HOPE Crew Works with LaPorte County Students to Preserve the House of Tomorrow

July 5, 2022 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

The House of Tomorrow, located in Indiana Dunes National Park in Indiana, was constructed in 1933 as part of the World’s Fair in Chicago. This gleaming, technology-driven vision of what domestic life could be in the future was a part of the 1933-34 Century of Progress Exposition attended by more than 39 million people (about twice the population of New York).

After the fair, the House of Tomorrow (and four other houses) were shipped to Indiana. It has sat vacant and deteriorating since 1999.

As part of the work to preserve the House of Tomorrow, in May 2022, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s HOPE (Hands-On Preservation Experience) Crew program coordinated a cabinetry restoration project funded by Indiana Landmarks, and in partnership with the youth serving program LaPorte County Career & Technical Education Center, Indiana Dunes National Park, and trades expert Ann Swigart.

A group of people wearing t-shirts with the word HOPE Crew on them standing underneath a hexagonal shaped house.

photo by: Cliff Zenor

HOPE Crew at House of Tomorrow in Indiana.

Under Swigart’s tutelage, the students worked to remove rust, prime, and paint the cabinetry inside the House of Tomorrow in preparation for putting the home on sale with a 90-year lease. The National Trust’s partnership with Indiana Landmarks and the generous donation from the Efroymson Family Fund allowed the HOPE Crew team to train eleven students from LaPorte CCT, encouraging a sense of pride in their local history.

Dick Bucher, construction technology instructor at the LaPorte County Career & Technical Education Center, mused, “We live in a society of ‘disposable,’ ‘throw away,’ and ‘focus on to the new shiny object.’ Hopefully now my students will appreciate the value of history, the importance of history, and the appreciation of restoration.”

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