The Beer Can House in Houston: A Local Folk Art Attraction

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

The Beer Can House in Houston, Texas

The Beer Can House in Houston, Texas

Folk Art at Its Best!

If you live in Houston, Texas or plan to visit, be sure to put the Beer Can House on your list of places to see. It is a folk art treasure! It was deemed to be the number one Houston landmark in 2010 by Click2Houston, which is one of our local television channels.

The Beer Can House at 222 Malone Street has been drawing hoards of visitors ever since John Milkovisch, the owner of the property, started making eccentric embellishments to 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, collapsing them, and storing them in his garage (which eventually became his workshop).

Beer Can House in Houston, Texas

Beer Can House in Houston, Texas

John Milkovisch

Milkovisch retired from the upholstery business for Southern Pacific Railroad and 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 in the beginning but had no idea just how far this man’s ideas would continue to blossom and evolve.

Sign on the Beer Can House says LIVE BY THE GOLDEN RULE.

Sign on the Beer Can House says LIVE BY THE GOLDEN RULE.

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 aluminum 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. The fence, mailbox, and sculptures in the yard (of every size and description) did not escape his attention. He was quite the craftsman and artist.

One can often hear the house prior to seeing it, as the wind chime garlands made out of can tops and pulls make a tinkling sound when the wind blows. This also offered additional shade for John and Mary Milkovisch when sitting on their front porch.

John Milkovisch devoted 20 years of his life to fashioning what is now known as the Beer Can House. Over 50,000 beer cans are reported to have been used in its creation.

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.

The Beer Can House in Houston, Texas

The Beer Can House in Houston, Texas

Touring the Beer Can House

As time evolved and 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.

In my husband's and my last visit to this unique folk art attraction, the Milkovisch’s grandson was there leading people through the house and yard and answering people’s queries about his grandparents.

  • The house is now open for weekend tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 5 PM, weather permitting. On major holidays, the house is closed.
  • Costs for touring the house and grounds include viewing a film inside of the house plus exhibits.
  • Adult tickets cost $5 per person and children under 12 have free admission.
  • For special group tours or private rentals, contact the Orange Foundation at 713-926-6368.

Many people merely drive by this eye-catching attraction and photograph it from the exterior, which is what we used to do with visitors to our city prior to knowing that it was open on weekends.

At the top of a ladder at the Beer Can House it says AMEN.

At the top of a ladder at the Beer Can House it says AMEN.

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 out 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.

Be sure and visit this attraction for some recycling ideas of your own. You just might create your own unique masterpiece!

Location of the Beer Can House in Houston, Texas


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 12, 2019:

Hi Patricia,

Yes, John Milkovisch must have been quite a character who brought smiles to many people's faces.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 11, 2019:

O yes...this is quite something. I did get to peek at it when I was in Houston. Putting the faucet in the sand at the beach----now you know he had quite the sense of humor. Thanks for sharing. Angels once again headed your way ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 16, 2019:

Hi Nithya,

I am happy to be able to show this local attraction to you via the Internet. Glad you liked learning about it.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 16, 2019:

The Beer Can House is fantastic and nature-friendly. I enjoyed reading about the house and seeing the photos, thank you for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 31, 2019:

Hi Ellen,

Unless one lives in a subdivision that has deed restrictions that are enforced, people are pretty much free to do what they want since there are no citywide deed restrictions in place in Houston. That makes for some quirky edifices such as the Beer Can House.

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on August 30, 2019:

I am stunned that someone in his neighborhood didn't protest and find some sort of ordinance to stop this. Luckily, he was able to do this and leave it for posterity.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 07, 2019:

Hi Aurelio,

Yes, for years we were only able to view the Beer Can House from the street, but now people can see the interior, backyard and what is in the garage. It is well worth the price of admission.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 06, 2019:

I actually saw a little piece about this on TV but didn't realize it was now open for tours. Putting this on the bucket list then.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2019:

Hi Roberta,

You are undoubtedly correct. I am sure that at least some of his neighbors were not thrilled with his house project. Just the extra traffic on that street would have caused consternation for some because it definitely draws attention to that area.

RTalloni on March 30, 2019:

One has to admire the creativity of this project, but his neighbors really get the prize for their patience with it! His attitude of something should be done with everything is to be admired.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 30, 2019:

Hi Dale,

I can understand your being at a loss for words when it comes to the Beer Can House. What you related about the boat race and there being no water is even more interesting! That would be fun to watch!

