Photo: House of Tomorrow, ca. 1933, 241 Lake Front Drive, Beverly Shores, IN. An early example of the work of architect George Fred Keck, and as a record of the effects of European modernism on American architecture in the 1930s. The Century of Progress Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Photographed by Jack E. Boucher, 1994, Historic American Buildings Survey [HABS IN-243], memory.loc.gov, accessed February, 2014.
The Century of Progress Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from the Historic American Buildings Survey project that was undertaken in 1993-1994. [HABS IN-239.]
Location: Beverly Shores, Porter County, Indiana. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore surrounds the town, whose boundaries extend east-west between Derby and Montana avenues and north-south from Lake Front to Beverly drives.
Present Owner: The remaining structures are owned by the National Park Service and the community of Beverly Shores.
Present Use: Beverly Shores is an operating town. Excluding though, the Century of Progress houses which are park owned and under Reservation of Use and Occupancy agreements. The last of these agreements expire in 2005.
Significance: The Chicago Century of Progress Exposition opened in May of 1933 directed by the theme of science and its role in industrial advancement. Within the Home and Industrial Arts Group were model houses which featured modern materials, building methods and innovative home appliances, including the Armco-Ferro-Mayflower, Wieboldt-Rostone and Florida Tropical Houses, and the House of Tomorrow. All utilized new techniques of design, Construction and prefabrication in an attempt to bring the out-of-date housing industry into line with more efficient manufacturing practices such as those used by the auto industry.
At the close of the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago, sixteen houses from the Century of Progress exhibit were purchased by real estate developer Robert Bartlett and transferred to his subdivision at Beverly Shores, Indiana. Ten of the buildings, from the fair's Colonial Village, represented important structures in American history. These included icons such as the Old North Church (see photos), Mount Vernon, and the House of Seven Gables. Currently, five of the original houses still remain and are owned by the National Park Service.
Chicago Century of Progress Exposition
The two-season Chicago Century of Progress Exposition, focusing on industrial progress, was planned in times of prosperity but executed in the midst of the Depression. The fair opened on May 27, 1933 as a sign of belief in an improved future. Originally scheduled to run through November 12, 1933, it was extended for a second season in order to pay outstanding debts to its bondholders. An expanded and more commercial version of the 1933 fair opened May 26, 1934, and closed permanently on October 31, 1934. All in all, 39 million people (twenty-two million paying customers) viewed the exposition that included eighty-two miles of exhibits laid out on 424 acres of land.
The exposition was organized around the theme of science and its role in industrial progress. As Lenox Riley Lohr, general manager of the exposition wrote in 1952, the fair was meant to dramatize "the progress of civilization during the hundred years of Chicago's existence" and was to illustrate the success of a city "whose entire life had been passed within this remarkable century, one in which the application of science to industry had brought profound changes in both the economic and cultural structure." All of the exhibits, including the Home and Industrial Arts Group, were to illustrate the effects that pure science has had on the progress of the United States.
The fair was subdivided into groups celebrating progress in transportation, the basic sciences, electricity, agriculture, communications, and the social sciences. In the minds of the fairs creators, the Home and Industrial Arts group was closely related to advances in social science. The Official Guide Book notes, "Though not technically a part of the Social Science group, a culminating chapter of the story could center in Home Planning Hall, and in the homes which make up the housing section of the Fair." The emphasis on modern materials, new building techniques, and innovative home appliances further stressed the connection between scientific progress and improved human behavior.
While concentrating on the progress made in Chicago since the city's founding, the fair maintained an international flavor. Italy, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Japan and others contributed displays of scientific progress as well as examples of native culture. In addition, concessionaires built commercial villages feeding the popular imagination with stereotypical images of foreign cities. In 1934 Holabird and Root's Streets of Paris and Daniel Burnham's Belgian Village, two successful foreign theme villages from the 1933 season, were joined by the Streets of Shanghai, the Black Forest, the Tunisian Village and twelve other loose interpretations of life in foreign lands.
