Future bleak for House of Tomorrow
By Carole Carlson firstname.lastname@example.org/648-3154 April 29, 2012 7:00PM
The circular House of Tomorrow from the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago continues to deteriorate. Indiana Landmarks has placed it on it's 2012 Most Endangered list. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
2012 Indiana Historic Landmarks
10 Most Endangered List
New on the list
The American House, Centerville
Harmony Way Bridge, between New Harmony and White County, Ill.
House of Tomorrow, Beverly Shores
Masonic Temple, Jeffersonville
Old Clarksville site, Clarksville
The Pantheon, Vincennes
T.G. Wilkinson House, Muncie
Repeating from 2011 list
Sylvan Springs, Rome City
Taggart Memorial, Riverside Park, Indianapolis
Tyson Auditorium, Versailles
Updated: June 1, 2012 8:10AM
BEVERLY SHORES — The town’s House of Tomorrow may not have a future.
Indiana Landmarks Foundation has placed the wedding cake-looking structure at 241 W. Lake Front Drive on its 2012 Most Endangered list, announced Sunday.
Built for Chicago’s 1933 World’s Fair, also known as the Century of Progress, the three-story, 12-sided house held together by a framework of steel, showcased walls of glass, air-conditioning, a dishwasher and electric “eyes” to open kitchen and garage doors.
Historic Landmarks officials called them “wild, futuristic ideas,” for 1933. The house, designed by Chicago architect George Fred Keck, who would later become a pioneer in solar heating, also had a garage bay for the family airplane in the spirit of the fair’s futuristic theme.
After 50 million fairgoers viewed the home at a site now known as Northerly Island park, Chicago real estate developer Robert Bartlett moved five of the fair homes by barge across Lake Michigan to Beverly Shores to sites now within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park along Lake Michigan.
Bartlett paid $2,500 for the House of Tomorrow, which features a floor to ceiling “curtain wall.” The solar winter heat gain disproved doubting engineers who felt the house would lose heat.
However, the glass walls made it tough to air condition and the system failed. Bartlett replaced the glass walls with windows that opened for air circulation.
The national park and the Historic Landmarks Foundation entered into a formal agreement in 1996 to protect and maintain the houses through a long-term residential leasing program.
Battered by 70 years of sand and wind, four of the homes have been restored, but the House of Tomorrow, considered the most important and deteriorated of the five, is still awaiting a tenant to tackle its restoration.
Town Council President Geof Benson said he’s hoping someone will step forward and adopt the famous house.
“The town is very proud of its historic World’s Fair homes,” said Benson. “I’m trying to find out the details so I can sell the idea.”
The five homes were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Meanwhile, the Historic Landmarks Foundation has removed St. John’s Hospital in Gary from the list. It said the prospects for the hospital built in 1929 at 22nd Avenue and Massachusetts Street to treat blacks in Gary’s Midtown neighborhood, had improved.