build him a home shaped like a fishing reel back in 1970. It’s on the market in Catoosa, Oklahoma for $5 million. It includes a swimming pool covered by a 25-foot dome with 28 curved beams.
Oregon: Saul Zaik Treehouse
Saul Zaik designed this home for shipyard magnate Arnold Zidell back in 1970. The original idea was to have the home rotate but that didn’t pan out. Zidell wanted Zaik to use a 67-foot mast from the USS O’Hara and bolt the home to it. What Zaik came up with was a sunken living room and a house that provides a spectacular view. It’s available to rent on Airbnb, too, at least the lower level.
Pennsylvania: Haines Shoe House
Mahlon Haines built the shoe house back in 1948 to advertise for his boot business. He later rented out rooms in the five-story shoe, which has two bedrooms in the ankle and an ice cream shop in the instep. The new owners Jeff and Melanie Schmuck serve ice cream and sweets there now. Here are some more of the strangest roadside attractions in each state.
Rhode Island: Fleur-de-Lys Studio
The exterior gives the impression that some artwork might be found within it and so it goes the Fleur-de-Lys Studio did play an important role in the arts and crafts movement in the United States. The building certainly stood out from others at the time and the interior was known for its mismatched stylings. It’s still used as a space for artists.
South Carolina: The Eye of the Storm
A monolithic dome home will grab the eye, especially one on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina. This home measures around 3,500 square feet and has four levels. It’s built to handle hurricanes with openings on ground level, plus it is estimated to weigh 650 tons. It recently came available, too, for the asking price of $4.9 million. Maybe if you had one of the highest paying jobs in your state you could buy this home.
South Dakota: The Onion House
The onion-shaped dome gives this Delmont, South Dakota home its name but the house has a rich history. It was built in 1902 by Thomas Lenehan and later became a clinic. The upper level was turned into a hospital. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 and is in the midst of a fundraising effort to restore portions of the house destroyed by a tornado back in 2015.
Tennessee: The Spaceship House
A retractable door to reach your home sounds pretty cool and that’s what this home in Tennessee features. The Spaceship home sits a story off the ground but it’s not going anywhere. It was built in 1973 in Signal Mountain, Tennessee and has become a roadside attraction. Apparently, a previous owner used to trot out an inflatable alien during the holidays.
Texas: Steel House
Robert Bruno’s Steel House in Lubbock has stood out from the landscape since he started building the 110-ton home on his own more than 30 years ago. It remains unfinished since Bruno died in 2008. His family still owns the home that looks slightly like an AT-AT from Star Wars and paid tours can be arranged. You might also enjoy taking this quiz to see if you can identify all the states on the U.S. map.
Utah: The Real Up House
The Disney film Up served as inspiration for one family to purchase a replica of the house in the film. Bangerter Homes built the house after getting special permission from Disney. (They had to turn over plans for the house to Disney after they built it.) The builder used it for tours until the Hamblins came around and bought it for $400,000. Tours of the home have ended but the house continues to get used for photo shoots.
Vermont: The Tack House
Believe it or not but some of these great architectural masterpieces are available for people to rent, just like The Tack House in Warren, Vermont’s Prickly Mountain, a famed spot for architectural wonders. Ladders are used to reach different floors of the house, which was designed as David Sellers and Bill Reineke went about building houses on 450 acres. It’s made entirely of plywood and found objects.
Virginia: Replica White House
A fake White House, you don’t say? In Virginia, there is a six-bedroom, 10-bathroom Neoclassical house that bears a resemblance to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There’s no situation room, just a pool, game room, dance room, music room, and a pool—all of which sounds pretty relaxing. If you want to relax, take a trip to the most charming towns in each state.
West Virginia: The Coal House
Would you expect anything less from coal country? This became the first coal building built in West Virginia back in 1933. A second one was built in 1959. But this one, located in Williamson, West Virginia, used 65 tons of coal to build and it never served as a house. Instead, it was a bit of a publicity stunt.
Wisconsin: The House on the Rock
Once inside you can revel in the world of kitsch that Alex Jordan created. The house opened in 1960 and among the rooms it features is a carousel room that includes 269 carousel animals, 182 chandeliers, 20,000 lights, and no horses. Other rooms include the infinity room, which walks out from the rock for a spectacular view. For more fun, grab tickets to the best amusement parks in the country.
This Wyoming house became somewhat infamous after a 2011 investigative report from Reuters uncovered that it served as the registered address for more than 2,000 businesses. It turns out Wyoming is a pretty good place to do business because it’s one of the few states to allow owners to hide behind nominee officers and directors. Next, find out about 50 small towns known for the weirdest things.