A rare and historic Lustron home in Arlington is for sale (click here for the listing), and Preservation Arlington is concerned that it is vulnerable to demolition, which would erase another part of Arlington’s architectural history.
In the buoyant years after the end of World War II, an enterprising man named Carl Strandlund envisioned a new kind of home for modern families: the Lustron. These prefabricated, all-steel houses were considered marvels of modern efficiency and style, and advertisements called them “The House America’s Been Waiting For.” Orders poured into Strandlund’s company, the Lustron Corporation in Columbus, Ohio, and more than 2,500 Lustrons were built nationwide. (Because of financing and other hurdles, the company folded in 1950.)
Unfortunately, today Lustron homes are disappearing, as the modest houses are subject to tear-downs in rapidly developing areas like Arlington. Of the 11 Lustron homes that once stood in Arlington, only four houses now remain. Lustrons have repeatedly appeared on Preservation Arlington’s (formerly the Arlington Heritage Alliance’s) annual lists of Arlington’s Most Endangered Historic Places. (Another Lustron from Arlington is now the centerpiece of a highly acclaimed exhibit at the Ohio Historical Society called 1950s: Building the American Dream. And Lustrons in other states have been recognized and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.)
The Lustron that is now for sale would benefit from a preservation-minded new owner who can appreciate its unique history. According to the listing, the location is walking distance to “schools, a library, grocery store, loads of restaurants and night life, and everything that Columbia Pike has to offer.”