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Rockome Gardens

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The story of Rockome Gardens begins in 1939, when Arthur Martin decided to build a large garden around his home in Arcola, IL. He hired workers to bring in rocks to build walls, arches and ponds on about 20 acres. He named his creation "Rockhome" and opened it to visitors. In 1958, Elvan Yoder and his sons took over management of the place and turned it into an Amish theme park. He also added little signs with Amish aphorisms throughout the property. There is also a bakery, candy shop, rock shop, and restaurant. In 2005, there are new owners and the future use of the place is still a mystery. For the Halloween season, they hosted "The Graveyard Shift" (elaborate haunted house-style entertainment).

In addition to the elaborate rock fences, gardens, a giant chair for photo-posing, giant mushrooms, umbrella-style picnic benches, etc., there were three bottle houses. Unfortunately, during renovation under new ownership in 2006, the bottle houses were destroyed. The bottle houses were believed to have been built in the 1960s, inspired by the bottle houses at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. The largest of them, known as the Bottle Castle, was covered with 7-Up bottles. The Fresca House had approximately 2,400 Fresca bottles used in its construction. Next to it was a small Fresca doghouse. The smallest bottle house incorporated almost 1,200 7-Up bottles.

For more, see these websites: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.

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