John Milkovisch was a hoarder. He kept everything, even the empty beer cans he accumulated over many years.
Sometime in the 1970’s he decided to put the cans to good use. He took them out of storage, cut them open, flattened them out, and then stuck them to the walls of his home!
Ruben Guevara, head of restoration and preservation of the Beer Can House in Houston’s Memorial Park area said:”The funny thing is that it wasn’t… to attract attention….he said himself that if there was a house similar to this a block away, he wouldn’t take the time to go look at it. He had no idea what was the fascination about what he was doing.”
John Milkovisch died in the mid-1980’s, but his wife, Mary, continued to live there. As the cans rusted in time, her sons helped to replace them. Although the general properties in the area moved “upmarket” in the following decades, their home remained as a sort of local attraction. Houston resident Patrick Louque said,”It shows the human nature of the individual is supreme. You can take the simplest thing, and it can actually affect a lot of other people.”
Reuben Guevara said “He used cans, bottles, marbles, redwood….he drank a lot of beer, him and Mary, and he collected all the beer cans that he would drink. He stored them because he knew he was going to use them, but he didn’t know for what.”
The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art purchased the property 10 years ago and restored it so that it could be opened to the public. The art center estimates Milkovisch had 50,000 cans that he accumulated by drinking a six-pack daily over 20 years.
People are remembered for many thing after they die. The legacy of John Milkovisch is a monument to his prodigious consumption of beer!