Rainbow House

Parsons' front porch May, 1999.

It's been on national television a time or two and is well-known to fans of visionary architecture around the world. Now, Vancouver and Clark County, Washington have said farewell to the Rainbow House, which has brought pleasure to residents and visitors alike.

Lloyd "Ace" Parsons, (b. 1915), retired in 1972 with his wife, Claire. A former Kaiser Shipyard worker who built Liberty Ships and sheetrock installer, he spent his time decorating their home in a most unusual way. In an older neighborhood west of the Clark County Courthouse, the house soon became a source of pleasure bringing at least a chuckle to passers-by.

The Parson's enjoyed sitting in their enclosed back porch overlooking the back yard. Lloyd, especially liked to visit with people who stopped to look at the brightly-striped house and admire its gardens complete with a pond, a replica of Dodge City and a grotto of ceramic frogs. They even provided a covered picnic area for guests.

Part of the Mill Plain extension road project was set to go through the block where the house is located but the route was changed to allow the house to stay. Other houses in the area were torn down as construction began.

But in November of 1998, Parsons suffered a stroke. While he was in the hospital, his wife Claire passed away. Unable to visit with people who come to see his home due to a speech impairment caused by the stroke and uninterested in carrying on the maintenance alone, he offered to sell the property to the county was expanding its facilities in the area. The basement would have made moving it very difficult.

While some think it would have been nice to preserve the house, most agree that, without the Parsons, it wouldn't be worthwhile or feasible to maintain it. A neighbor, Joseph Glasgow, told
The Columbian reporter, Scott Hewitt it would be, "such a job, you'd have to find someone as eccentric as Ace."

Windmills, well and figures (above) cobra-in-a-star pool left, Dodge City in the snow Feb., 1992. Photo: Lloyd "Ace" Parsons.

Historic pictures from the early 70s (above). Lower one shows a different pattern was on the wall then. Photo: Lloyd "Ace" Parsons.

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