The Carousel at the House of the Rock is the star of the show in American Gods season two as Shadow and Mr Wednesday gather with the Old Gods in Wisconsin, bringing together an oddball collection of deities for a war meeting.
Here’s what you need to know about this unusual location…
Is The House on the Rock a real place?
Although it might seem too bizarre to be true, the House on the Rock is a real place, stuffed full of odd artefacts, eccentric objects and strange curiosities all jumbled together without explanation. In fact, American Gods author Neil Gaiman has said he actually toned it down in the book “so people would believe it” – as the reality defies description.
One of its most popular attractions is “the world’s largest indoor carousel,” featuring 182 chandeliers, more than 20,000 lights, and a grand total of 269 carousel animals. Not a single one of them is a horse.
The House on the Rock can be found in Wisconsin, USA between the cities of Dodgeville and Spring Green. It was created by Alex Jordan Jr and opened to paying visitors in 1959. The founding myth behind Jordan’s decision to build the House is long-disputed – but the site now draws more visitors every year than any other spot in Wisconsin.
Having grown outwards from the original building, which sits atop Deer Shelter Rock, the attraction has expanded over the course of several decades into a sprawling complex.
At the House on the Rock you will find a room full of mechanical musical instruments, an “Infinity Room” with over 3,000 windows jutting out of the House with nothing underneath, and rooms and rooms full of toys and guns and dolls and books. You will find “The Streets of Yesterday” with a recreation of an early 20th century American town, and in one room there is a 200-foot model of a fanciful-looking sperm whale.
Did American Gods film at the real House on the Rock?
The House on the Rock is a pivotal part of American Gods, and so it was vital that filming take place on the Carousel itself. Thankfully, the production team was able to spend a week on location at the House on the Rock at the start of the shoot for season two before returning to Toronto.
“Oh, it’s amazing. It’s one of those ridiculous places,” Ian McShane tells RadioTimes.com. “I’d never heard of it and I’ve been in America a long time, but it’s a roadside attraction. America has those: the biggest ball of wool in the world, the biggest tyre. But this happens to be a place that a guy decided to build on this rock in Wisconsin, and started building.”
He adds: “We filmed all of it there. We filmed everything you see.”
Shadow Moon actor Ricky Whittle was also blown away. He recalls: “The carousel is a focal point of the story, and I tried not to see it until we actually were going for a take. And so when you see Shadow’s look of awe, that is literally my look of awe – because it was so huge. This is the largest carousel in the world. To run that carousel, I have no idea what their electricity bill is, but it is up there.
“It really is a magical thing, and for a show that’s known for special effects and magic and gods, that’s one of the parts of the story this year that we really didn’t have to touch – because that house really was full of magic.”
Season two of American Gods will launch on Starz in the US on Sunday 10th March and will air in the UK and internationally on Amazon Prime Video on Monday 11th March