2008-02

2008-02

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The pre-fabricated, all-steel Lustron Home was a unique solution to the post- World War II housing crisis. Between 1948 and 1950, approximately 2,680 Lustron homes were manufactured and shipped by truck to 35 states, primarily in the Midwest and Northeast. Since the last Lustron rolled off the assembly line, hundreds have been lost to neglect, alteration and demolition, the pace of which is dramatically increasing. Indeed, in Quantico, Virginia, the largest concentration of Lustrons in the United States was recently demolished.

Since 1996, approximately 24 Lustrons and one Lustron District have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, many as part of Multiple Property Submissions for Lustrons in the states of Kansas, Alabama and Georgia. These Lustrons have been recognized for their significance under Criterion C as an example of the Lustron Corporations innovative contributions to the pre-fabricated housing industry.

Despite these positive steps, Lustrons throughout the nation are threatened by a lack of appreciation, insensitive alterations, neglect, development pressure and demolition. As development pressure continues to increase, and original materials age and fail, the threats to the remaining Lustrons will only increase.

A review of the then extant web resources and monitoring of the Lustron Yahoo Group revealed that there was a need for correct and accurate information on how to properly maintain and repair Lustron homes. In addition, there was a clear need for information on basic preservation practices and procedures including understanding the benefits of listing on the National Register of Historic Places and protection through a local landmark designation program. Lustron Preservation (www.lustronpreservation.org), a web-based initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was created to help owners and advocates preserve Lustron homes by providing high-quality technical information and a forum for the exchange of information via the internet.

The team produced a comprehensive website which includes information on the history of Lustron homes, advocacy, repair, maintenance, basic preservation standards and practices as well as a user-generated inventory of Lustron homes. The website is extensively illustrated with relevant images from the Lustron Erection Manual and, when available, contemporary and historic images. Highly sought after, useful and informative documents such as the Erection Manual and Master Specifications are available for download from the site for free. The site was built using a content management system (CMS) so that it can be added to, amended and updated over time to reflect the most current research.

To date, over 2,300 users from 13 countries have downloaded over 45,000 pages of information and almost 2,000 homes are included in the Lustron Locator.

This research was made possible through Grant MT-2210-06-NC-01 from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT).

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One Response to Lustron On-Line (2008-02)

  1. Donna Piraino says:

    A friend has a leak in the roof of her Lustron home and is at a loss to repair it. Is there a way of finding a way to help her out? She lives in Arlington, VA. Thanks!

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