People dream a multitude of “what ifs”…a small percentage of people try to achieve those dreams. Most of those people find varying degrees of achievement, many find disappointment. Alex Jordan, the creator, founder, builder, and dreamer behind Wisconsin’s famous “House on the Rock” was a one-of-a-kind. Alex Jordan was an individual filled to overflowing with dreams, and he wasn’t content to have them only exist in the ether. He brought those ideas into this world so all other people could find enjoyment, awe, and inspiration in them.
“Alex Jordan, Architect of His Own Dream” is a straight forward biography of this singular man. What was remarkable to me wasn’t so much what Jordan achieved and built, but the sheer force of Jordan’s vision, the compulsion he felt to birth it, and the will power he flexed to make that happen. This man worked with well-thought-out plans, but most of those plans never went beyond small sketches and notes – all the “real” blueprints only existed in his mind. Through his forceful personality, his constant supervision of and engagement with his builders and artisans, and the support of those close to him, Jordan was able to pursue his ever-evolving vision for the fantasy-land that the House on the Rock became.
What impressed me too, was that while there were always new ideas coming to Alex, there were also ideas with him from the initial stages of the House. Included in the book is a poem describing the house that he wrote in the 1940s. In the poem, he describes the famous “Infinity Room”, and what it would be like. That attraction, the Infinity Room, wasn’t constructed until the early 1980s, but Jordan was already dreaming of it in the 1940s!
My take-away from this book is simple – the world is an amazing place, but in order to really understand that and to take it in, we have to ENGAGE with it. We have to make ourselves aware of the natural wonders that exist around us, and then take our own energy and ADD to that beauty. Walking through the House, it’s easy to be awed by it, to be overwhelmed by all the collections, mechanical wonders, intricate displays, and wonders of engineering. It’s easy to forget that it ALL exists because of one person’s dreams and their intense devotion to achieving that dream. It’s a reminder that we all can do that – if we strive hard enough.
“Alex Jordan, Architect of His Own Dream”, by Doug Moe, is available at the House on the Rock gift-shop
– – – – –
This spring, a friend and I journeyed out to Spring Green, WI, to see the House on the Rock. After walking through the buildings, and having a truly magical day, I had to know a bit more of this man’s story, and so bought the book.