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The House of the Century

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Hello everyone, I'm new here, so if this is a well-known house and I just missed it. Has anyone seen the house on Brown Saddle Rd. in Tanglewood that looks like a submarine coming out of the ground? It's a long, thin mod from the 60's or 70's and was probably done by one of the better known architects in town. The owners have or have had in the past a classic Ford Thunderbird. That's all the info I've got.

I know the house. There was a design group called "Ant Farm" that did an exhibit at the Contemporary Arts museum in the late 60s early 70s, and they also built a similar house that was visible on the way to freeport, on the west side of the roadin angleton, I think. I always wondered if they also built the one in tanglewood. Never saw enough detail to compare the two.

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I thought the only structure Ant Farm built in the Angleton area was the House of the Century in Columbia Lakes.

Here's a video featuring it:

That would not be visible on Highway 288 to Freeport, though. Or did you mean Highway 36?

A little searching revealed a few churches in the Houston area designed by a firm called Starnes, Stovall, and Daniel. -- wonder if they're related.

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I thought the only structure Ant Farm built in the Angleton area was the House of the Century in Columbia Lakes.

I think that is the house I was refering to. I did not remember the road, but I was coming from Westbury, so I might have been on 36. From the angle that I saw the house I remembered it looked like a submarine rising to the surface.

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If the pictures were still visible, you could see that the two houses look nothing alike. The Brown Saddle house is very long, low, and horizontal, with few windows in the facade. I guess it was called a "U-boat" because it kind of looks like a surfaced submarine.

brownsaddle.jpg

The Ant Farm house looks like a cartoon submarine, or a spaceship, or (from the lake) rather phallic. It is very rounded with round windows.

House-of-the-Century.jpg

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If the pictures were still visible, you could see that the two houses look nothing alike. The Brown Saddle house is very long, low, and horizontal, with few windows in the facade. I guess it was called a "U-boat" because it kind of looks like a surfaced submarine.

Wow, that settles that. Thanks for the pictures, I was way off base, the Uboat house is not even the house I remember seeing.

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The Ant Farm house looks like a cartoon submarine, or a spaceship, or (from the lake) rather phallic. It is very rounded with round windows.

House-of-the-Century.jpg

Does this house still exist? If so where is it? Angleton is a little broad for me.......

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Does this house still exist? If so where is it? Angleton is a little broad for me.......

I'm dying to know as well. I want to own it.

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I'm dying to know as well. I want to own it.

"House of the Century" project designed and built by Richard Jost and Ant Farm, completed in 1972 near Angleton, Texas.

Go to: You Tube, "Mojo Relic" for a video on this home.

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It was flooded and abandoned in 1985 but apparently still stands, covered in moss. Mojo Lake is difficult to find on a map, probably because it's on private property. The video mentioned above is by the architect's daughter and it gives a lot of information.

Edit: Mojo Lake is apparently aka Chenango Lake. It's west of FM 521 between Bonney and Angleton. I doubt that the house is visible from FM 521 because of the wooded area between it and the road. You can see it nicely on Google Earth, unfortunately no birds-eyes on Live Search.

Did I mention it's private property?

Edited by marmer

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It was flooded and abandoned in 1985 but apparently still stands, covered in moss. Mojo Lake is difficult to find on a map, probably because it's on private property. The video mentioned above is by the architect's daughter and it gives a lot of information.

Edit: Mojo Lake is apparently aka Chenango Lake. It's west of FM 521 between Bonney and Angleton. I doubt that the house is visible from FM 521 because of the wooded area between it and the road. You can see it nicely on Google Earth, unfortunately no birds-eyes on Live Search.

Did I mention it's private property?

Hello Marmer, i'm new on this forum, i'm a frenchman leaving in Paris, i'm not an architect, but more a visual artist. I work mostly with videos, photos and drawings. My researchs are mainly concerned with modernist architecture and also experimental architecture from the 70'. The Antfarm house in Angleton just feet in the field my researches and i feel really appealed to come to texas to take some pictures of this house. I'm really interested by the fact that it's almost a relic standing in the nature, it seems like a kind of ruin of the future... I found it on google earth (with your help, thank you very much) but it seems like it has been renovated, it looks all clean and white...? Do you have more informations about the current state of the house please and do you have any idea how i could try toget in touch with the actual owners of the property? It's a long way from paris to Angleton that's why i'm asking so many questions...

