Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park Celebrates 1 Year!

Close

Friel Dalton, Doc Hope’s Bottle House

ShareAdd page to my spaces
Visiting Information

Doc’s Bottle House remains in excellent condition under the watchful eye of local preservationists, although it is still under private ownership.

About the Artist/Site

In 1941, John Hope, a wealthy pharmacist in Hillsville, VA, commissioned local builder Friel Dalton to construct a playhouse for his daughter. The playhouse was constructed entirely of bottles nestled into a concrete mortar, but, in contrast to most, the bottle bottoms faced inward so that the interior walls were smooth and glassy. With the mouths of the bottles facing outward, the exterior façade is highly textural; on the corners, the bottles are stacked at right angles to each other, interlaced to provide greater strength. Installed horizontally, they permitted the passage of light into the single room.

Dalton utilized a variety of different kinds of bottles in a variety of colors and sizes, including bottles of castor oil and other medicaments from Hope’s pharmacy. It is said that the locals referred to the playhouse as “The House of 1000 Headaches,” in reference to the number of wine bottles utilized as part of the construction.

Measuring roughly 15 x 25 feet, the house includes large glass windows, a full-size front door, a functioning fireplace, and a bottle chandelier. On the exterior, green bottles were arranged in the form of an H, for Hope. Working 8 – 10 hour days, Dalton completed this elaborate playhouse in roughly three months.

Doc’s Bottle House remains in excellent condition under the watchful eye of local preservationists, although it is still under private ownership.

~Jo Farb Hernández

Map and site information

1533 North Main Street
Hillsville, Virginia, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 36.77711 / -80.742711

Visiting Information

Doc’s Bottle House remains in excellent condition under the watchful eye of local preservationists, although it is still under private ownership.

Discussion

We welcome visitors' comments about this site. If you have additional information you feel should be included, or have questions or comments, please share your thoughts with us here.

Leave Your Comment

The SPACES website allows you to save your favorite art environments and share them with your friends or colleagues. Create your own portfolio of your favorites from environments in the online collection.

Send them to your friends, post them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and tag #spacesarchives 

Look for this button on pages that can be saved:

Add Page to my spaces