The Beer Can House, a Local Houston Attraction
Folk Art at its Best!
If you love folk art and either live in Houston, Texas or plan to visit, put this address of the Beer Can House on your list of places to visit. It is a Houston treasure!
The Beer Can House at 222 Malone Street has been drawing hoards of visitors ever since John Milkovisch, the owner of the property, started his eccentric embellishments of his property in what used to be a middle class neighborhood.
Suffice it to say that John liked his beer. He started collecting the empties of his six pack a day personal consumption and collapsing them and storing them in his garage.
He was retired from the upholstery business for Southern Pacific and he decided that mowing the grass and painting his house for regular maintenance was not something he enjoyed doing.
So his creativity started with getting rid of his grass by putting down concrete and artistically placing thousands of marbles, stones and other collected and “found” materials into the concrete for aesthetic reasons. This even included utilizing things like doorknobs!
His neighbors were probably amused but had no idea just how far this man’s ideas would continue to blossom and evolve.
Quite the eccentric man and possessed of a great sense of humor, it was reported that when he would go to the beach in Galveston, he would put a pipe fitted with a faucet into the sand and sit nearby eating his picnic lunch. He would lie in wait for visitors to try to get some water from the tap!
Mr. Milkovisch started to overlay the boards of the house with flattened beer cans of every brand and description.
It was a colorful mix of whatever happened to be on sale in the grocery stores. He did mix in a few soda cans for good measure, but the vast majority of his cans came from recycled beer cans.
He started from the bottom up and his wife kept admonishing him to stop, but stop he did not. Eventually the entire house was covered with beer cans and the fence, mailbox and sculptures in the yard of every size and description did not escape his attention.
One can often “hear” the house prior to seeing it as the wind chimes made out of can tops and pulls make a tinkling sound when the wind blows. This also functioned as offering additional shade for the Milkovisch’s when sitting on their front porch.
The inside of the house was left to Mary Milkovisch to decorate. Apparently she liked it feminine and filled with bric-a-brac. It must have been quite a contrast between the outside of the house and the inside!
As time evolved, and as word of this folk art house spread, more and more people started driving by and photographing the house. When the Milkovisch’s still lived there, they took this activity in good stride as did the neighbors.
Since the owners are now both deceased, Houston’s Orange Show Foundation purchased the Beer Can House with the intent of preserving this folk art monument. They intend to maintain the house in as close to its original shape as possible.
The house is now open for weekend tours and a donation box is available for people who wish to support the effort of maintenance of this unique site for future tourists who seek out unique sights such as this.
When my husband and I were visiting the last time, the grandson of the Milkovisch’s was there leading people through the house and yard and answering people’s queries about his grandparents.
Recycling to the “Nth” degree!
John Milkovisch took recycling to a whole new level.
As you now know, he used every type of object besides his beer cans to create this now famous Beer Can House in Houston.
We get the biggest kick of our showing our visitors this site.
Of all the wonderful things in and around Houston, Texas to enjoy and photograph, without exception…..the Beer Can House always goes home with them as a photographic memory of their trip here.
Now, for you beer lovers out there…..do you think that you can top John Milkovisch’s recycling efforts?
Be sure and visit the Beer Can House in Houston, Texas for some recycling ideas of your own. You just might create your own unique treasure!
You can find the Beer Can House here: