The Orange Show
Houston, Texas isn’t exactly citrus country—but it does boast a splendidly odd tribute to the orange.
Houston, where I lived for eight years, isn't exactly citrus country—but it does boast a splendidly odd tribute to the orange, built by a retired postman named Jeff McKissack, who believed that oranges were the perfect food. The Orange Show, as it's called, is a festively adorned stucco structure in a residential neighborhood on the east side of town. Over the course of two decades and working entirely by himself, McKissack (who never married) salvaged scrap metal, ceramic tile, rusty wheel spokes, tractor seats, even a fire escape, and built from them a multicolored shrine to his favorite fruit, complete with whirligigs and sculptures on the roof, balconies of curlicued iron, an outdoor performance arena, and orange slogans inlaid in mosaic in the walls ("Oranges: A great gift to mankind from America's orange growers," reads one; "Love oranges and live," says another). The Orange Show opened in 1979. Jeff McKissack, his life's work complete, died seven months later—just a few days shy of his 78th birthday.