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Lustron!

Without question the most plentiful building type in Agincourt and its satellite communities is housing, the vast majority of it single-family. And among those hundreds of houses will be an amazing array of historical styles. One that I especially hope for is the Lustron.

The Lustron home was on my radar at about the age of six or seven, certainly by eight or ten. Jerry Rasmussen, on of my grade school classmates, lived in one. His dad was president of the local bank, and the Rasmussens lived in the newer post-WWII side of Bedford Park, a Chicago suburban where I was born. While I may not have played there very much, the hard enamel and exposed concrete slab seemed unusual—especially given the very orthodox wood-framed 1920s house I lived in with my parents and grandparents. Some of you not acquainted with the Lustron phenomenon may enjoy this mini history lesson, though I’m writing this from an increasingly faulty memory.

After WWII, an airplane assembly line in Ohio—necessary for the war effort but now out of commission—was available for purchase. Someone with the prematurely bright idea that the American building industry might profit from an assembly-line process acquired the plant with the idea of mass-marketing single-family homes. Major urban areas might have a Lustron franchises, a showroom to display the product and a skilled crew ready to assemble one on your lot. Shipped from the factory on a flatbed truck, all the components of a complete two- or three-bedroom home arrived ready for assembly on your concrete slab.

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Fargo-Moorhead have a half dozen in varying states of intact-ness; several others are scattered about the region. I’ve seen them in Wadena, MN, Devlis Lake, ND and even Murdo, South Dakota, whose only (other) claim to fame is changing your watch while crossing into another time zone. Wondering if there were many Lustrons in Iowa, the internet has generously provided a list of well over a hundred. So the addition of one in Agincourt is not only logical, it’s a sure thing.

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This image if a Lustron located in Cedar Rapids,  but there is one much closer to Agincourt at the northwest corner of Cayuga and Maple Streets in Pomeroy, IA.


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