The carnival atmosphere encouraged in the commercial villages extended to exhibits grouped under the theme of "Fun and Special Attractions. These included a skyride with rocket-shaped passenger cars, an aviation show, a Goodyear blimp display, and a motion picture studio. In 1934 the "fun" aspects of the fair were taken to an extreme with displays of live babies in incubators and a specially constructed, small-scale Midget Village.
The Architectural commission was appointed in March 1928 and was responsible for determining the overall development of the site. Daniel H. Burnham, Jr. was named as Vice-president of the fair and Chief of Construction, Louis Skidmore as Chief of Design, and Joseph Urban as Color Director. Their objective was to illustrate the theme of science in the buildings that housed the exhibits. To achieve this task, the committee chose to create an asymmetrical plan with extensive use of the water areas. The members of the Commission designed a section of the fair; all but one of their buildings were constructed. The major buildings were the Administration Building by Bennett, Burnham and Holabird, the Hall of Science by Paul Cret, the Electrical Group by Raymond Hood, and the United States Government Building by Bennett and Brown. One of the most notable buildings was the Travel and Transport Building, designed by E.H. Bennett, D. Burnham and J. A. Holabird which used a suspension system to support a 200-foot wide dome.
The architectural committee decided that "for general exhibition requirements and for economy in foundations and in the use of steel, it has been determined that two-story structures are the most suitable." In addition, they encouraged steel-frame construction with exposed steel "utilized wherever possible as part of the decorative effect." They also encouraged the use of roof decks with welded pipe rail. In order to emphasize the use of scientific methods in making these selections, "various laboratory and field tests were conducted to determine the relative qualification." To illustrate these experiments, the committee published charts showing comparative costs using different materials and building configurations.
The site of the exposition extended from 12th Place to 39th Street and included Northerly Island and the lagoons. The commissioners received permission to use the site located on state park lands on April 30, 1930. At the close of the fair, improvements including roads were retained by the Park Board which housed its offices in the Exposition Administration Building until 1940. In addition, the Park retained the Lagoon Theater and replicas of Fort Dearborn and the DuSable Cabin. Currently, only the Adler planetarium, built a year before the fair opened, and the Balbo column, donated to the fair in 1933 by the Italian government remain on the site; most of the land was used to construct Meigs Field and McCormick Place shortly after the fair closed in 1934.
Planning for the 1933-34 Century of Progress Exposition began in 1926 when Mayor William E. Dever, at the request of the Chicago Historical Society and the Chicago Plan Commission, appointed a Centennial Committee of 150 members. In July 1927, the committee issued a report calling for several permanent buildings on the fair site including a hospital, a convention hall, and a sports arena. Afraid that the fair would be a financial disaster, Mayor William H. Thompson shelved the project. In November, 1927, however, it was revived and a permanent committee was appointed; in January 1928, a non-profit corporate charter was established and officers were elected. Rufus C. Dawes became President; Charles S. Peterson was elected Vice-president; Daniel H. Burnham became Secretary; and George Woodruff became Treasurer.
Financing for the Exposition came exclusively from private sources. The financial committee, under the direction of Samuel Insull and Charles G. Dawes, raised $271,400 to cover initial operating costs by selling Founder and sustaining Memberships at between $1000 and $50 each. In addition, advance memberships were sold to the public for $5.00 in exchange for ten admission tickets. The majority of the money, however, was raised by selling $10 million worth of gold notes at 6 percent interest guaranteed against 40 percent of the gate receipts. In addition, exhibit space was pre-sold and admission was charged tor entry to the fair. By the time the fair closed in 1934, the corporation had a surplus of $160,000 that was distributed to local cultural centers including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Art Institute, the Adler Planetarium and the Chicago Park District.
Exhibitors rented the land that they occupied and were responsible for erecting their own displays, paying a percentage of gross earnings from admission and souvenir sales to the fair officials. Concessionaires and restaurateurs paid nothing until they had taken out their investment, whereupon they would contribute an average of 11.5 percent of their gross earnings.
