Monday, October 24, 2011
On the way home from Sparks, NV, we passed this very unusual house. Off the freeway we go to explore. I did a little research of how to get there. I found out that the home was fenced in, but you could still walk around the outer grounds area. When we got there, we were walking around, and here comes this guy over to me. I noticed that he had been working on a travel trailer that was near the property. Well one thing led to another, and we struck up a conversation. (Thanks Dad for the social skills!) I love talking with new people, finding out what their story is. Turns out that he is now the care taker of this place. He is a good friend of Frank's son. (Frank is the man who built this monument/home.) He told me a little about the builder, and what vandals had done in the past, and that the son had prayed and a man came and visited the property and sent him a $20,000 check to start restoration of the home. Then he says to me, "If you would like, I could unlock the gate for you and you can walk around a little closer." Wow I am thinking, that would be great!
Thunder Mountain, was built by Frank Dean Van Zant. Sounds like he was an ex methodist minister turned Indian Cheif who called himself Cheif Rolling Thunder Mountain. The home started out as a travel trailer, then he built around it. There are walls around walls. As we looked through one of the windows, we just saw another wall with various sculptures and rambling writing. The windows are windows out of vehicles. The walls mostly have glass bottles in them. Lots of concrete sculptures. Very imaginative. Turns out he was artist of the year in 1983, I think. Would have been interesting to go inside of this place.
I emailed some pictures to my family, and I got this response from my nephew JR, "I just thought that it was funny that both Lori and I would stop at the same weird house in the middle of nowhere!!!" I thought that was so funny, that JR and I would actually find the same place!! I love Art Houses!