A better Beer Can house

$125,000 grant speeds efforts to restore Houston landmark

Mar 21, 2005 - An art endowment has save Houston's famed Beer Can House.


Beer-lover John Milkovisch attached the cans to his house over a 20-year period as an alternative to more traditional home repair. He also made beer can fences and garlands to hang from his roof. His home was a well knownfolk-art site when he died in 1988 at 75, but since fell into disrepair. Now, with a $125,000 Houston Endowment grant to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, efforts to restore the home are on the fast track.

The house will be open for tours after repair and restoration is complete, said Susanne Theis, executive director of the Orange Show, which bought the house in 2001.

"The Beer Can House represents the sort of idiosyncratic individualism that Houstonians and Texans pride themselves on," said Emily Todd, the endowment's grant officer.

The Orange Show is looking for an architect to trace the home's evolution so it can be represented at its artistic peak. The home will then be cleaned, repaired and restored. An arch of beer-can tops and bottoms once reached across the driveway and there once was a curtain of pop tops on the south side of the home.

The house is generally in good repair, but steel parts of the structure have rusted and aluminum parts have oxidized.

Can collectors have already donated vintage cans to help in the restoration, and brewers may be asked to reproduce discontinued cans.