The Legacy of Modern Housing

While most of the buildings at all the fairs were designed and constructed to last only one season or two, many fair buildings—especially the model houses—had a lasting impression on fairgoers.  Designing Tomorrow curators have heard of many people who visited the  fairs, toured model houses, and subsequently built replicas to live in—some of which still stand today.  We included two such stories within the exhibition (including “Washington’s 1939 New York World’s Fair Home” and the “House of Steel,” currently being preserved by Connecticut College.)

However, we just heard about another replica in Wichita Falls, Texas—this time, of the Stran-Steel House that was on display at A Century of Progress in Chicago.

Stran-Steel House brochure

Stran-Steel House brochure, page 23. University of Chicago Library, Special Collections Research Center.

According to current homeowner Pete D’Acosta:

“A woman named Margaret Bowen (and her husband) saw the Stran-Steel home of the future at the 1933 Fair.  She came home, wrote a letter to Stran-Steel, bought the blue prints for $8.00 $15.00 and set out to build a “colony” of homes in a new neighborhood in Wichita Falls.  Her plan was to build every one of the homes on display at the Fair, but this Stran-Steel home proved so difficult, this was the only home she completed.”

Pete sent us a few photographs of his house as it stands today as an illustration of the legacy of the modern houses that were so memorable at the fairs:

Wichita Falls Stran-Steel House front.

Courtesy Pete D'Acosta.

Wichita Falls Stran-Steel House back.

Courtesy Pete D'Acosta.

Thanks for sharing your story, Pete!

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2 Responses to The Legacy of Modern Housing

  1. Pingback: The Legacy of Modern Housing, part two | Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s

  2. Carol Abrams says:

    It’s a handsome house.

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