Lustron Home #02102
Also known as: Westchester 02 Deluxe model2009 Williams Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
+41.96881, -91.7008941°58'08" N, 91°42'03" W
Quadrangle map:Cedar Rapids South
Lustron houses are prefabricated enameled steel houses developed in the post-World War II era United States in response to the shortage of houses for returning GIs. The low maintenance, extremely durable, baked on porcelain enamel finish was expected to attract modern families who might not have the time or interest in repairing and painting conventional wood and plaster houses.
In January 1947, the newly formed Lustron Corporation announced that it had received a $12.5-million Reconstruction Finance Corporation loan to manufacture mass-produced prefabricated homes that featured enamel-coated steel panels (U.S. Patent 2,416,240). Led by Chicago industrialist and inventor Carl Strandlund, who had worked with constructing prefabricated gas stations, Lustron offered a home that would "defy weather, wear, and time."
Strandlund's Lustron Corporation, a division of the Chicago Vitreous Enamel Corporation, set out to construct 15,000 homes in 1947 and 30,000 in 1948. From its plant in Columbus, Ohio (the former Curtiss-Wright factory), the corporation eventually constructed around 3,000 Lustron homes between 1948 and 1950. The houses sold for between $8,500 and $9,500, according to a March 1949 article in the Columbus Dispatch—about 25 percent less than comparable conventional housing. By November 1949, however, a Lustron's average selling price had come up to $10,500.
Most of the known Lustron houses were constructed in 36 of the United States including Alaska. However, some were constructed in Venezuela, South America for families of oil industry employees.
Billed as a way to maximize pleasure and minimize work, Lustron advertising contended that the Lustron home would create a "new and richer experience for the entire family," where "Mother . . . has far more hours," the "youngsters . . . have fewer worries," and there would be "far more leisure for Dad." How this would be accomplished with just a choice of housing was not clarified.
National Register information
- Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on August 25, 2004
- Reference number
- Architectural style
- Other architectural type; Lustron
- Area of significance
- Level of significance
- Evaluation criteria
- C - Design/Construction
- Property type
- Historic function
- Single dwelling
- Current function
- Single dwelling
- Period of significance
- Significant year
- Number of properties
- Contributing buildings: 1
Non-contributing buildings: 1
- June 9, 2013: New Street View added by Dave King
- May 12, 2013: Updated by Dave King: Added description
- May 12, 2013: New photo from Dave King