Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A View Askew

Slanted houses, Tilted houses, Gravity houses, Anti-gravity houses, Mystery Spots, they have many names. Up until a few years ago, I was only familiar with one in Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri called "Grandfather's Mansion".  My family went to Silver Dollar City yearly starting in 1974 and it was always one of my favorite attractions, especially since I was scared of the roller coaster there, "Fire in the Hole" (it's a really, really tame roller coaster.  Okay, I was a big chicken).

Among the brochures I found at a recent sale was this postcard from Silver Dollar City.

  Leanin' Lil's Broom at Slantin' Sam's Old Miners Shack (is that enough apostrophes or what???)




I'd never heard of "Slantin' Sam's Old Miners Shack", but upon doing some research, I found it was the original incarnation of what is now "Grandfather's Mansion".

Slantin' Sam's Old Miners Shack/Grandfather's Mansion.  Silver Dollar City, Brason, Missouri

Opened 1960, still in operation.

Image courtesy fuzzy64.livejournal.com

 Image courtesy fuzzy64.livejournal.com

Image courtesy sdcfans.com

In another brochure (which I previously posted) from the same find as the above postcard was a similar attraction at the Clarksville, Missouri Skylift called The Mystery House.

The Mystery House. Clarksville, Missouri

Opened ?, Closed ?

The Mystery House. Clarksville, Missouri

Image courtesy eBay

Image courtesy eBay

I also previously posted these brochures from another find last year.


The Mystery of the Magnetic House. Cascade, Colorado

Opened ?, Closed ?




The Haunted Shack. Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, California

Opened 1954, closed 2000.



The Haunted Shack Knott's Berry Farm

The Haunted Shack Knott's Berry Farm

Those finds combined with a recent post over at the Papergreat blog made me start wondering how many of these crazy lopsided tourist traps existed.  There's a great write-up on the history of these attractions at Daffy Klub including some of the original design plans.  That site and a lot of Googling lead to the following attractions. Trust me, I had no idea how big this post would balloon to by the time I was done.  It left my head spinning almost as if I'd toured every one.

You'll notice, many of them featured the same phenomena such as balls rolling or water running uphill, precariously balanced chairs for you to sit in, ledges to stand on, bars to swing from and gravity-defying brooms.  Get your balance and let's dive in.


 Confusion Hill Gravity House, Pearcy, California. 

Opened 1949, still in business.

Image courtesy confusionhill.com

 Image courtesy tripavisor.com


Mystery Spot. Santa Cruz, California

Opened 1941, still in operation.

Image courtesy dafe.org
Text reads, "Demonstrating suspended and supported object. 'Mystery Spot' Santa Cruz, Calif"

Demonstrating visable [sic] difference of height

 Image courtesy mysteryspot.com

 Image courtesy mysteryspot.com

 Image courtesy mysteryspot.com

Wonder Spot. Lake Delton, Wisconsin

Opened 1949, closed 2006

Image courtesy usatoday.com

Image courtesy Daily Mail

 Image courtesy Daily Mail

Image courtesy Daily Mail

Image courtesy Daily Mail


Mystery Ridge. East Tawas, Michigan

Opened ?, Closed 1960's.






Mystery Hill. Irish Hills, Michigan

Opened 1953, still in operation.





Casa Magnetica, Six Flags over Texas, Arlington, Texas

Opened 1962, Closed 2011

Image courtesy themeparkinsider.com

Image courtesy parktimes.com

Image courtesy parktimes.com



The Mystery Shack, Calico Ghost Town. Yermo, California

Opened ?, still in operation.

Image courtesy socaldailyphoto

Image courtesy flickriver.com

Image courtesy pinterest

Image courtesy tripadvisor.com


The Mystery Spot. St. Ignace, Michigan

Opened 1953, still in operation.

Their brochure is a pretty bland.  No pictures.


Image courtesy dafe.org

Image courtesy cardcow.com

Image courtesy cardcow.com


Mystery Shack. Frontier City, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Opened ?, closed (burned down) 1960's.

Image courtesy Amazon.com

Some sites on the internet confuse this location with The Mystery Shack in Calico Ghost Town.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find any pictures of the actual illusions.


Mystery House St. Augustine, Florida

Opened 1950's, closed 1960's.

Image courtesy papergreat blog

Image courtesy papergreat blog

Image courtesy staugustine.com


Oregon Vortex House/House of Mystery, Gold Hill, Oregon

Opened 1930, still in operation

Image courtesy bakerwrites.com

Image courtesy mysterycasebook.com


House of Mystery. Haines, Florida

Opened ?, closed ?

Image courtesy lostparks.com

Image courtesy floridamemory.com


Uncanny Canyon. Crater Lake, Oregon

Opened 1950's, closed (flooded by reservoir) 1970's

Image courtesy shorpy.com

Image courtesy Sandlotscience.com



Cosmos Mystery Area. Rapid City, South Dakota

Opened 1953, still in operation

Image courtesy tripadvisor.com

Image courtesy pinterest

Image courtesy mentalfloss.com



Mystery Hole. Ansted, West Virginia

Opened 1973, still in operation

Image courtesy mysteryhole.com

Image courtesy aviewoftheworld.com

Image courtesy mysteryhole.com

Anti-Gravity House. Gulfport, Mississippi

Opened? Closed?

I would be remiss if I didn't mention "The Tiltmore Hotel", also known as "Angle Tangle" and "Funn Family Place" at Six Flags Over Mid-America in Eureka, Missouri.  I visited this attraction back in 1976.  I remember noting its similarities to "Grandfather's Mansion" at Silver Dollar City, but I don't remember any details.  It opened in 1971 and closed in 1982.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find a single picture of it.

Tilt houses date back to 1904 when Arthur B. Griffin filed his patent for what he called a "Trick House".  His patent details his trick house as featuring a sloping floor with parallel ceiling and perpendicular walls, making everything appear to be square and level despite the fact that they aren't.

Due to insurance costs, risk of injury and inability to meet ADA standards, tilt houses are a vanishing attraction.

7 comments:

  1. i see bumper stickers for the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, CA all the time around here. not sure if the Winchester Mystery House is one or not, since i haven't been there, but i see bumper stickers for that a lot around here, too: http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/

    i have NEVER even heard of "Yermo, Calif." but it's apparently in the Mojave, so that's probably why. don't get down there very often. : )

    i had no idea these were so prevalent, but it makes sense when they are put in the context of wholesome regional tourist fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Winchester House may be the original tilted house, but it wasn't originally intended to be. It started out as a normal Victorian home of the Winchester family, but was added to by the widow of Oliver Winchester who did so under the advisement of a medium who told her the spirits of all the people killed by the Winchester rifle were angry and needed appeasement. The house was under construction 24 hours a day until her death.

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    2. yeah, she was definitely bonkers.

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    3. had to come all the way back here to post this relevant thing: Helen Mirren is making a movie about the Winchester Mystery House (!!): http://www.avclub.com/article/helen-mirren-making-movie-about-winchester-mystery-236812

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    4. >Helen Mirren is making a movie about the Winchester Mystery House
      Interesting. I'll watch it!

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  2. Thanks for the post, I love this stuff! There was one somewhere in New England that I visited a long time ago when I was a kid. Have no idea where it was though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Dex, I had a good time writing it. I know Chris over at papergreat blog remembers one in New Jersey, but couldn't find any information. I will continue looking for more tilt houses and update as I find them.

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