x roundedx circlex wordpress circlewordpress roundedwordpress phone circlephone roundedphone yelp roundedyelp circleyelp circlevsco roundedvsco vsco fa-chevron-up circlesnapwire roundedsnapwire snapwire roundedemail email circleemail 500px behance blogger circle500px circlebehance circleblogger circledribbble circlefacebook circleflickr circlegoogleplus circlehouzz circleinstagram circlelinkedin circlepinterest circletumblr circletwitterbird circlevimeo circleyoutube clickbooq_infinity dribbble facebook flickr googleplus houzz instagram linkedin pinterest rounded500px roundedbehance roundedblogger roundeddribbble roundedfacebook roundedflickr roundedgoogleplus roundedhouzz roundedinstagram roundedlinkedin roundedpinterest roundedtumblr roundedtwitterbird roundedvimeo roundedyoutube tumblr twitterbird vimeo youtube


Finding Connecticut Lustrons

C.B. Homes, Inc., headquarteered in New Haven, was the exclusive dealer for the construction and sale of Lustron homes for the entire state of Connecticut.  It began erecting Lustrons in late 1948, with the first one at what is now 2029 Whitney Avenue in North Haven.  Connecticut eagerly greeted "The House America Has Been Waiting For," and by May of 1949, over 100,000 people toured this model home, which was furnished by Bullard's Department Store in New Haven.

There were obstacles to meeting the resulting demand.  Building codes in Connecticut's 169 municipalities varied greatly, and, at that time, many did not contemplate metal construction of residential housing, having homes built on concrete slabs, and the use of pre-assembled components.

The availability of financing was also a major impediment.  The Lustron dealer had to pay upfront for each house kit before it was shipped from the factory.  So, at any one time, C.B. Homes could only build the number of houses it had the money to finance.  Stanley Crute, President of C.B. Homes, said it wanted to erect 30 houses a month but couldn't raise the construction money.

Almost all of the Connecticut Lustrons were the Westerchester Deluxe Model, by far the most popular in the Lustron line.  Based on available information, the final cost of a Connecticut Lustron, inclusive of the lot, site preparation, house kit with delivery, and assembly costs was $10,000-$12,000.

There are no records that show the actual number of Lustrons built in Connecticut, nor any Lustron company or dealer lists of locations.  According to a Lustron Corporation Fact Sheet, a total of 42 house kits were delivered in Connecticut by the end of 1949.  At that time, it appears that C.B. Homes had additional orders that were fulfilled while Lustron production and deliveries continued to May of 1950.

The  team of  Angie Hein, Mary Moran, and Gregg Bateman, working together, has confirmed the locations of 50 Lustron homes in Connecticut.  One Connecticut newspaper article from 1950 indicates that "about" 50 Lustrons had been built in Connecticut.  So the list on this website may be all or almost all of them.

Their search started with the 31 locations listed in the "Directory of Known Lustron Homes by State" compiled by Thomas Fetters in his book "The Lustron Home" published in 2002.  Several of these had incorrect or incomplete street addresses or incorrect town names, however.  Ones listed in Stratford and Plainville have not been found.

Internet websites, online forums and blog posts, contemporaneous Connecticut newspaper articles about Lustron construction, updates from the Fetters family, and information from others interested in architecture provided additional tips and actual location information.  Sometimes starting with only a town name mentioned in a newspaper article, the team used Google map tools, aerial photographs, and Sanborn fire maps, along with town assessor and land records to track down actual Lustron locations.

The Sanborn fire maps were of particular value since "iron buildings" are identified with gray color-coding so that are easy to spot.  While not all "iron buildings" are Lustrons (one was a Quonset hut built in 1925!), all Lustrons are "iron buildings."  Unfortunately, not all Connecticut towns were mapped, and of those that were, sometimes the maps weren't updated through 1950 and/or not all sections of towns were included.

Of the 50 Connecticut Lustrons that have been located, 19 have been razed.  In many cases, this has occurred because the lots they were built on have become much more valuable than the modest-sized Lustron homes.

Of the 31 still standing, 18 have the original porcelain enamel siding panels and 20 have the original enamel-on-steel roof tiles.  Siding and/or roof replacement have often occurred not because of material failure but for aesthetic reasons.

None of the Connecticut Lustrons are listed on the Connecticut State Register of Historic Places nor on the National Register of Historic Places.  However, Lustrons in other states are listed on various state historic property lists and on local historical society inventories of historic structures.  Some are also on the National Register as "property associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history" and/or as property that "embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction..."

Thanks to Preservation Connecticut and to Dave Smith, Diane Lee, Ed Suarto, and Michael Murphy at Connecticut preservation partner organizations, and to the Assessor Office staffs in Connecticut towns, especially those in Stamford, North Haven, Darien, Easton, Bolton, Beacon Falls, Cheshire, Farmington, and Fairfield, for all of their help in tracking down the Connecticut Lustron locations.