The “Lava House”, built by Jerry Ganz (the fabulously wealthy man responsible for the mass production of seat-belts) in the 1970s, the Lava House’s chief architectural pull was its extensive use of imported lava rock. Construction stopped suddenly, shortly after it began, and it has remained empty to this day.
The city has tried desperately to sell it off, even razing what was left of the structures there after a 1997 fire to attract more buyers, but to no avail. Theories abound as to what made Ganz stop construction, mostly concerning the cost of the lava rock import coupled with the enormous size of the house. Others claim Ganz was importing the lava rock illegally and was caught. The most fantastic explanation involves the Hawaiian god of the volcano “Pele” from whence the lava rock came, cursing Ganz’ workers for stealing pieces of her home, causing several of the contractors to die in freak accidents and eventually halting construction.
Note: Pele’s Curse is the belief that anything natively Hawaiian, such as sand, rock, lava rock, or pumice, will result in bad luck or death to whoever removes it from any of the Hawaiian islands.