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News March 2017

Closter, NJ seeks architect for Lustron House preservation

March 25, 2017

There is new momentum in the effort to preserve the Lustron house in Closter, NJ, which we first reported on in September 2015. On March 8, Closter’s Borough Council approved a resolution to authorize a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a preservation architect and/or architectural historian to create a preservation plan. The RFP is available for download here. A $25,000 grant from the NJ Historic Preservation Office will help fund the work. 

Lustron homes were developed by Carl Strandlund, a Swedish-born American inventor and entrepreneur, as an affordable model of pre-fabricated homes to meet postwar housing needs. In 1947, Strandlund formed the Lustron Corporation and received an initial $12.5 million loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) to begin production. Almost 2,500 homes were produced and sold between 1948 and 1950. They were considered innovative for their steel framing, enameled steel paneling inside and out, and open floor plan. The venture eventually proved unprofitable and the RFC foreclosed on the company, leaving over 8,000 home orders unfulfilled. Approximately 1,500 Lustron homes remain standing today. The Closter Lustron house was saved from demolition when it was gifted to the borough as part of a developer’s deal to purchase a neighboring property.

Closter seeks architect for Lustron House preservation,” NorthJersey.com, March 10, 2017. 

Photos courtesy NJ Historic Preservation Office