Wall of Bottles - Atlas Obscura

Wall of Bottles

Recycling meets art in this colorful barricade. 

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In Silver City, New Mexico, just across from the beautiful and historic Grant County Courthouse, stands a remarkable wall. Instead of any usual material like brick or wood, this wall is constructed entirely of thousands of wine and other bottles, held together by stucco. Repurposed old bicycle wheels serve as large, round windows from the front yard to the street. Even the mailbox is built directly into the wall.

The structure encloses the yard and driveway of a private home, creating a unique spectacle that evolves over time. The owner continues to add new bottles, making this a living and dynamic work of art. At sunrise, the bottles channel light to the sidewalk below, casting a show of interesting colors.

The use of empty bottles in construction has a rich history dating back thousands of years. In ancient times, the Romans utilized clay bottles to lighten the weight of hefty structures and conserve concrete. The tradition persisted through the ages, and in 1902, miner William Peck constructed the first true glass bottle house in Tonopah, Nevada. While the original house was demolished in the 1980s, the technique still endures today, notably in Earthships like those found near Taos.

This wall of bottles in Silver City might not seem like much at first glance. However, it serves as a small tribute to this historical tradition, and demonstrates the appeal of creative and sustainable construction methods. It shows that beauty can be found anywhere, even in an old glass bottle.

Know Before You Go

Being on the side of a public street, it is easy to simply drive to this spot. Even better, treat yourself to a pleasant walking tour of historic Silver City, taking in the sights of the downtown area, the hill around the courthouse including this wall of bottles, and the Western New Mexico University campus.

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January 18, 2017
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