Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Family Photo—The Lustron

I love the Lustron, I really do. There are many in Mt. Morris, IL where I graduated from high school, and my grandparents owned one. They are beautifully designed and very functional. But they were the Solyndra of the 1940s--a federal government boondoggle that ran into problems with the local housing codes, unions, and an over priced product that eventually failed. They live on today.

[Carl] Strandlund knew a major investment would be required to achieve the efficiencies necessary for financial success, so he heavily lobbied the federal government for support. The Truman administration saw the potential of his concept and, in 1947, helped him secure a $15.5 million dollar loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, a government agency formed to assist industry during the Depression. In addition, Strandlund got the keys to a million-square-foot former Curtiss-Wright plant next to the Columbus airport. It was an unprecedented government venture into the housing industry, but, according to Knerr, that fact actually gave the project greater credibility and notoriety.

Unlike this story reports, there was no post-WWII housing shortage. Housing was taken off the market with government regulations, and that created the shortage which created a housing and mortgage boom.


My grandparents enjoying the porch on the Lustron.

Fred, Pam, Lorrie, Jenny, Ron

My cousins Pam, Ron, Fred, Jenny Sue, and Lorrie in front of the Lustron owned by their grandparents.

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