There’s an old saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Two spots I recently visited in Texas take that statement even further to a level of artistry.
I began my Texas jaunt in Houston’s West End where in the midst of 1930’s style bungalows and condo developments sits a glistening, silvery house that’s covered in as many as 50,000 beer cans. The first sight of the Beer Can House can make drivers stop their cars in the middle of Malone Street or drive back around the block several times.
The home at 222 Malone began as the humble abode of John Milkovisch and his family in the ‘40s. Milkovisch, an upholsterer for the Southern Pacific Railroad, began collecting beer cans while he was covering the yard in concrete with inlaid marbles and stones. He apparently grew tired of mowing the grass. Once the yard was complete, he began a 20-year project that put his growing beer can collection to good use on the house.
“He didn’t believe in throwing anything away. He was way ahead of his time in that respect,” says Stephen Bridges, who handles PR for the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, which now owns and operates tours at the Beer Can House.
As Milkovisch began affixing sheets of flattened aluminum beer cans to his house, it coincided with a drop in his air conditioning bills. Not to be wasteful of any part of the cans, he found a use for the tops, creating what Bridges calls “pop top garlands.” These still line the house...