Doc Hope’s Bottle HouseFriel Dalton

About the Artist/Site

In 1941, John Hope, a wealthy pharmacist in Hillsville, Virginia, 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 color 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 1,000 Headaches," in reference to the number of wine bottles utilized as part of the construction. 

Measuring roughly 15x25 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 his 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 Hernandez 




Map & Site Information

1533 North Main Street
Hillsville, VA, 24343 us
Latitude/Longitude: 36.7771101 / -80.7427112




1533 North Main Street, Hillsville, VA, 24343, United States

Visiting Information

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

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