Fountain City's "Rock
in the House" is Stranger than Fiction!
When a 55-ton boulder dropped off the bluff towering 500+ feet over the home of
Dwight and Maxine Anderson's along the Great River Road in Fountain City, Wisconsin, it
proved that though lightning seldom strikes the same spot twice, killer rocks DO!
National Attention Focuses on the Rock in the
© Pat Middleton. This story may not be reproduced or reused without the
written permission of the author.
Imagine the shock of having a two-story-high rock smash through
your house! Maxine Anderson had just photographed the new remodeling project that had been
completed in their home at 440 N Shore Drive (Hwy 35, the Great River Road), in Fountain
City, Wisconsin. No sooner had she left the bedroom for the kitchen than a great thunder
of increasing volume engulfed the house. Almost immediately there was a tremendous shock
and the house was bolted off its foundation. No doubt terrified, Maxine would have tried
to escape the home--but doors were jammed shut and she was trapped!
Across the road at the Corp
of Engineers Service Base, an employee, too, heard the train-like roar. A tornado, he
thought in amazement as he watched trees flying from the hillside above the Anderson's
home. The Anderson home seemed to take a direct hit and he flew across the street to aid
whoever was inside. For both the rescuer and the housewife, the moments of breaking a way
into the house were filled with fears that another huge boulder would begin making its way
pell-mell down the hill. The Andersons moved out immediately, returning later only long
enough to pack the rest of their belongings!
John & Frances Burt of Fountain City purchased
the home--with the boulder still occupying the demolished bedroom--and opened it as a
tourist attraction. The city has declared it an historical site and thousands of tourists
come to see the "Rock in the House" from all over the world.
The rock has been written about in many newspapers and magazines
(People Magazine among them). The Burts have been interviewed on many radio and TV
programs, including Day & Date, NY, and The Today Show in NY.
Opening the bedroom door of the tidy home is a memorable reminder
that nature easily dwarfs the normal scale of human experience! The rough boulder sits
immobile, placidly filling the room with dirt and debris. It makes a great story to take
home with you!
Located at 440 N. Shore Dr. (Hwy
35) in Fountain City, Wisconsin.
April 5th is Anniversary of Fatal Rock Accident in Fountain City, 1901
--The Winona Republican Herald, 1940
There are many still living in Fountain City who recall the early morning scene when a
rescue party found a woman crushed to death in her bed in a humble bluff-side dwelling in
the village while her blind husband, sleeping in the same bed, escaped with hardly a
Loosened by warm early spring weather and melting snow, a rock weighing about five tons
rolled down the side of the bluff and crashed through the roof of the house shortly after
midnight. The woman, a Mrs. Dubler, was instantly killed and the house was demolished.
The story continues as told in the Winona Republican Herald, 1901....
The old couple had retired and were sleeping peacefully when the crash came. Whatever
noise had been occasioned by the stone tumbling through the woods above the house was of
such short duration that they did not hear it and Mr. Dubler was awakened to find himself
dropped through the cellar amid the ruins of his home. An increasing rumble followed by
piteous cries for help alerted the neighbor who soon aroused the whole town.
The house was so badly wrecked that it was impossible for a time to reach the inmates
who were buried beneath. At last Mr. Dubler was lifted out of the basement and a hasty
examination revealed that he was practically uninjured except for a slight bruise on his
The fate of his wife, however, was quite different. She had been struck squarely by the
rock as she lay upon the outside portion of the bed. Her body was crushed and mangled
almost beyond recognition, and death must have been instantaneous.
The house in which the couple lived was built in the sidehill on the main street
leading west from the city. The bed in which the couple slept was against the west wall of
the house and just under the roof.
NOTE: There is a garage immediately beside the Rock in the House attraction.
The Dubler home was located on that location.
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