Preservationists in Illinois and Indiana want to save the “House of the Tomorrow” and restore it to its glory days of the past.
Officials from the National Trust for Historic Preservation on Wednesday designed the house as a national treasure and announced a partnership with the preservation group Indiana Landmarks to restore the building, an undertaking that is estimated to cost $2 million.
“This one is really a great work of American modernism and you don’t see it now because it’s been in declining condition,” said Indiana Landmarks president Marsh Davis.
The “House of Tomorrow” is one of five structures showcased at Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition in 1933, where more than a million people paid an addition 10 cents to look inside the house, according to the National Trust. Designed by architect George Fred Keck, the 12-sided, steel-framed structure included floor to ceiling glass walls, central air, and the first electric dishwasher, the trust said. It became a source of influence for famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who designed Chicago’s Federal Plaza.
The homes were later moved to Beverly Shores, Indiana with the hopes that they would transform the town into a vacation getaway for Chicago residents, the trust said.
Four are currently in great condition, but the fifth needs work. Davis said once the $2 million restoration is complete, the “House of Tomorrow” will be available to lease on the condition that it will be open to the public four times a year.
Yolanda Perdomo is a reporter with WBEZ. You can follow her at @yolandanews.