Home and Industrial Arts Group
The Home and Industrial Arts group was located between the 23rd and 31st Street entrances with homes arranged on either side of Leif Erikson Drive. During the first season of the fair, the group consisted of eleven model homes, five home product exhibitions and the Home Planning Hall, a building devoted to exhibits of heating, plumbing, air conditioning, refrigeration, home equipment, household appliances, and building materials.
Three houses constructed of steel were grouped together adjacent to the Home Planning Hall. The first, the Stansteel House was French Art Deco with a system of steel superstructures designed by H. W. O'Dell and W. C. Rowland. General Houses, Inc. produced a second steel house available in four different pre-fabricated models designed by Howard T. Fisher. The third steel structure, the Armco-Ferro House is one of the buildings purchased by Bartlett and moved to Beverly Shores.
Three houses in the group were built using traditional materials. The Common Brick Manufacturers' House designed by Andrew Rebori had a brick exterior, and interior walls, floors, stairways and porches with steel rods embedded in the mortar. The Lumber Industries House was built out of Douglas fir, cypress, birch, oak, maple and southern pine "to demonstrate the beauty and assert the place of all-lumber construction." The third house built of traditional materials, the Cypress House, was intended to "demonstrate the various uses of cypress in building and decoration."
Four additional houses experimented with new materials and their use in housing design. The Masonite house was clad with a prefabricated wooden panel invented by W. H. Mason, a chemist with Thomas A. Edison. Although the house was built using standard wood studs, joists and subflooring, its exterior design experimented with new materials and Bauhaus-inspired forms. The Design For Living House by John C. B. Moore was constructed using similar methods with a cladding of Homasote wallboard panels. The Florida Tropical House showed the use of reinforced concrete; the House of Tomorrow demonstrated glass and steel, and the Rostone House illustrated the use of Rostone, a cladding material made of a composite of limestone and shale.
Also included in the group were five exhibits displaying other services and products related to the home. The Glass Block Building was built by Owens-Illinois Glass Company to house the landscape pavilion of the James W. Owen Nurseries, the landscapers of the Home and Industrial Arts Group. The building was constructed of painted glass block with a 50' central shaft. A second building, the Johns-Manville exhibit was designed to house a mural by Leo Katz illustrating efforts in insulation. The third exhibit building, the Crane Company Station, housed a bus stop and cases displaying advances in plumbing and heating materials. The Kohler Company erected the fourth exhibit building, a classically-inspired structure with photographs and text describing the factory town of Kohler, Wisconsin, and displaying unusual plumbing fixtures. Finally, the W. & J. Sloane house demonstrated interior furnishings and gardening techniques.
For the 1934 season, two houses, the Country Homes Model Farmhouse and the General Houses Steel House, were added to the Home and Industrial Arts Group and the original eleven houses were completely redecorated. A third exhibit home, the Crystal House by George Fred Keck, was added in 1934 but was not technically considered part of the group as it was placed in an inaccessible location on an island in the south court of the Electrical Group.
The houses in the Home and Industrial Arts group were required to meet four major qualifications proposed by the Home Planning Division and its chairperson, J. C. Folsom: durability, convenience, livability, and cost-efficiency. Lenox Lohr, general manager of the fair stated that "the Home Planning Group was primarily to give the manufacturers of new kinds of building materials or developers of new uses of standard materials an opportunity to show what they could do in building small, inexpensive homes." Most of the houses in the group made some pretense of complying to the low-cost criteria although some, most notably the Florida House, the W. & J. Sloane House of Today and the House of Tomorrow, disregarded this requirement entirely. As the press release for the opening season noted, "Like the all-glass House of Tomorrow and the Sloane House of Today, this one [Florida Tropical House] was not built and furnished to meet economical ideas as were the eight small homes in the group, but to present an ideal." Even in these luxury houses, however, prefabricated building units were employed as a way to link the houses to modern industry.
