Tuesday, April 28, 2009



Houston, Texas

I recently had an opportunity to visit the city of Houston, Texas and while I was there, I finally had the chance to visit, in person, that metropolitan area's fastest-growing tourist spot. No, it wasn't the Astrodome (now the site of Joel Osteen's church) or even the Johnson Space Center.

For people really in the know, it's the Houston "Beer Can House".

I first luckily stumbled across my knowledge of this venerable homestead one day while researching pictures of six packs on "Google Images". I needed the picture for the Pittsburgh Steelers famous "Six Pack Trophy" which you can now see pictured along the panel on the right. While searching through tons of pictures of beer; six packs, cans, cases and bottles, I thought it unusual to suddenly see a picture of a house mixed in with this melange. Upon looking closer, I noticed on the description that it was called the "Beer Can House".

I subsequently published this famous story, "New North Shore Neighborhood To Be Built From Beercans." with a relative Pittsburgh twist.

But after publishing this story, it left me with an empty feeling. I thirsted for even more knowledge. Much like Egyptian archaeologists, I had this burning desire to learn the secrets of the "Beer Can House". How was it built? How did they manage it without heavy machinery? How was a project of this size financed? Where did John Milkovisch, the owner and drinker of 39,000 beers, get the technological wherewithal to conceive of such a thing? Better yet, when was he ever sober enough to do it?

I had to get there, no matter what it took.

Above: The Sphinx is still something I need to see someday. But of the "Big Three, (Machu Picchu is number two) " I have fortunately seen the "Beer Can House" (now considered number three in the world).

While I have never been to Egypt to see the great Pyramids of Giza or climbed the Andes to rediscover the lost city of Machu Picchu, I imagined just how I would feel to see those marvels as I turned the corner from Memorial Drive onto Malone Street, the home of the "BCH" for short. There were no signs pointing the way. It was hidden, much like Machu Picchu was for centuries.

Above: Machu Picchu, the mountaintop city discovered in Peru. Believe it or not, there is a tie-in to the "Beer Can House". Immediately after reading this entire story, come back to this picture and see if you can figure it out for yourself.

Malone Street is an area near the Galleria District in Houston that has definitely turned "upscale". For example, the gelato shop near Malone sells one scoop of their homemade stuff for just $4.95, a bargain at any price, but I digress. I recommend the mango-raspberry, by the way.

Accompanied by my son, he himself a veteran college beer drinker and former Kappa Sigma frat brother, I could tell how excited he instinctively became as we approached this monument to mankind and his favorite beverage made with yeast and hops. We drove slowly down residential Malone Street, an area that has been transformed from single dwellings into massive apartment buildings, condos and townhouses...and there, in the middle of this urban reinvention serenely lies the "Beer Can House." It is otherworldly.

Undisturbed from its' original design, the "BCH" is quaint, novel, unusual, definitely unearthly and certainly not fitting into the present-day decor on Malone Street. When you first see it, you are immediately struck by two things: First, how could the "Beer Can House" have survived while all other construction from its' era is long gone? For that matter, how did it survive Hurricane Ike just last year? Second, how in God's name did one man drink all of this beer? 39,000 cans of beer is 1,625 cases! That's a lot of runs to the beer store for sure and a lot of trips to the "john" too! He's certainly a person to be admired, that's for sure.

The beer can house is a rather unremarkable structure, other than the fact that 39,000 beer cans adorn virtually every square inch of the exterior. In addition there is a beer bottle wall along the back of the property as a backdrop to the "beer garden" area as well as dazzling examples of alcohol-induced art that were undoubtedly inspired by the owner's non-stop binges.

Above: Sitting on an upscale Houston street, the "Beer Can House" is now dwarfed by apartment buildings and condos. All of the homes of its' era have already been razed for new development. Thankfully the "Beer Can House" is now protected, like the Pyramids.

One of the more amazing features of the "BCH." is that there are thousands of tops of beer cans that have been strung into wind chimes that run along the outside of the house. In addition, there is a chain link fence that upon closer inspection is also made up of beer can lids. The skill and craftsmanship that went into creating the "Beer Can House" could never have been done by humans, especially one human consuming so much beer. The answer as to who did it may be found by rounding up some of "the usual suspects".

For example, according to "Mapquest," Roswell, New Mexico, is only 720.81miles away from Houston's Malone Street. Is it so inconceivable to think that alien beings who traversed the universe to get here couldn't make it to the "Beer Can House" from Roswell? Even if they had to thumb to get there, I'm sure that it could have been done.

Above: "Mapquest" says that in a mere 10 hours, 46 minutes you can get to the "Beer Can House" from Groom Lake and "Area 51" near Roswell, New Mexico. Of course, it's much faster by spaceship.