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On the image from Google maps it appears clean (and Google calls the lake "Congo Loko"):

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source...mp;t=h&z=18

Yeah, that's the new Google Earth pic from ? Jan 2008 ? Looks pretty clean to me. Somewhere I heard that they might rebuild, but I don't know for sure. I have NEVER heard of anything called "Congo Loko." :)

Edited by marmer

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My friend Brittanie Shey wrote an amazing article about the "House of the Century" today:

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2009/07/texas_traveler_angletons_myste.php

I had no idea it even existed. Looks like very few people do. This photo gallery is fascinating:

http://www.narrowlarry.com/nltx6.html

Has anyone been out to it? I'm seriously contemplating a little road trip out there now...landmines and barbed wire or not.

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My friend Brittanie Shey wrote an amazing article about the "House of the Century" today:

http://blogs.houston...etons_myste.php

I had no idea it even existed. Looks like very few people do. This photo gallery is fascinating:

http://www.narrowlarry.com/nltx6.html

Has anyone been out to it? I'm seriously contemplating a little road trip out there now...landmines and barbed wire or not.

I don't know where to start, but I'd like to see this house up close too. I actually remember it from at Playboy article back when it was new detailing some unusual houses. I remember it being in Texas but I don't think the article gave any more details than that at the time. The Google map shows a huge house nearby, wonder if that homeowner owns the House of the Century too?

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My friend Brittanie Shey wrote an amazing article about the "House of the Century" today:

http://blogs.houston...etons_myste.php

I had no idea it even existed. Looks like very few people do. This photo gallery is fascinating:

http://www.narrowlarry.com/nltx6.html

Has anyone been out to it? I'm seriously contemplating a little road trip out there now...landmines and barbed wire or not.

The plot of land the house sits on was referred to as "William Parker League" as identified on a map commisioned by the county around 1913 to map lands west of Angleton to the Brazos river.

On May 10, 1968 the deed to the land was registered at the Brazoria County Clerks office in document 1968007102, book 1001, page 134 as belonging to Marilyn and Judy Oshman. Marilyn and Judy are the daughters of the famous Jake Oshman of sporting goods retail fame.

Marilyn married Alvin Lubetkin and commisioned the house from Ant Farm as a weekend retreat. Since the house wasn't really functional, it had no air conditioning and you couldn't open the windows, not much time was spent there.

The house was flooded in 1985 and in an interview Chip Lord said the Lubetkins threw in the towel. From there it supposedly sat in ruins, overgrown and falling apart, with potential plans to refurb the place. The google satellite photo does not show that kind of neglect however.

Marily passed a few years ago and in 2005 the deed to the land passed from Judy Oshman and her husband at the time Barry, to MOJO Holdings LLC in 2005. The Texas Secretary of state lists the registered agent of MOJO Holdings LLC as Judy Oshman-Margolis.

MOJO Holdings LLC

23920 FM 521 RD

Angleton, TX 77515

979-848-1319

That address maps to the address on Cheenango Lake, aka Congo Loko, a man made lake right off 521 barely south of CR 45 in Angleton. I suspect that MOJO Lake was the nickname the owners gave it using their initials. (M)arilyn (O)shman (J)udy (O)shman. Can't prove that but it makes sense.

Take 288 south from Houston to Angleton. Once you pass the 288B exit start watching for CR 45 on your right. There is a park-n-ride on the corner. Turn right on CR 45 and the road dead-ends into 521. Turn left on 521 and you should see a driveway on your right soon after that. You can crawl along the right shoulder for a ways but in the summer it's hard to see through the wooded overgrowth.

Sure would be nice if one of you guys could buy the place up and fix it, or at least get on the land for recent pics and an interview. Richard Jost and Chip Lord are not returning my emails.

Good luck, and thanks for your posts!

Al S.

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I really, really want to see the House of the Century. Recent threads and videos of it have re-kindled an interest in me for the house that started in the '70's when it was built and I first read about it. A friend and I drove down to Angleton on Saturday and you can't see the house from the road at all. It's possible that when the woods thin out in the winter months, a glimpse might become visible. Using GPS and Google Maps, we drove around a bit to see if maybe there was some access from the lake side, but no roads come even close. Presumably the house belongs to whomever (or what entity) owns the other house next to it with the long driveway but I'm not bold enough to just ring their doorbell. I just hate to see the house in decline, I would love to do whatever I can to preserve it.