Although not listed as one of the four official requirements, prefabrication was a characteristic stressed in many of the houses. In fact, it was with the 1933-34 Century of Progress Exposition that the term "prefabrication" came into general use. Eight of the original eleven houses were designed using prefabricated building units in an attempt to bring the out-of-date housing industry into line with more efficient manufacturing practices such as those used by the auto industry. As Brian Horrigan points out, by the 1920s the success of mass production in the automobile industry had encouraged architects and engineers to attempt a similar scheme with housing. The analogy of the automobile industry became so closely connected to the desire for mass-produced housing that in the late 1920s and 1930s the slogan "Houses Like Fords" became a common rallying cry for those seeking to reform the housing industry. Some industrialists feared that the market for cars had reached a plateau and that the slack could be taken up by pre-fab home sales, thus linking the two industries even further.
Standardized, mass-produced components had been a part of the housing industry since the 19th century and had included pre-cut balloon frame houses, machine-made ornament, doors, windows, stairs and household equipment. Interest in prefabricated buildings increased in the 1920s, however, due to housing shortages, aggravate in the 1930s by the Depression era need for inexpensive housing aggravated by the Depression. As Theodore Morrison wrote in House Beautiful, "Until our houses can be made in the factory, by machine, we shall have no true economy of housing comparable with the economy prevailing throughout industry generally. Until they can be installed, not built, we cannot expect them to be truly efficient and rational adaptations of means to an end. The architects of the Century of Progress sought to meet this challenge by creating affordable, pre-fabricated yet individualized housing.
The exhibitors at the Century of Progress Exposition sought to change attitudes toward standardization. They aimed to reinterpret and control it in order to promote modern designs rather than machine-made versions of traditionally-styled houses. As L. Rohe Walter pointed out, "In short, traditional houses -- in these years of grace 1933-34 -- have been put on trial. And the American buying public now sits in judgment. An accepted standard has been questioned, and a new one has not yet quite found its center. The evolution to come is taken for granted; also the fact that it is irreversible and scarcely yet begun. The Model Houses at the Fair are an almost perfect instance of transition." For many, the houses at a Century of Progress appeared to be the first of a series of radically altered house designs.
A Century of Progress Arrives in Beverly Shores
In the months following the close of the 1933-34 Chicago Century of Progress Exposition, sixteen houses were purchased by real-estate developer Robert Bartlett and transferred to his subdivision at Beverly Shores, Indiana. Of these, twelve were disassembled and moved by truck and unloaded on the shores of the town into a planned site along the lake. Ten buildings representing important structures in American history were trucked from the fair's Colonial Village. These included: Mount Vernon, Old North Church, the Governor's Mansion, Ben Franklin House, Paul Revere Home, the Wayside Inn, the Village Smith, the House of the Seven Gables, the Wakefield House and the Virginia Tavern. Also brought by truck were two houses from the Home and Industrial Arts group: the Cypress Log Cabin and the Model Farm House.
The remaining four houses from the Home and Industrial Arts group were transported from Chicago to Beverly Shores by barge. These were the Rostone House, the Armco-Ferro House, the House of Tomorrow, and the Florida Tropical House. According to a June 1935 article in Architectural Forum, these four houses were loaded onto barges in January 1935 and were to be moved onto the shore of Beverly Shores along a specially built pier, 40' wide and 200' long, and lifted by cranes onto site. A letter dated December 29, 1934, from Bert Laudermilk, a Bartlett employee, to Louis Skidmore noted that "[weather] conditions have made navigation impossible. The letter asked that the deadline for demolition of the Armco-Ferro, Florida, and Rostone houses be extended to February 1,1935. In February 1935, however, none of the houses had left the lakeshore; the Florida House and the Armco-Ferro houses were slated for departure.
According to Architectural Forum, Robert Bartlett purchased the houses with the plan "to reconstruct and landscape them for sale exactly as they were on the Fair grounds." In a contemporary article, Bartlett appears to have specific landscaping in mind; "The homes will be reconstructed along Lake Front Drive in Beverly Shores in a permanent location, especially landscaped to suit each particular type of architecture. Despite these claims, Bartlett neither replicated the exact fair site, nor did he appear to have created a landscaping scheme adapted to each house. By grouping five of the six Home and Industrial Arts houses together, however, he managed to recreate a sense of an "exhibition group" at Beverly Shores.
