The Bottle House – Kaleva, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

In the small town of Kaleva, MI - population 509 - there stands the peculiar home of one John J. Makinen, Sr.

John was the owner of Northwestern Bottling Works and had access to an almost limitless number of used soda pop bottles. He took advantage of this perk, using them to build his dream home. Completed in 1941, the house was constructed of brick, wood, and - most importantly - over 60,000 glass bottles.

The words “Happy Home” shine out from the front of the house, spelled with brown bottles surrounded by a border of green. On the sides of the house, green bottles form various geometric shapes.

Tragically, Makinen died in 1942 before he and his family were able to move in. In 1980, the Kaleva Historical Society bought the bottle house and moved in. It is now home to the Kaleva Historical Museum, which contains historical items from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The museum also makes the curious claim that the term “pop,” meaning a carbonated soft drink, originated at the Northwestern Bottling Works Company, where Makinen once worked. Soda was produced there in corked bottles, and excess carbonation would occasionally “pop” the cork right out.

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