America is a vast land full of both old and new discoveries. Learning about different cultures, new languages and visiting national landmarks makes for a memorable experience. People stumble upon something new every day that they never knew existed before. They could’ve found a new waterfall, a village or make a left turn onto a newly built street. When traveling to a new city, they could even discover the strangest building that’s ever been built.
Not all tall structures are meant for places of work, medical health or recreational activities. They’re not built all the same, either. Here are 10 of the weirdest buildings ever built and where tourists can find them.
10 The Goose Creek Tower
Perhaps nothing says strange like a house taken straight from a page in a Dr. Seuss book. The towering home, also known as the Goose Creek Tower, in Talkeetna (Alaska) stands at about 185 feet high, with 17 floors in total. It’s a major attraction for those who pass it by but sadly the house isn’t open for tours. Long-time architect Phillip Weidner, says his “house has been under construction since the late ’90s but will be fully renovated and functional hopefully soon.” He even plans to build rooms in the lower floors for his family to live in eventually, which sounds great on paper but not so much in terms of reality. The house is a house stacked atop of a series of houses. Anyone not seeing the problem with this?
9 The Bishop Castle
A house comprising of several floors and stacked pieces is comical, but to build a castle in Rye, Colorado is strange. Architect Jim Bishop had a dream in his youth, and he achieved it within a 60-year span, accomplishing more than his teachers and parents ever thought. What originally began as a plan to build a cabin grew into something bigger and bolder.
Bishop decided he wanted to build a castle, which is just about every child’s dream. His castle, named after his own surname, turned into an attraction that tourists have taken notice of. Bishop Castle features everything you would expect, including a “Grand Ballroom, height-defining towers, and bridges with scenic views ranging for about 100 miles.” Not to mention there’s a “dragon” somewhere guarding treasure. What a sight Bishop Castle must be!
8 The Dog Park Inn
This building doesn’t feature any fire-breathing reptiles but rather a beagle who gives the doghouse a whole other meaning. Literately, guests are invited to the first-ever hotel Inn that is modeled after a dog. Husband and wife artists, Francis and Dennis, are the creators of this odd masterpiece. Dennis was a self-taught chainsaw artist and had been carving wood for over 30 years. The couple together were so successful in selling hand-carved pieces that they invested the money into creating The Dog Park Inn. The question on everyone’s mind is if the mom-and-pop-shop run hotel allows dogs. The answer to that inquiry is a definite yes, but pet owners must call ahead to discuss details with the owners.
7 The Aqua Tower
While the Dog Park Inn is pretty impressive wood-carving work done by a couple, it doesn’t compare to the famous Aqua Tower. There’s no need to wonder the origin of its name, given the pic above. The Aqua Tower is Chicago, Illinois’ tallest building, having a total of 82 floors.
Given its unique architecture, the building houses a variety of business types such as retail offices, hotel rooms, and condos, all combined into one place. Additionally, it holds the record for having the biggest green roofs, which is great for environmentalists. Each floor is precisely crafted to achieve effective human interaction and sweeping scenic views of the city right from the guest’s terrace. It offers several amenities, such as a pool and fitness room, and several accommodations that make it great for guests. Visitors can even schedule a tour of the Aqua Tower and see why it’s the most talked about building in Illinois.
6 Bondurant’s Pharmacy
While the Aqua Tower’s design is unusual in nature, it isn’t displeasing to look at. The Bondurant’s Pharmacy in Lexington, Kentucky, however, was a bit confusing. After the founder, Joe Bondurant, returned from a trip to Las Vegas trip, he decided to design a Pharmacy bearing his name. The pharmacy originally had a mortar that resembled an KFC chicken bucket, with the matching pestle, but as the years passed, the facade of the 2-story building changed. Currently, it is a drive-thru liquor store that has been over-painted and modeled to appear as an Apple Martini—as if that makes things any better.
5 The American Visionary Art Museum
While the Bondurant’s Pharmacy has been repainted and modeled into the shape of an alcoholic drink, The American Visionary Art Museum is ever-changing. This proud Baltimore, Maryland, Museum has much to boost over. Everything from its mosaic exterior, colorful company bus and the unusual art pieces it showcases, screams “unique” for this museum.
The establishment even takes pride that it’s unlike most Art Museums, that all follow traditional doctrines of artistry. The main purpose for this museum is just as unique as its facade, as the volunteer curators accept works from outsider artists. The works displayed in each exhibition come from just about any person, like farmers, the homeless and even neurosurgeons!
4 The Ray And Maria Stata Center
One thing that can be said about The American Visionary Art Museum is that it played true to its mission. However, no one can tell from a glance that this Massachusetts, NY building is a research facility. The Ray and Maria Stata Center facility may be cartoonish looking but it is a professional establishment. Hard to believe that this research center even houses classrooms, an auditorium, fitness facilities, and a childcare center. The Ray and Maria Stata Center’s facade is made up of a combination of shiny metal and red brick, which are odd design choices in themselves. Wanting to stand out amongst the crowd of boring, symmetrical health centers, architect Frank O. Gehry had a vision. Unfortunately, it backfired, when a lawsuit was filed against Gehry, because of the “failure and negligence to the structure of the building.” Supposedly the dispute was resolved in 2007 but, it’s highly doubtful. This research facility should’ve checked this guy’s background before hiring him.
3 The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum
Renowned architecture Frank O. Gehry was the creator behind yet another masterpiece, this time the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum located in Minneapolis, MN. The museum’s design has received acclaim by onlookers, which isn’t hard to imagine since it is an establishment for art. Of course, any true art museum looks like coiled, shiny metal put in a blender.
Frederick R. Weisman, the founder of the University of Minnesota’s museum, was obviously pleased with the architect’s work. The building’s design may look non-traditional but that doesn’t detract from the museum’s purpose. The University President best described it in 1934 as “There is a need for new values to sustain the morale of individuals in the days ahead.” The Frederick R. Weisman Museum isn’t just an establishment to awe and gawk at from afar but to help people through these progressive and troubling, times.
2 The Longaberger Basket Building
Another work of art was the Longaberger Basket Building located in Newark, Ohio. Unfortunately, due to bank deficits and other hardships, this unique treasure has closed its doors for business. No longer producing pottery and baskets, it seemed that the 1997 company was done for good. That is until January 2018 rolled around, when Ohio developer Steve Coon saved the building from its fate. Supposedly the Ohio native was going to restore the Longaberger Basket to its glory days, but the developer turned out to be all talk. Then in April of this year, the building was back on the market again. This time around the realtors aren’t too picky on how interested parties choose to use the establishment. They can turn it into a hotel, a condo or even a conference center. With its intact, cherry-wood interior and 3,000 square foot atrium, there’s no doubt buyers will find something to do with Ohio’s biggest hand basket!
1 The Corn Palace
If there’s one thing this list has taught us is that every one of these outlandish buildings has a story to tell. The 1800’s Corn Palace was basically created to show off South Dakota’s healthy agriculture climate. Each year, thousands of tourists flood the city of Mitchell to visit the world’s first ever Palace made of corn. The building is made up of at least 13 color types of corn, including red, calico, black and now even green-colored rye! Who knew there were so many different colors rye could come in? This palace isn’t just a museum of the worlds healthiest corn, though, it’s a place for weddings, banquets and even a graduation arena for Mitchell High School and basketball tournaments for Dakota Wesleyan University.