Above: The front of the "Beer Can House". Notice the "Amen" at the top of the ladder reaching to the heavens, the moon and the stars. The bizarre work of an inebriated beer lover? Or a tribute to his friends from way up there?

Above: At first glance it looks like an ordinary chain-link fence. But in reality, it's been made out of beer can lids! Oh that clever John Milkovisch! But is this a fence or possibly some type of alien power grid?

Above: An example of a wall section of the "Beer can House". How John Milkovisch flattened these cans so that they could fit together so perfectly has had scientists baffled for years. The technology just didn't exist then or now!

Above: Part of the "Beer Bottle Wall" is actually a combination of bottles and cans. Made of enough beer containers to last a modest beer-drinker a lifetime, the wall represents but a small part of this overall complex...and tens of thousands of ounces of beer!

Above: The "garden" area of the "BCH." Call it "eclectic", "bizarre", "otherworldly", it all applies.

Above: Thousands of beer can tops make up "the mother of all wind chimes."..or were they some alien communications device? Did aliens have a hand in this? Consider: Hurricane Ike passed right overhead and did NO DAMAGE!!! There must have been a ton of racket though!

The other obvious clue that aliens were involved is the number of cans that were drank in the first place. John Milkovisch, the now-deceased home owner who supposedly drank all of this beer had to have had help drinking it, that's why I suspect that there was alien intervention. Once they tasted beer for the first time after their journey from Roswell following their crash, they obviously couldn't stop.

Going inside the structure, you find rows and rows of beer cans that have been lined up, some brands familiar, many others, not. Presumably these represent the favorite brands that were consumed by the normally-inebriated property owner and his "friends". In another room a simple television set out of the '60s shows the story of John Milkovisch and his wife on a continuous loop drinking beer. There are no other furnishings, sadly, remaining inside.

His wife was a small, church-going-looking woman. She didn't look like the beer swilling type at all. In watching the eerie footage of Milkovisch drinking beer, I could just imagine agent Mulder coming down the steps from the second floor or agent Skully finding something alien in the basement. You could just feel the alien presence, it was that overwhelming. I got the creeps and had to get out of there. I also became strangely thirsty. Was it a remnant of the alien influence that Milkovisch had to deal with for decades? Sadly and surprisingly, the "Beer Can House" sold no beer.

I must admit that initially I had a mistaken impression of what the "Beer Can House" really was all about. I thought it was a house that had somehow been built out of beer cans, much like the "Beer Bottle Temple" in Thailand that this publication coincidentally also discovered. But no, that's not the case. The "BCH." is rather a structure that has been completely adorned with beer cans that have been cut with a tinsnips or some alien beam and then flattened perfectly under enormous pressure. It's totally amazing, no human could have possibly done this. The technology far exceeds what a hung over John Milkovisch and his 80 pound wife would have been able to accomplish, just like the marvels at Giza and Machu Picchu. The amazing thing is how few people are aware of this masterpiece that now sits alone on an otherwise quiet, upscale, street in Houston, Texas.

John Milkovisch had a lot of help drinking this beer and creating such an incredible edifice...help that came, presumably, from somewhere else.
My own personal epiphany came as I was preparing to leave. Sitting alone on the right hand side of the property sat this unusual Milkovisch creation...a lawn ornament it was called. I knew better. But what was it? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. It looks eerily reminiscent of the monolithic structure built for apparently no reason by Richard Dreyfuss in the sci-fi classic, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"! Take a close look at these last two photos. Was Milkovisch being influenced by aliens or simply haunted by alcohol? Like the Pyramids and Machu Picchu, we may never know the answer, but just like these other great mysteries of this world, I think it's safe to say that John Milkovisch had a lot of help drinking this beer and creating such an unforgettable edifice...help that came, presumably, from "somewhere else."

Above: This Milkovisch "yard decoration" that's inlaid with multi-colored beer caps, looks very alien in appearance. Could it be a representation of the Roswell aliens' mothership? Note the pure perfection of the beer can wall behind it! Below, the monolithic image featured in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

Above: Richard Dreyfuss creates a little mess in "Close Encounters". Is this movie possibly based on the real-life experiences of John Milkovisch?

Above:...The Martians in "Mars Attacks" killed our entire Congress and read "Playboy" while transplanting Sarah Jessica Parker's head onto a chihuahua So why would it be such a reach to think that they could have drank beers with John Milkovisch too?

EPILOGUE: Face it, there are things in this world that we'll never understand. The "Beer Can House" certainly fits in that category. While this visit was certainly enlightening, I 'm sorry to report that I created more questions for myself than I answered by visiting it. Next time you feel like taxing your brain to its' very outermost limit, just pay a visit to 222 Malone Street...and bring something, anything, to drink with you. You'll need it by the time you're ready to leave.