If you’re looking for something rather unusual to visit this Halloween, you may want to give The Cathedral of Junk in Austin, Texas some consideration. It was just recently “remodeled” and given a building permit, allowing it to stay standing.
The Cathedral is a hollow framework of junk, wired and packed with mass-production castoffs, much of which is unidentifiable. Walking through the Cathedral passages, one is reminded of scenes from the film “Aliens”, where half- organic walls are built of humans waiting to be sucked dry. Once you enter The Cathedral of Junk it seems to magically expand, perhaps because of the stairways and multiple levels, the vaulted ceilings and observation platforms and the Throne Room, where Vince Hannemann, the owners chair sits so he can answer all our annoying questions.
It took more than 6 months to bring the Cathedral of Junk up to code, which sits in Hannenman’s backyard. It attracts 10,00 visitors a year, but was shut down by the City of Austin last March saying it was unsafe and needed building permits. It was in danger of demolition and the owner said he was ready to give up on his tower of debris, but with the support of friends and strangers alike, he kept it going. Together they moved 30 tons of steel with 40 tons still remaining. The so called “sculpture” now sits no closer then 5 feet from other properties and it’s been certified to withstand the weight of 32 hundred pounds. “It had to be proven that people could walk underneath it safely, much less getting on top of it”, Hannenmann said. The Cathedral of Junk is also built to withstand Texas storms, Hannenmann claims.
The Austin Landmark which helps make Austin weird, has been called everything from magical, to special, to the coolest fort you can imagine and all sits in one man’s backyard. It’s been dubbed a “yardist” by the local art community, however quirky it may seem. Not everyone is exactly happy about this form of art, though. Some of the neighbors say it just means more traffic as well as trash for the neighborhood.
Hannenmann began building his Cathedral of Junk in 1988. He said it just steadily grew and he didn’t build it to get attention but with the amount of visitors it gets every year, I would say attention it does get. “When I don’t like it anymore, I’ll tear it down”, he says.
The Cathedral of Junk stands quietly in the backyard of a small house on a suburban street on the southside of Austin, Texas. The owner does have a day job but is happy to show his creation when he’s around. The Cathedral has hosted weddings(a good place for a Halloween wedding I’d say), CD debut parties, bachelor parties etc. It’s also a popular destination for tour groups of schoolkids and senior citizens. If you happen to be in the Austin area over Halloween, or anytime for that matter, I suggest checking this weird landmark out for some “ghostly” fun.
Cathedral of Junk saved.com/KVUE News.com
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