The Millennium Rock House

An amazing house built entirely of stone in Horatio, Arkansas.

| October/November 1995

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    The south-facing home is divided into two apartments, with a workshop in the center. To the left is a red granite water fountain and two granite benches.
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    Vern's window design. The agates are cut into ¼"" slices, then sandwiched between two panes of ¼"" glass.
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    Vern's den.
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    Ray's Brazilian agate windows, which, according to Ray, ""make great curtains while still letting in a stunning light show.""
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    Bedroom floored with Algerian onyx.
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    Marble fireplace
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    A small portion of the ceiling, which is one foot thick at its thinnest point.
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    The 150-ton, 3,000-square-foot roof.
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Fireproof, insurance-proof, windproof, water damage-proof, hail-proof, mouse-proof, paint-proof, and self-air-conditioning," Ray Swanke boasted as he showed us his and his brother Vern's pride and joy, a 13-million-pound rock home, hand-built near the town of Horatio, AR. That's nearly 7,000 tons of backbreaking labor. Their fortress is framed by 360 linear feet of concrete walls, poured between frames made of ¾-inch exterior plywood, and faced with marble the brothers collected during five years of construction. From the marble floor tiles hand laid over five months to the marble and granite chimney, the house will be a thousand-year testament to the patience and care of the two brothers. As if to prove that particular point, a tornado tore a path of destruction to their doorstep a few years ago, and passed directly over the house without displacing a stone.


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