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More Unusual Buildings
Saturday, August 30, 2014

Last month, we showed you some bizarre and unorthodox buildings that aren't just part of a nursery rhyme or in a child's imagination. Well this month we're at it again with more wacky buildings that actually exist across the United States. Sit back, because this is going to be a wild adventure into the architecture world.

Haines Shoe House
Many children and adults alike remember the nursery rhyme 'There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.' Well, the Haines Shoe House in Hallam, Pennsylvania, is the embodiment of that rhyme. The shoe house was built in 1948 by none other than shoe salesman Mahlon Haines. Haines modeled the house after a work boot and created the house as a form of advertisement for his sales.

The Haines Shoe House is five stories tall, which measure in at roughly 25 feet tall. Now open to tours for visitor, Haines initially had lived in the house himself before having people rent the home to stay in. Everyone who stayed in the home received a free pair of shoes upon leaving the house of the same name. For added fun, when taking a tour of this whimsical house, there is an ice cream shop located in the instep of the shoe. And don't forget that Haines built shoe-shaped dog house to go with this large feat!

Mushroom House
Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Cincinnati, the Mushroom House is a well-known landmark in the city. The late Terry Brown built the house over a 10-year period from 1992 to 2006. Brown, coincidentally, was a professor of architecture and interior design at University of Cincinnati. Brown lived in the Mushroom House until his death in 2008.

What makes this house unorthodox is just about everything about it. The house was originally a bungalow until Brown began his work on it. Now, the house is over 1,200 square feet with its architecture and design having been done by Brown and his students. Stained-glass windows, intricate ceilings, wood designs, ceramic tiles and, of course, the siding that resembles the under part of a mushroom, all are parts of this recognizable home.

The Brown Derby
While this famous eatery isn't necessarily as unusual as the other two buildings included in this post, it is famous nonetheless. A prime example of novelty architecture, the original Brown Derby, located in Los Angeles, was shaped like - you guessed it! - a derby hat. The original restaurant was opened in 1926 during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Playwright Wilson Mizner was the manager and co-owner who opened the iconic restaurant.

To set the building apart from other restaurants in the area (since Los Angeles is a busy metropolis), it was designed like a derby hat to catch people's eyes when walking or driving by and to have them stop in. Gaining notoriety, a second Brown Derby opened in 1929, which came to be the more prominent location on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. This second Brown Derby became the place for stars to flock to. The Hollywood and Vine location became the more frequented location, even though it had a Spanish-style façade rather than being shaped like a derby hat.

There are houses, restaurants, museums and more that have an unconventional design to them across the U.S.  Whether the design of the building is meant to coincide with the use of the building, or someone just wanted to be bold, wacky buildings and other forms of architecture pop up in numerous spots across the country that weren't just a part of someone's imagination.

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