Saturday, September 28, 2019
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Central Time (timed entry)
Indiana Dunes National Park Visitor Center
1215 Indiana 49
Porter, IN 46304
Please note this event is sold out. Join the waitlist at centuryofprogresstour19.eventbrite.com
The 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago—called the Century of Progress—offered millions of people in the depths of the Great Depression a hopeful vision that highlighted futuristic changes on the horizon. Developer Robert Bartlett brought a dozen buildings from the fair including five from the Homes and Industrial Arts housing exhibit that make up the Century of Progress Historic District. The buildings were moved by barge and truck to Beverly Shores, a resort community he was developing on the Indiana shore of Lake Michigan. You can visit the cluster of five landmarks on the annual Century of Progress home tour on Saturday, September 28, sponsored by Indiana Landmarks in partnership with the National Park Service and Dunes National Park Association.
The tour admits you to the first floor of the Florida Tropical, Rostone, Armco-Ferro and Cypress houses. As you can tell by their names, the houses at the fair promoted products for residential living—Florida’s beachy appeal, and artificial stone, enameled steel, and cypress wood as building materials.
Four of the five houses looked wildly modern in 1933, so ahead of their time that they remain modern looking today. The Cypress House, honoring its material, looks like a rustic log cabin, albeit with modern amenities. To save the structures, Indiana Landmarks leased them from the National Park Service, then subleased four to people who have restored them in exchange for long-term leases.
You’ll also tour the House of Tomorrow (declared a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation) in its dilapidated state. Indiana Landmarks is currently accepting proposals for the property’s restoration and long-term lease.
The tour lasts a little over two hours and is guided by park rangers and volunteers who will provide histories and architectural overviews at each property. For a deeper immersion, come on Friday evening, September 27 to hear talks on the Century of Progress, the houses and their restoration.
Because there is no parking available in the historic district, your timed entry ticket includes shuttle transportation to the district from the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, 1215 North State Road 49, Porter, IN, 46304. The private homes are clustered together on either side of Lake Front Drive within easy walking distance of one another.
Touring the historic homes requires walking and climbing stairs. If you require accommodation, please call Indiana Landmarks’ Northern Regional Office, 574-232-4534.
Tickets cost $35/person, ($30/member of Indiana Landmarks or Dunes National Park Association).