A museum in Columbus, Ohio has a piece of post-World War II Arlington history.
Technically, more than one piece — almost an entire enameled steel, prefabricated two-bedroom, one-bathroom house that originally stood in the Columbia Forest neighborhood. In 2011, Arlington County donated the home, a prefabricated steel Lustron house, to the Ohio History Connection (OHC).
Eight years after the museum rebuilt the house and put it on public display, it is looking to get rid of some parts it did not end up incorporating, like a bathroom vanity, trusses and a heating unit, per a county report. It’s offering first dibs to the Arlington County Board, which it has to do, per the terms of the donation a decade ago.
County staff recommend the Board refuse the offer, arguing that the museum is in a better position to place these pieces with other Lustron homeowners, who are mostly in the Midwest. Plus, staff say, the county already has some panelling salvaged from other Lustron homes.
“The proximity of the OHC to a robust network of Lustron Homes and owners in Ohio and beyond provides a better-suited opportunity for these historic items to be feasibly reused,” per a county report.
Arlington County had struggled for years to figure out what to do with this home, which came into its possession about 15 years ago.
Advertised as “the house America is talking about,” several thousand Lustron houses were produced between 1948-1950. Eleven were built in Arlington, giving the county the distinction of having the largest quantity in the D.C. area, per a 2006 board report.
Due to their small size and unusual construction, they “are are at great risk for demolition and are becoming increasingly rare,” according to the report.
By 2005, only six remained in Arlington — and the one in the best condition was Clifford Krowne’s 1,805-square-foot “Westchester Deluxe 02” model in “dove gray.” That year, he told the county he intended to raze the home and redevelop his property, but he offered to delay those plans if the county wanted to preserve the house but put it somewhere else.
The county agreed to pay $18,500 to have a contractor disassemble it. Plans to reassemble it in the Arlington Heights neighborhood never transpired, so it sat in storage in Chantilly, costing the county $4,800 a year, for five years, save for a brief moment of celebrity in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art.
Then, staff found a recipient: the Ohio history society.
“Though the OHC maintains the official Lustron corporate archives in its collection, the organization did not yet own an actual Lustron Home,” according to the 2022 board report. “The OHC agreed to assume all associated costs for shipping the house from Chantilly to Columbus and was eager to use the home for educational and interpretive purposes.”
If the County Board approves the refusal, the last pieces of Arlington’s post-World War II history will go to Lustron homeowners whose homes remain a testament to everything prefabricated homes represented.
“The design and manufacture of Lustrons aimed not just to satisfy an overwhelming and immediate need for affordable housing, but to raise the quality of living for middle-class Americans,” according to the county report. “Lustrons were ingenious not only in their materials, but also for their open floor plan, space-saving built-in cabinetry, and maintenance-free and fireproof all steel construction.”
The Arlington Historical Society is separately in talks with the Ohio museum about taking some pieces, the County Board report notes.
Fully updated; remodeled Bas; open family room w/vaulted ceiling; 1-car garage
Good Thursday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
A look at the smallest and largest homes sold in Arlington last month, October 2023.
A former board president of Arlington Aquatic Club is set to go to trial next year for child pornography and sexual coercion charges, according to court documents.
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!
This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 24th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to 10 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garland, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.
100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.
For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at https://optimistclubofarlingtonva.org/.
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to
2023 Christmas Tree Sales Begin
Saturday, December 2
Get your holiday decorating off to the right start this year! We will be selling 150 Fraser firs, freshly cut and delivered from Sparta, North Carolina.