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on March 29, 2019:

I am honestly at a loss for words with this house. On one hand I like the idea but on the other I think it's a little wacky. Still, in my homeland, in the Northern Territory, they make pretend boats out of whatever they can find and have a boat race down the river. A dry river. With no water at all. They just pick up their 'boats' and carry them, Flintstone's style. It's an odd world we live in, aint it?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 01, 2018:

Hi Poppy,

A non-profit entity now owns and operates the Beer Can House so I am not sure that his grandchildren benefit from it except to say that the legacy of his inventiveness and the fact of his creating such an attraction will always be with them. Glad that you enjoyed learning about John Milkovisch.

Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on November 30, 2018:

What a wonderful hobby that left a legacy to his grandchildren. He unknowingly started a business for them. How nice that they will always have that as a monument to John, who sounds like a very interesting character indeed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 16, 2018:

Hi Lorelei,

The Beer Can House certainly draws interest from people because of how different it is. I would love to see photos of that house built from formaldehyde bottles! That must be an amazing site!

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on October 16, 2018:

Wow indeed. It never ceases to amaze me the creativity (or compulsions) of some individuals. Near where I live there is a house built from vintage formaldehyde bottles. I have to say that these creations are beautiful in their very own unique way.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 19, 2018:

Hi Ethel,

The Beer Can House is certainly out of the norm but certainly attracts visitors.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on August 18, 2018:

Crazy but I like it

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2018:

Hi Natalie,

Yes, we did tour the inside of the house. There are some rare beer cans on shelving in the house along with other items of interest. I think that Mr. Milkovisch's efforts on transforming the outside of his house and yard took many years to complete. Apparently, his garage was his storehouse and he flattened most of the cans which would have taken up less space until he started using them.

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on August 11, 2018:

What an interesting article and an interesting house! I can't imagine how anyone could have collected that many beer cans or where he stored them before beginning to build. Did you get to see the inside of it? I'm curious what it looks like. Thanks for writing this.

Robert Sacchi on July 30, 2018:

That's true.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 30, 2018:

Hi Robert,

It would indeed be interesting but I doubt that it would pass muster in most home owners associations agreed upon rules. That is also why places like the Beer Can House draw interested viewers. It is unique.

Robert Sacchi on July 29, 2018:

It would be tempting to ask for a variance to do something like that just to see the reaction.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 29, 2018:

Hi Robert,

Home owners associations definitely have set rules aimed to primarily protect home values and keep more of a consistent appearance in the neighborhoods if they are operated well. A Beer Can House would not meet those standards in most cases. That is true.

Robert Sacchi on July 29, 2018:

The advantages and disadvantages of a HOA. Disadvantage - you never get anything that resembles art in your neighborhood. Advantage - you don't find yourself living next to a dump.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 29, 2018:

Hi Robert,

Houston has no zoning laws. Unless a person lives in a subdivision where there is a home owner's association and rules regarding what is and is not allowed, this can happen and often does. Given the part of town where the Beer Can House is located there was undoubtedly no HOA in place when this happened.

Robert Sacchi on July 28, 2018:

I don't think an HOA would allow this to happen these days.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 22, 2018:

Hi Cynthia,

So glad to know that you enjoyed learning about the beer can house located in Houston. That video at the end is a good one! Thanks for your comment.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on July 22, 2018:

Hilarious and amazing! I love this eccentric art and enjoyed this article and the video you added to it, Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 19, 2018:

Hi Audrey,

We have endless things to do and see in Houston. I have now lived here most of my life and have yet to discover them all. John Milkovisch certainly created a great local folk art attraction! Happy to be able to show it to you. :)

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on July 18, 2018:

Good for you John! This beer house is really something I can't imagine the patience it must have taken to construct this house. Thank you for the wonderful photos. My goodness, I had no idea there is so much to see in Houston.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 12, 2018:

Hi Patricia,

That would indeed have been funny to see Mr. Milkovisch on the beach with a faucet stuck into the sand pretending that water could have come out of it. He must have had a great sense of humor! Thanks for the visit and wishes of angels. Hope they are surrounding you today.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 12, 2018:

Mr. M sounds like he was quite a character...how funny it would be to see folks trying to get some water at the beach!!! This really is quite something...who would have thought of doing that....take care of you my friend. Angels once again are headed your way ps.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2018:

Hi Barbara,

Yes I would have to agree that John Milkovisch certainly did not march to just anybody's drummer. He did his own thing when creating his beer can house.