In some ways, the Beverly Shores group resembles the site at the Century of Progress Exposition. At the fair, both the Rostone and the Florida House were located on lakeside sites and were oriented in the same way that they are today. The Rostone house had a straight walkway leading to its front door and a curved drive to its garage that resembles the arrangement at Beverly Shores. The Florida Tropical Home had a straight approach to its garage that is similar to the current driveway. At the fair and at Beverly Shores, the Rostone house was located to the left of the Florida Tropical Home. At the fair, however, the two were separated by the Lumber Industries and the Brick Manufacturing Association exhibits.
The similarities between old and new sites are not as apparent in the other three houses now lined-up across the street at the top of a dune in Beverly Shores. A retaining wall at street level runs the length of the Armco-Ferro house, the Cypress Log Cabin, and the House of Tomorrow. A flight of twenty-seven stairs in front of each house leads to a catwalk that runs east/west and connects the three houses. This rigid geometric site is quite different from the original arrangement of the three houses. The House of Tomorrow originally had a lakeside site with its hanger-side oriented toward the lake and a crooked pathway leading to the porch entrance. Now the hangar-side faces toward the road and the porch is oriented toward the beach with an entrance at the top of a second straight-run flight of stairs. To the left, a path leads to the entrance through the first-floor carport. The back of the house has a stone patio and a brick walkway.
At the fair, the Cypress Log Cabin and Guest house were sited quite far from the lake close to the Inner Drive and rapid transit lines. The site itself was much larger than that at Beverly Shores and winding pathways, a pergola, a greenhouse and various cypress exhibits were arranged in the gardens. At Beverly Shores, the site is more geometric and confined with the main house and the guest cabin arranged parallel to one another with regular pathways leading to the entrances.
The Armco-Ferro house is oriented much as it was at the fair where it was sited across the street from the lake with its main facade facing toward Leif Erikson Drive. Its relationship to the buildings around it, however, was altered significantly when it was moved to Beverly Shores. At the fair, the Design for Living exhibit, a building of comparable size, was located to the left of the Armco-Ferro house. Directly behind were the General Houses and Stransteel exhibits. Together these four exhibits formed a square of model houses. To the right of this self-contained group, adjacent to the Armco-Ferro house, was the colossal Home Planning Hall, the central building of the Home and Industrial Arts Group. Much greater in scale than all four of the houses put together, this building dominated the surrounding space. In contrast, the site at Beverly Shores with its regularly spaced stairs and unifying retaining wall sets up a nonhierarchical relationship between the Armco-Ferro House, the Cypress House and the House of Tomorrow.
Bartlett planned to furnish the five houses in this exhibition group and to keep them open for public inspection from the spring until October of 1935 when he hoped to sell them for private occupancy. The other houses were offered for sale immediately after their arrival at Beverly Shores. Bert Laudermilk's wife was hired to redecorate the houses; under the pseudonym Dorothy Raley, Mrs. Laudermilk had edited a book on the furnishings of the World's Fair Houses. According to her plans, the Armco-Ferro Home was to be redecorated in a French neo-classical style, the Cypress Log Cabin in rustic furnishings, the House of Tomorrow in "extreme contemporary appointments," and the Rostone and Florida Houses in an unspecified "modern design." A sixth house, the Wayside Inn from the Colonial Village, was added to this redecorating scheme; it was to be refurbished as a place for holding Women's Club meetings. The Village Smithy, originally intended to serve as the Bartlett's garage, was set up as the garage for the Wayside Inn.
By 1938, despite these grand plans, four of the houses had not yet been sold. The Cypress Log Cabin and the Armco-Ferro house remained vacant while the Florida Tropical House and the Rostone House were occupied by seasonal renters; only the House of Tomorrow and the Model Farm House had found owners. Most of the Colonial Village houses sited on small winding roads close to Broadway were occupied by this time. Mount Vernon had just been sold as a hotel and tea-room, the Old North Church was a functioning church, the Virginia Tavern was being used as a bar, and the Ben Franklin home and the Paul Revere House had private owners. Robert Bartlett continued to own the House of the Seven Gables, the Governor's Mansion, and the Wakefield Cottage.