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I really, really want to see the House of the Century. Recent threads and videos of it have re-kindled an interest in me for the house that started in the '70's when it was built and I first read about it. A friend and I drove down to Angleton on Saturday and you can't see the house from the road at all. It's possible that when the woods thin out in the winter months, a glimpse might become visible. Using GPS and Google Maps, we drove around a bit to see if maybe there was some access from the lake side, but no roads come even close. Presumably the house belongs to whomever (or what entity) owns the other house next to it with the long driveway but I'm not bold enough to just ring their doorbell. I just hate to see the house in decline, I would love to do whatever I can to preserve it.

Hi Scott08,

Why don't you give that phone number a call and say you are a freelance writer doing a story on the place, and see if you could setup a time to get pictures?

There is a guy on myspace.com in Angleton that has a picture of himself standing on top of one of the lower rooms. Search myspace.com for "MOJO Relic" and you should be able to pull his profile up. He says he has a friend that knows the caretaker and they let them in.

I may have to break down and call the number myself. I'm getting a bit too old for crawling through barbed wire just for pics at the risk of getting arrested, but seeing this place is driving me nuts!

Thanks for the update...

Al

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There is a guy on myspace.com in Angleton that has a picture of himself standing on top of one of the lower rooms. Search myspace.com for "MOJO Relic" and you should be able to pull his profile up. He says he has a friend that knows the caretaker and they let them in.

The only thing I found on myspace.com was a guy who reposted Manda Clair Jost's (the architect's daughter) MOJO Relic YouTube video. The only recent pics are the ones by Narrow Larry mentioned in the Houston Press article in July.

Posted earlier by sheeats

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I contacted Narrow Larry and he said his photos were taken in September of 2000. His visit to the house was on an open tour of "unusual Houston area homes" put on by an Arts and Architecture group so there's a precedent of it being opened to the public occasionally. As far as he knows, it is still owned by Marilyn Oshman. A quick Google of her reveals she endowed the Orange Show when its owner died a few years ago and she is still very active in the Arts community and other charitable boards.

Watching the YouTube videos about the house, it's clear that the Ant Farm Collective was way ahead of its time. They took pictures and films of the whole process, building the house was as much performance art as architecture. In some ways, I think it was always meant to be an artistic statement, a sculpture, as much or more than a house. That only fascinates me more. Just as many mod fans wax nostalgically about the 50's and 60's vibe that MCM's generate, this house to me evokes the time period post Vietnam era, where the "hippies" were struggling to make a new future. I happened to be in high school/college during that time frame so it really stands out for me.

Note to mods: Is there any way the posts about the House of the Century could be peeled off of the original thread and given their own title/thread? We might find out even more about it if it wasn't hidden in another thread. Thanks.

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I contacted Narrow Larry and he said his photos were taken in September of 2000. His visit to the house was on an open tour of "unusual Houston area homes" put on by an Arts and Architecture group so there's a precedent of it being opened to the public occasionally. As far as he knows, it is still owned by Marilyn Oshman. A quick Google of her reveals she endowed the Orange Show when its owner died a few years ago and she is still very active in the Arts community and other charitable boards.

Watching the YouTube videos about the house, it's clear that the Ant Farm Collective was way ahead of its time. They took pictures and films of the whole process, building the house was as much performance art as architecture. In some ways, I think it was always meant to be an artistic statement, a sculpture, as much or more than a house. That only fascinates me more. Just as many mod fans wax nostalgically about the 50's and 60's vibe that MCM's generate, this house to me evokes the time period post Vietnam era, where the "hippies" were struggling to make a new future. I happened to be in high school/college during that time frame so it really stands out for me.

Note to mods: Is there any way the posts about the House of the Century could be peeled off of the original thread and given their own title/thread? We might find out even more about it if it wasn't hidden in another thread. Thanks.

Apologies to Marilyn if she is still alive. I swear I read a column describing her life and mourning her passing.

EDIT: Maybe I had the wrong Marilyn Oshman....

http://www.exhibitci...ries&Itemid=113

As far as the current ownership is concerned, Marilyn may well be an officer of Mojo Holdings LLC. The State of Texas only lists Judy Oshman as the registered agent of the LLC.

