Place

Century of Progress District

Aerial view looking south from the Lake at the Century of Progress Homes.
Aerial view of the Century of Progress Historic District

NPS Photo / C. Dillion

Quick Facts

Beach/Water Access, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto

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

Over 85 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.

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.

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.

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 and the houses have been leased by the non-profit organization 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.

Indiana Dunes National Park

Last updated: September 23, 2020