Is This The Ugliest House In America?

What is even going on here.

Designers with delicate sensibilities, look away. This may be the most hideous McMansion in America. Built in 1956, this is “almost-famous pimp-turned-construction mini-magnate” Jerry A. Hostetler’s Indianapolis Hearst Castle. Minus the architectural prowess. Plus more balconies.


Without adhering to any particular aesthetic style, the eccentric Hostetler bought up his neighbors’ houses and turned his original three-bedroom ranch house into a gaudy, enormous mansion featuring ballrooms, imported fountains, gargoyles, and a stone grotto hot tub.

Hostetler died in 2006, and the house is back on the market. The four bedrooms and five bathrooms described in the listing don’t do the mansion’s enormity justice: pictures show a plethora of dining areas and entertainment rooms, as well as multiple sprawling decks and outdoor staircases. And, of course, plenty of weird statues, although some of its treasures, like a six-foot mermaid sculpture, have been sold off by creditors. The Indy Star has some pictures of the property–and the man himself–in its heyday.

Good design typically solves problems, but here it seems like Hostetler just created problems. The sheer plethora of patterns and textures jumbled together in each room makes it difficult to know where to rest your eyes. In some rooms, the oddly shaped windows and stained glass don’t appear to let in much actual light, and just about every room contains its own staircase. It can’t be easy to navigate a house cobbled together piece by piece as Hostetler bought up the different properties around him.

“It was pretty clear from the start Jerry had his own ideas about architecture,” a neighbor told the paper last year. Indeed, the place looks a little like Hostetler flipped through a book of architectural styles, pointed to a chapter and said, “Give me a little of this!” for each new room.

Imagine, this palace could be yours for a little less than $1.3 million. Have you seen an uglier house? Let us know in the comments!

[H/T: Curbed]


About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.