Weird Universe

Buildings and Other Structures

Great-Grandpa Is Buried Where?

The GM factory in Detroit contains an old Jewish Cemetery. When GM acquired the land they agreed to leave the cemetery,which has had no burials since the '40s, intact. The company allows visitors just twice a year due to security concerns.

Pole in the Road

This image comes from Bulgaria. The story behind it, as far as I can figure out from the Bulgarian site (with help from Google Translate), is that the pole can be found on a road in the municipality of Tran. The road was recently expanded, but since the pole was owned by the electrical company, the municipality didn't have the right to remove it. So they simply poured the road around it. However, the municipality notes that they have now filed the necessary paperwork to remove the pole, and they hope all the documents will be processed promptly.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue May 05, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Government, Regulations

The More Things Change..

...The more they stay the same. A sinkhole developed on a city street in Dublin. The reason being there was a 19th century tunnel running between what was then the building housing Parliament and a brothel. Politicians and sex scandals are timeless.
Posted By: patty | Date: Thu Apr 02, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Politics, Nineteenth Century, Sex

Three Alarm Fire At Fire Extinguisher Factory

Its like rain on your wedding day. A fire at the fire extinguisher factory, isn't it ironic.

Hotel Crane

This crane had become an eye sore that seemed unlikely to be renovated. Now it is a successful hotel of luxury suites.
Posted By: patty | Date: Fri Jan 09, 2015 | Comments (3)
Category: Architecture, Buildings and Other Structures

Octagon Houses


For a brief time in the USA, eight-sided houses were a thing. Based on the crackpot theories of one fellow.

The example above can be found in my native Rhode Island. I used to marvel at it all the time when I was younger.

Read the history here.

Order a book here.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Oct 20, 2014 | Comments (10)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Eccentrics, Nineteenth Century

Chinese House in the Middle of a Road

Homeowner Luo Baogen, who lives in Wenling, China, refused to sell his house to allow the government to build a road through where it stood, so the government built the road anyway, leaving the house circled by tarmac. []

But recently Luo Baogen finally agreed to sell, so the house is now being torn down.

This definitely isn't the first time standoffs between homeowners and governments have resulted in houses stranded in the middle of roads. Here on WU, we previously reported about a Japanese example of the phenomenon from 1964. But it seems to me this happens more often in Asia than anywhere else. I have no idea why.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Dec 05, 2012 | Comments (5)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures

Jack Fletcher’s House of the Future

In 1954, 23-year-old Jack Fletcher showed off his new home to the media. Reporters called it the "house of the future" because of all the unique features he had designed into it. The windows closed by themselves when sensors felt rain. Lights came on automatically when someone entered a room. The phone had a speed-dial feature. The lamps didn't need cords. Instead you just placed them over induction coils installed in the floor. And strangest of all, electromagnets caused pots and pans to float over the stove (which also used induction coils to heat the food).

The house was in West Covina, CA (in the LA area). I wonder if it's still standing? I don't see why it wouldn't be, but I haven't been able to find an address for it. Read more about it here and here.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Jul 06, 2012 | Comments (9)
Category: Architecture, Buildings and Other Structures, Futurism

The antique shop in the middle of a highway

People refusing to sell their homes to urban developers -- so they end up having highways and skyscrapers built around them -- is one of those things that happens often enough that it's 'no longer weird,' as Chuck would say. But here's an early example, from the mid-1960s.

Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964, and launched massive urban construction projects in anticipation of the games. Thousands of people were offered money to sell their homes to make way for new highways. Almost everyone took the offer of cash. But one elderly couple refused to move.

Although it has not yet become a tourist attraction, this house, an antique shop, standing bravely alone at the junction of three busy highways, is a source of amusement to passersby, of irritation to hurried motorists and the local police, a headache to the Tokyo Municipal Government and a simple matter of pride and principle to the 81-year-old owners and sole inhabitants.
When the new highways were being projected, owners of houses on the chosen sites moved away more or less willingly, but this old couple decided that the indemnity offered was not enough for a home containing a lifetime of memories.
The old man boned up on his law and discovered that he could not be forcibly ejected, and that although he may be a nuisance, his house could not be considered a traffic hazard as it is plainly visible to the naked eye. There have, in fact, been no accidents up to now simply because traffic slows down to take a better look at the incongruous, isolated building.
So the local police agency turned to the Metropolitan Highways Corporation who, after one and a half years of vain negotiation with the stubborn couple, have now thrown the matter into the lap of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
In the meantime, the old couple have lost all but the most intrepid of their customers, for few dare to cross a busy highway at the risk of life and limb and, for the same reason, there are days on end when the old couple cannot get out of their house to do the necessary shopping. But old people, they say, need little sustenance.
The incessant blare of car horns and the overbearing odor of exhaust-gas fumes which would drive a younger couple to surrender, fall on age-deafened ears and insensitive nostrils, disturbing them neither during the day nor at night. For old people, they say, need little sleep.
The offer of money to remove themselves and resettle in a new home is no temptation to them, for their days of adventure are over and all their memories are enclosed within the four walls of this tiny building.
-- The East, vol 1, No. 5, 1965, p.54-55.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Jun 21, 2012 | Comments (4)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.