The Orange Show Monument is a folk-art environment - a monumental work of handmade architecture - located in Houston's East End. It was built single handedly from 1956 until its completion in 1979, by the late Jefferson Davis McKissack, a Houston postal worker. The outdoor 3,000 square foot environment is maze-like in design and includes an oasis, a wishing well, a pond, a stage, a museum, a gift shop, and several upper decks. It is constructed of concrete, brick, steel and found objects including gears, tiles, wagon wheels, mannequins, tractor seats and statuettes. Each piece of the Orange Show Monument was hand-placed and hand-painted by McKissack.
Take a drive on Highway 45 to a small run down neighborhood just outside of the 610 loop and this is where you will find the Orange Show. It’s hard to imagine today the vision of one man’s dream, but on this narrow street just outside of downtown Houston stands the Orange Show. In honor of this favorite fruit Houston postman Jeff Mckissack created this local historic folkart location. The Orange show was created in honor of his favorite fruit and to illustrate his beliefs in longevity from hard work and good nutrition. From 1956 to his death in 1980 he worked in isolation finding found materials and obejcts – bricks, tiles, fencing, farm implements to deer heads and manqueins. He transformed this East End lot into an architectural maze of walkways, balaconies, arenas and exhibits decorated with mosaics and brightly painted iron figures. Today after McKissack’s death a non-profit foundation was formed to preserve the landmark. The goal is to focus on the Orange Show’s ability to make basic elements of art tangible and accessible.