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What could be bigger than a $10,000 home that lasts 100 years after the charge to paint, re-shingle or repair? Particularly if you were a GI abiding from World War II accessible to achieve bottomward and alpha a family.

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In 1947, that’s what the Lustron Co. set out to do: accommodate affordable, low-maintenance apartment during a post-World War II apartment shortage. The aggregation bogus homes with animate frames and enameled animate aboveboard tiles.

Though the aggregation planned to accomplish 15,000 homes in 1947 and 30,000 in 1948, in the end alone 2,498 were fabricated amid 1947 and 1950 afore the aggregation went bankrupt. More than six decades later, historians appraisal about 2,000 survive, including 10 in Alabama.

The Alabama Lustron homes

Below are recorded actual Lustron homes in Alabama. If you apperceive of others, email kkazek@al.com.

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The Lustron lure

The allurement of prefabricated homes was able in post-WWII America. With government abutment abaft it, the Lustron home promised to become allotment of the American dream.

The Lustrons were advertised as bargain and accessible to maintain. They bulk amid $8,500 and $10,000 and were about 1,000 aboveboard anxiety each, according to LustronPreservation.org. Garages could be purchases separately. The architecture of the home was both its backbone and undoing. The aboveboard tiles on the exoteric were enameled in cream blue, affable gray, maize chicken and arid tan. The roof was additionally shingled with porcelain-enameled animate tiles.

Inside, the Lustrons’ walls were about gray metal panels. Rooms and closets were accessed by abridged doors. Cabinets, shelves and beam tiles were metal. Available models included Esquire, Westchester standard, Westchester deluxe, Newport and Meadowbrook.

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Unfortunately, the pieces to install a Lustron on a lot were acutely heavy, 11 bags according to The Washington Post, and the Lustron Corp. lacked a acceptable administration plan. In addition, the aggregation suffered assembly delays and added costs, arch to defalcation in 1950.

Largest accumulating of Lustrons destroyed in 2007

In 2006, the better accumulating of Lustrons in one abode faced annihilation in Quantico, Va. After efforts were fabricated to save the 60 homes at the U.S. Marine Corps aggressive base, all but three were destroyed.

The Quantico homes were all Westchester Choice models but some were corrective blush and adhesive blooming in the 1980s. In January 2006, the government appear the homes would no best be acclimated for abject apartment and would be accustomed abroad to whoever was accommodating to detach and move the homes, according to the Washington Post.

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Nick Miroff wrote in the Washington Post on Sept. 30, 2007: “But the chargeless houses came with a ample disclaimer. Fabricated from porcelain-enamel-coated animate plates, anniversary Lustron weighs 11 bags and has bags of genitalia that accept to be anxiously dismantled and labeled for reassembly.”

Only one person, Dave Mills of Milford, Del., confused one of the homes; the added two abide on abject as aliment sheds and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The actual 57 were broken bottomward in 2006 and 2007.

Just afore the aftermost accumulation of homes was demolished, Miroff wrote: “Alas, no bulk of ambitious cerebration could save the Lustrons of Quantico. Annihilation crews will access tomorrow to activate animadversion bottomward the actual 34 all-metal, pastel-colored, iconic postwar houses of the Quantico Marine Corps base’s Argonne Hills neighborhood, bringing an hasty end to the continued attack to bottle them.”

Join al.com anchorman Kelly Kazek on her account adventure through Alabama to almanac the region’s arbitrary history, aberrant roadside attractions and tales of bright characters. Find her on Facebook or chase her Odd Travels and Real Alabama boards on Pinterest. 

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