Weird Places: The Cathedral Of Junk

There are people who take pleasure in seeking out the weirdest, strangest, most bizarre places on our planet. Our weird places blog updates help point them in the right direction.

There are innumerable cathedrals, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship all over the world. But this “cathedral” in Austin, Texas is probably one of the strangest on the planet, because it consists entirely of garbage. Waste. Junk.


A messy backyard

The Cathedral of Junk is a classic example of a hobby getting out of hand. Vince Hannemann a.k.a the “Junk King” began building his “clubhouse’ in 1988 and ended up with the bizarre edifice that graces his backyard today. He added sections on whenever he had the time and junk to spare. It is currently estimated to weigh around 60 tonnes and counts three(!) stories which you can access with actual stairs. The sight of that is crazy. When you’re on lower levels you can look up and see other people walking right above you, on garbage! It’s a really solid construction though, so no worries.

The cathedral is not only just great to look at. A large family of squirrels have made themselves a permanent residence in it. They run around the junk, jumping from tree to surfboard to traffic sign. When you walk around, you can hear them rummaging above your head, setting off the cd wind chimes as they go. It’s a strange habitat, but these furry creatures sure add a fun touch to this weird place.


Donated junk

The cathedral consists of almost everything you can imagine. Rusty signboards, clocks, discarded appliances, kilometres of cable, chairs, car bumpers – the Cathedral of Junk has it all. And more. Most of the stuff was donated to Vince and because he’s never quite sure what he’s going to get, he has to keep improvising when adding new features and extensions. Almost daily, someone comes along with a box of leftover stuff, giving it to Vince to add to his ever growing collection.


Married in junk

Vince generally gives a warm welcome to anyone who wants to take a look in his backyard, and a cathedral wouldn’t be a cathedral if it hadn’t been used as a wedding venue. But he doesn’t only host weddings. The cathedral has seen launch events for CDs, bachelor parties and regular tours for senior citizens and children.

Cathedral of Junnk, Vince Hanneman's Cathedral of Junk

Photo © copyright 2006-2013 Kelly Ludwig


If you’d like to visit the Cathedral of Junk, you’ll find it on south side of Austin on Lareina Drive. Bear in mind that you’ll be visiting Vince’s home, so please let him know if and when you intend to drop by. And if you see any good junk on your way over, perhaps you should take it along.