February 22, 2019

Preservation Personals: The House of Tomorrow Is Available Today

The House of Tomorrow in its heyday.

photo by: Wisconsin Historical Society

Indiana Dunes National Park, 46360.

My distinct details—glass walls, an open floor plan arranged around a central staircase, a General Electric dishwasher, an “iceless refrigerator,” and a hangar (for the family airplane, of course)—were far-off dreams when I was built for the 1933-34 World’s Fair in Chicago, years before Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson debuted their own glass houses. My architect, George Frederick Keck, was a visionary. He called me the House of Tomorrow, and most of my promises for the future have come to pass. Just repurpose the hangar.

Now that tomorrow’s caught up with me, I’m ready to be your home—well, almost. You can’t move in just yet: I’ve deteriorated a lot in the last few decades. I was also picked up and moved to Indiana with four other houses built for the Century of Progress exhibition. Yes, I need some TLC (about $3 million of it), but once I’m restored, you and your family can watch me glitter on the (other) shore of Lake Michigan for 50 years.

The idea isn't to buy me outright: I’m owned by the National Park Service, and they lease me to Indiana Landmarks, a preservation nonprofit. Instead, you can submit a proposal to restore me, and if accepted, you’ll be able to sign a 50-year sublease to live right in the middle of America’s newest national park, Indiana Dunes.

If you’re excited to take on the adventure of restoring and preserving a fascinating home, you’ll fit right in with the neighborhood. The occupants of the four other homes in the historic district will be delighted to see me fixed up. And once a year, you and your neighbors will collaborate with those groups to open me up along with my siblings to the public for Indiana Landmarks’ consistently sold-out tour.

If you want to participate in the preservation of a national treasure, I’m the house for you. I’m not just saying that: The National Trust designated me a National Treasure in 2016.

To learn more, visit my listing. If you’re looking for a less ambitious project or traditional ownership, see other historic listings here.

The view of the House of Tomorrow from the street level.

photo by: Cynthia Lynn

My glass needs to be replaced. When I was first built, the sunlight streaming in the windows routinely overheated me.

The House of Tomorrow overlooks Lake Michigan.

photo by: Indiana Landmarks

I overlook the scenic expanse of Lake Michigan.

Emma Sarappo is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. She can be found writing or in the kitchen of her century-old DC rowhouse.

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