Friday, January 27, 2006

Lustron Houses for the Asking

A few days ago on the news I saw a story that caught my attention. The Marine base at Quantico, VA had decided that they needed to build new housing for the families that live on base. They were working with a developer to do this. In the process, they were faced with an interesting problem.

The Marine base currently was housing families in vintage Lustron homes. These homes were built in the mid 1940's out of metal sheets - walls, floors, ceilings, built-ins, cabinets - everything metal. The exterior were painted in a variety of mid-century pastels. I had to chuckle as they interviewed a Marine about his pink Lustron house.

At any rate, much to their credit Quantico recognized what a slice of American history they have. To that end, they are now taking proposals for the dismantaling and removing of 58 of the Lustron houses via their very interesting website. The houses themselves are free, the buyer covers the cost of removal (they say they have original assembly manuals available, so it seems you just disassamble them in pieces). It appears they will give priority to developers who could assure them the houses would become a relocated Lustron neighborhood. They also mention using the houses for Katrina victims.

Hurrah for the Marines. Hurrah for the developers of the new project. Hurrah for those people that save these oh-so-cute houses (and part of our history).


Josh said...

Very cool story. I never knew what to call these metal houses, but I have seen them in a couple places around town.

There are a two Lustron homes on Cedar Ave just south of the parkway and some more on Nicollet Ave south of 50th St.

They have a real retro-chic look, but I'd never trade my bungalow for one. Thanks for sharing the story.

Greg said...

I first heard about Lustron homes only in the past year. Someplace there is a documentary on the man who developed the idea and worked with the Federal Government to build the factory. It does not have a happy ending. The houses are more than just painted metal, they are enameled steel. I think it is great (and surprising) that somebody in the Marines realized how important these homes are and they aren’t just going to bulldoze them.

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