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Architectural Follies in America

Architectural Follies in America

Gwyn Headley

ISBN: 978-0-471-14362-8

Apr 1996

222 pages

Select type: Paperback

In Stock



Architectural Follies in America

More than mere curiosities, all of the architectural follies described in this illustrated guide are masterpieces in their own right. Each is the incarnation of its creator's singular passion, vanity, or idee fixe, from the home of the future to the storybook castle, the palace of love to the monument of spite, the house of devotion to the pleasure garden.

Architectural Follies in America offers readers an unparalleled opportunity to become acquainted with some of the most outstanding examples of this class of architectural marvel. With Gwyn Headley as our guide, we travel the length and breadth of the United States--from the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Niles, Illinois, to a house made of glass bottles in Death Valley; from the floating Taj Mahal in Sausalito, to the grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In a narrative rich with historical erudition, choice tidbits of gossip, and no small measure of sparkling wit, Headley describes more than 130 structures in loving detail. He tells the full story behind each folly, what is known about its creator, the circumstances surrounding its construction, and its prospects for the future.

"Follies stem from passion, obsession, and suspicion. They also come from happiness, grief, and confusion. They can take any form, any style. A folly is a state of mind, not an architectural style. Follies can even have a use or purpose, whether that was in the creator's mind or not." -- Gwyn Headley
Cloud-Capp'd Towers.

Pavilions of Splendor.

Gorgeous Palaces.

Scrap Shacks.

Miracle Houses (The American Dream).

Parks and Gardens.

Solemn Temples.

The Great Globe Itself.


Replicas, Copies, and the Seven Wonders of the World.

Billboard and Animal Architecture.

...And the Rest.