Travel Back In Time to 1933 World's Fair At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Head to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore next weekend and you'll be able to explore the House of Tomorrow home from the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. NPS photo.

Not many of us are old enough to have attended the 1933 World's Fair. But if you head to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore next weekend, you'll be able to go back in time.

The National Park Service and the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana Annual Open House of homes from the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair will be on Saturday, October 10, and Sunday, October 11. The homes are now part of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and owned by the Park Service.

According to park officials, the Cypress Log Cabin rehabilitation is complete and it now serves as a residence. It will be open to the public for this weekend event. The other homes are undergoing rehabilitation, and are in various stages of construction, the park says. The Florida Tropical House and the first floors of the Armco Ferro House, the House of Tomorrow, and Wieboldt-Rostone House will also be open during this weekend show.

The open house is limited in size and will be by reservation only. Reservations are being taken now at the following website: http://www.historiclandmarks.org/tours/pages/calendardetails.aspx?EventID=148 . You can also link to this website from www.nps.gov/indu. Your reservation includes a $15 per person transportation fee. Open House times will be assigned when making the reservations. Parking information and tickets will be mailed after the reservations are received. For more information contact Jennifer Gregar from the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana at (574) 232-4534

According to the park:

The Chicago World’s Fair, A Century of Progress, was organized around the theme of science and its role in industrial development. The fair’s model homes featured revolutionary materials, innovative building methods, modern home appliances, and new construction techniques. The homes were moved by barge and truck to Northwest Indiana at the close of the Fair, and remained in private ownership until the early 1970s when they were purchased by the National Park Service for inclusion in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The homes are undergoing rehabilitation with private funds through a partnership between the National Park Service, the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, and private individuals.

A requirement of the occupants of the five 1933-1934 Chicago World's Fair Homes is that they be open to the public once a year for tours.

* Armco-Ferro House: Designed by Robert Smith Jr. for the American Rolling Mill Co. and the Ferro Enamel Corp. to showcase porcelain enamel for residential construction. It was the first to use frameless steel construction and an exterior of enamel and is the only house that followed the concept of affordable mass production. The home arrived in Beverly Shores on June 9, 1935. It is being restored by Christoph Lichtenfeld of Chicago.

* Florida Tropical House: Designed by architect Robert Law Weed for Florida's World's Fair Commission. Designed to take advantage of the outdoors, the roof is an open air deck. Unique to the house were cantilevered overhangs, an aluminum open string stairway and matching aluminum pipe railings. Its design also called for poured concrete walls. The home arrived in Beverly Shores in April 1935 and is being restored by Bill Beatty of Munster.

* House of Tomorrow: Designed by architect George Fred Keck for Century Homes of Chicago. This house was the centerpiece of the Home and Industrial Arts Group. The first floor included utilities and an airplane hangar, while the second, octagonal shaped floor was the living area with movable walls. The top floor is a conservatory and roof deck. The house was sided in glass and used solar heat and air conditioning. The house arrived in Beverly Shores in April 1935. Currently, restoration work on the home has halted and the Historic Landmarks Foundation is looking for someone to step in and take over the project.

* Rostone House: Designed by Walter Scholer for Rostone Inc. of Lafayette, Ind. The house showcased Rostone, a new synthetic building material of shale and limestone waste that could be produced in a variety of colors. It also was used on the fireplace mantle inside. Besides the large, open entry foyer, the centerpiece of the home is a second-floor solarium flanked by two roof decks. The house arrived in Beverly Shores on June 9, 1935, and is being restored by Chicagoan Ross Gambril.

* Cypress Log Cabin: Designed by architect Murray D. Hetherington for the Southern Cypress Manufacturer's Association. The cabin and guest house were built to showcase the many uses of cypress. The house was used as a display space to promote cypress while the guest house (which is connected to the main house today) was used as a workshop. The house was adorned with a variety of cypress carvings and decorations, none of which were recreated when the home arrived in Beverly Shores on Dec. 23, 1934. It has been restored and is being lived in by Flint and Jamie Alm.

Comments

I grew up in Beverly Shores. So wish I could be there to attend this. Fond memories of many a party at the House of Tomorrow when Mary Miller (the coolest dame ever) used to own it.

Went on the tour this past Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, and was not disappointed. How interesting and how dedicated the people who are doing the restoration must be. I want to go again next year to see the progress. I hope that be next year, work will have commenced on the House of Tomorrow. It's really nice that these homes are open, even just once a year, for the public to see and enjoy.