1933 Chicago World's Fair Century of Progress Homes

Ranger led tour at the Florida Tropical House
A Ranger led tour at the Florida Tropical house.

Edwin Alcox

 

Century of Progress Homes Tour
Sponsored by Indiana Landmarks

The tour is held anually on the last weekend of September
Tickets go on sale early in August and usually sell out within an hour


For information on the exact tour date, ticket sale date, pricing, and all other information, please visit Indiana Landmarks' website.

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, sponsored by Indiana Landmarks in partnership with the National Park Service.

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.

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) (2018 prices, subject to change).

 
A Century of Progress - The 1933 World's Fair Homes

Over 70 years of wind, sand, and surf have battered the five World's Fair houses located along Lake Front Drive in Beverly Shores, but their uniqueness has weathered the elements. With the theme of a Century of Progress, the houses were built for the 1933 Chicago World's Fair to demonstrate modern architectural design, experimental materials, and new technologies such as central air conditioning and dishwashers.

Four of the houses were brought to the dunes by barge in 1935 by real estate developer Robert Bartlett. The Cypress Log Cabin was dismantled at the fair and moved by truck. Bartlett hoped that the high profile houses would entice buyers to his new resort community of Beverly Shores. Today the houses are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The houses have been leased Indiana Landmarks. Through this organization, private individuals or families have leased the homes and are rehabilitating them. Please respect these agreements by not trespassing on the properties.

Wieboldt-Rostone House
Florida Tropical House
Cypress Log Cabin
House of Tomorrow
Armco-Ferro House

Last updated: July 22, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304

Phone:

(219) 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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