March 18, 2005
Beer Can House revival

Via Lasso and blogHOUSTON, the famous Beer Can House is about to get a facelift.

Efforts to restore Milkovisch's Beer Can House, which has suffered years of gradual decline, have moved into high gear with a $125,000 Houston Endowment grant to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, which acquired the house in November 2001. "The Beer Can House represents the sort of idiosyncratic individualism that Houstonians and Texans' pride themselves on," Emily Todd, the endowment's grant officer, said Wednesday.

Orange Show Executive Director Susanne Theis said repair and restoration of the house at 222 Malone west of downtown should be complete by late next year. The house then will be open for tours.


Much of the restoration will be performed by volunteers, although final installation of components likely will be handled by professional carpenters. In some cases, Theis said, brewers might be asked to reproduce the discontinued cans Milkovisch used in his project. Already, can collectors have donated vintage cans to the effort.

I love that there is such a thing as a "can collector" almost as much as I love the concept of a "vintage can". Truly, we all owe a vast debt of gratitude to eBay.

One more thing:

Changes in the neighborhood also have contributed to the site's degradation, Theis said.

Once a working-class enclave of single-family homes, the neighborhood in recent years has experienced rampant redevelopment. The Beer Can House now is flanked by multistory townhomes, one of which was erected about three feet from the property line.

With new development blocking sunlight, a once-sparkling fence studded with colored glass marbles has gone dull. Theis said plans call for installation of lighting to again illuminate the fence. Plans also call for a vine-covered trellis at the building's rear to suggest the greenery of trees that have been removed as adjoining property was developed.

I'll give you three guesses who built all those sunlight-blocking townhomes around 222 Malone.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 18, 2005 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack

I've always wondered what happened to all of the "Billy Beer" cans that were leftover from the '70s. :-)

Posted by: William Hughes on March 18, 2005 2:58 PM

There were beer can collectors and vintage cans long before the internet arrived. I had two friends who worked at different beer can shops after high school in St. Louis in the 1970's. Many a night we'd spend drinking the beer out of cases of Hop-N-Gator, Mamba, and other exotic beer cans. [You open them from the bottom so that they appear intact for display.] The stores had rows and rows of empty cans on shelves, floor to ceiling, and a fairly steady clientele similar to the people who prowl vinyl stores today.

I can still recall the night Dave's boss brought us back three cases of Russian beer that had to be emptied, immediately. We emptied them into buckets (authentic 1904 World's Fair beer pails), sloshed down to the park carrying three or four pails apiece, wound up giving the pails to the arresting officer as a bribe to let us out of a D&D charge (which he did).

Posted by: phein on March 19, 2005 1:46 PM

Boing Boing also notes the restoration:

Posted by: B. K. Oxley (binkley) on March 19, 2005 2:46 PM