The land deed at the Brazoria County clerks office is document number 2005063909 dated 11/8/2005 book OPR

Transferred from Judy Deanna Oshman and Barry Margolis to MOJO Holding LLC

Edited by Swearengen

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I lived in Angleton for all my life, and I was greatly surprised to learn that my sleepy hometown had an early postmodern masterpiece. My curiosity lead me to search around the University of Houston Architecture Library and I found this in a old calender that Ant Farm produced in 1974.

antfarm015.jpg

antfarm014.jpg

antfarm013.jpg

Enjoy!

Edited by Austin Rees

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All of you interested in The House of the Century are going to kick yourselves--Chip Lord and Curtis Schreier (two of the surviving founders of Ant Farm) were just in town for the Cinema Arts Festival, which showed a documentary about Ant Farm called What If Why Not. Marilyn Oshman was at the screening and they all answered questions.

This is a house that should definitely be renovated and preserved and opened to the public!

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All of you interested in The House of the Century are going to kick yourselves--Chip Lord and Curtis Schreier (two of the surviving founders of Ant Farm) were just in town for the Cinema Arts Festival, which showed a documentary about Ant Farm called What If Why Not. Marilyn Oshman was at the screening and they all answered questions.

This is a house that should definitely be renovated and preserved and opened to the public!

I was aware of that and unable to attend that night, wish I'd been able to make it.

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Note to mods: Is there any way the posts about the House of the Century could be peeled off of the original thread and given their own title/thread? We might find out even more about it if it wasn't hidden in another thread. Thanks.

Wow. Deja Vu.smile.gif Thanks.

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Looks like Bing has added birds-eyes down to the House of the Century, but only just. Not all views are visible. It was being weird for me but I was able to get a good look at it.

Start here and move around.

VERY nice Marmer! Looks as if someone is keeping the grounds nicely. The lake appears to be an old series of sandpits. If it was the house of the century, I wonder why they didn't think about flooding, and simply elevate it? I'm sure the owners have enough money already, but it would be really cool if they cut a road, and small parking area around it, and charged admission to see it, and give the history, etc. I would pay to see it, and get the scoop on it.

Always great posts!

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I had no idea that house sat so close to the water.

Nice shot, BTW.

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To those of you who don't "get" the House of the Century, let me reiterate what I said in an earlier post:

Watching the YouTube videos about the house, it's clear that the Ant Farm Collective was way ahead of its time. They took pictures and films of the whole process, building the house was as much performance art as architecture. In some ways, I think it was always meant to be an artistic statement, a sculpture, as much or more than a house. That only fascinates me more. Just as many mod fans wax nostalgically about the 50's and 60's vibe that MCM's generate, this house to me evokes the time period post Vietnam era, where the "hippies" were struggling to make a new future. I happened to be in high school/college during that time frame so it really stands out for me.

This house may not be your style...hell it really wasn't practical for anything...but it's got pedigre (famous/infamous art/architecture designers), history documented by pictures, video, and now a movie, ownership by someone fairly prominent. All those things make it important whether its aesthetics appeal to you or not. I agree with another poster that if the owner decided to offer tours of it, it would become quite an attraction.

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Or maybe they just built a giant schlong on the side of a lake...

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On 7/20/2009 at 2:07 PM, sheeats said:

My friend Brittanie Shey wrote an amazing article about the "House of the Century" today:

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2009/07/texas_traveler_angletons_myste.php

I had no idea it even existed. Looks like very few people do. This photo gallery is fascinating:

http://www.narrowlarry.com/nltx6.html

Has anyone been out to it? I'm seriously contemplating a little road trip out there now...landmines and barbed wire or not.

I dont know about any land mines but my mother was a caretaker back in the 80s when I was a child and them me and my brother visited out there in the mid 90s and no one was there. We didnt see any barbed wire then. The place was awesome back in the day. It does exist and I dont know the extent of the interior damage this is news to me. I also know it was never called kongo loco or whatever. It was called MOJO lake for the sisters marilyn and judy oshmans owners of oshmans sporting goods. That's why you cant find the lake on a map it's not an official lake. This relic house was Marilyn's and Judy had another house across  from it not like that tho. It was nice and more country. The front of it was all windows and one of the couches had a stuffed cow  with it's back toward the window so when you walked on the deck it looked like a live cow sitting in living room

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