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on July 05, 2018:

Well isn't this cool! He's creative and inventive, great traits to separate you out from the crowd that's for sure!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 04, 2018:

Hi C E Clark,

I am unaware that any comments have been eliminated from this post. Perhaps you are thinking of something other than the Beer Can House. Houston has its share of folk art oddities that can be fun to visit.

C E Clark from North Texas on July 04, 2018:

Definitely worth seeing as it's so unusual and imaginative. Know I've read and commented on this previously, but it looks like all but a very few of the comments have been removed with no means to access them. I always like to read the comments on an article too and I miss the ones that had to have been on here.

It seems that HubPages has no end of ideas for taking things away from writers who help pay their salaries even if our own are too minimal to mention. I used to have 15 accolades under my name and now there are only 8. I guess the ones taken away weren't worth much to begin with if HP doesn't deem them worth leaving.

It's like deleting articles that aren't performing well. All the views those articles received are wiped off the record as if they never happened. They are removed from the total number of views a writer's work has received and HP is basically saying they never happened.

There are an awful lot of negatives on this site. As a Psych major I've learned that the carrot usually achieves more than the stick, but I guess the stick is more satisfying to the one who wields it.

This is an excellent an interesting article and I enjoyed revisiting it!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2018:

Hi manatita,

The video truly portrays this beer can house in a manner that still photos cannot capture. Glad to know that you watched it. John Milkovisch did leave a lasting gift to Houston as well as visitors to our city. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2018:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

He drank a good bit of it but I never heard that he had a problem. It took him many years to accumulate all of those beer cans. He probably had neighbors and friends join him and I am sure all of those cans would have also been saved for what turned into a monumental project.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 26, 2018:

Hi Linda,

If your travels ever take you to Houston you will now know where to go to see this unusual attraction. There certainly was creativity involved in fashioning this house and yard.

manatita44 from london on June 26, 2018:

Well Peggy.

This man was an eccentric, all right. Ingenious and yes, brought many tourists, but he was a bit like you and I, in the sense that the passion and sense of purpose never left him.

I think he was a genius! Born for this purpose; with tremendous innovative skills. The video is amazing! A great gift he left to Houston. Extremely cool!

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 25, 2018:

Did he personally drink all of that beer? Makes you wonder whether he had a problem.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 25, 2018:

I admire the creativity and dedication involved in decorating the house. I enjoyed looking at your photos and reading the description. If I'm ever in Houston, it would be fun to visit the house in person.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 25, 2018:

Hi Gerry,

That is what I would have voted with regard to the Beer Can House. It definitely is a draw for people once they know about it.

Gerry Glenn Jones from Somerville, Tennessee on June 25, 2018:

Peggy, I had never heard of the house until I read your article. I must say that if I get back to Houston, I'll check it out. I enjoyed the article and voted in the poll. I voted, whether it is ingenious or crazy I think that it makes a great tourist attraction.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 25, 2018:

Hello ptosis,

Those wind chimes made out of parts of the beer cans definitely make a sound when the wind is blowing.

ptosis from Arizona on June 24, 2018:

Makes a lot of noise in the wind, probably keeps all the birds away.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 24, 2018:

Hi Bill,

I agree with you. The Beer Can House is quirky but also "American" in nature. Glad you liked reading about this.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 24, 2018:

Hi Jackie,

This definitely rates the word "wacky" but the Beer Can House is fun and definitely draws interested parties in viewing it.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 24, 2018:

As quirky as this is, there is something terribly charming and it seems about as "American" as you are ever likely to see.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on June 24, 2018:

I bet he had a great time collecting! Running a Nik Nak store years ago I know how much things like this interest people. The wackier the better usually. Don't think I would want one for myself but would love to see this close up!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 24, 2018:

Hello Alexander James Guckenberger,

If you get to visit Houston you will now know about one of more unusual folk art attractions. Glad to know you liked learning about this.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 24, 2018:

Hi Mary,

I am sure some of his neighbors thought that he was a bit crazy when he started plastering his house with flattened beer cans. It has now become quite the folk art attraction in our city. He certainly did a nice recycling job!

Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on June 24, 2018:

This is fascinating! I hope I am in Texas someday soon!!!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 24, 2018:

What a great idea. He brought together everything he loves and made a fascinating work of art that now everyone can enjoy.

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