By March 1964, three of the colonial village buildings had been destroyed: the Virginia Tavern building had been removed and the Governor's Mansion and the Village Smithy had burned. At that time, the Wakefield Cottage was in disrepair and for sale. Today the only remaining structure is the Old North Church which is currently owned by Mr. Michael Breen who uses it as a weekend home.
The Beginnings of Beverly Shores
Beverly Shores was established in 1927 by real-estate developer Frederick H. Bartlett who bought land east of the Indiana Dunes State Park and west of Michigan city in order to start a residential community. The area, however, has had a long history of speculative development. In 1838, the year that Potawatomi Indians were driven from the land, Chauncy Blair, a Michigan City banker and merchant, purchased at a state public auction a stretch of land that extended from Tremont to Willard Avenue in present-day Michigan City. In 1901 he sold his holdings to the Eastern Indiana Company, a company that hoped to develop the land through agriculture. Sometime between 1920 and 1927, after unsuccessfully attempting to grow berries, raise cattle, and harvest lumber, the company sold most of its property to the Indiana Dunes State Park. In 1927, Bartlett purchased the remaining 3,600 acres of wooded duneland and five-and-one-half miles of lake frontage from the Eastern Indiana Company; he renamed the area Beverly Shores after his daughter Beverly.
The two phases of growth
The Bartlett subdivision developed in two main stages. The first, lasting from 1927 until mid-1933, occurred under the direction of the original purchaser, Frederick H. Bartlett. The second, beginning in earnest in 1933, was spear-headed by his successor, Robert Bartlett who aggressively marketed the development during the mid-1930s. The younger Bartlett remained involved in the area until 1946 when he closed the hotel and golf course, sold the remaining land, and withdrew from the area.
In 1927, the elder Bartlett platted 6800 lots and built about two dozen showplace homes in the Spanish mission style. A promotional brochure shows a drawing of the community with two broad straight roads, one along the waterfront and the other perpendicular to it running through the center of town. The waterfront road, known as Lake Front Drive, was to have several large hotels and smaller beach pavilions. The perpendicular road, Broadway, was to be the town's main street with the railroad station, administration building, businesses and churches arranged along its length. A third straight road, Beverly Drive, ran parallel to Lake Front Drive and appears to have been planned as an extension of the businesses and public buildings along Broadway. The remaining area consisted of winding roads lined with private homes in the Spanish mission style. Renderings of buildings under construction include the railroad station, the administration building, three model homes and the club house for the 18-hole golf course.
In an additional attempt to attract visitors to the area, Bartlett established the Theater of the Dunes as summer headquarters for Chicago's Goodman Theater. The theater was housed in the Old Beverly Shores Theater building, a portable building that had been erected in 1926 as the sales office for the Frederick H. Bartlett Realty Co. It had been transported to Waukegan, Lake Forest, and other places as a realty office; it was returned to its final location at Lake Shore Drive and Broadway in August 1929.
The Spanish mission style dominated Frederick Bartlett's vision of Beverly Shores. Joseph Greco II, a resident of Beverly Shores since 1927 points out that "stucco was a sign that it's Bartlett." Although Greco does not recall any regulations requiring home-buyers to build in this style, he says most people chose to follow Bartlett's lead. His own parents built a single-story stucco structure with Spanish tiles which served as Beverly Shores' first restaurant until it was destroyed by fire in the 1930s. All of the buildings commissioned by Bartlett during this period were built by the Beverly Shores Construction Company owned by Leo W. Post, Sr., a self-educated builder from Rotterdam, Holland.
In 1933 Robert Bartlett took over the management of Beverly Shores, buying the elder Bartlett's interest in the development and renaming the company Robert Bartlett Realty Co. According to a local history, the area was marketed in Chicago's ethnic neighborhoods as a place to signify the American Dream. People were encouraged to ride the South Shore trains to the site where they would be picked up in chauffeured black Packards. The area appears to have been targeted at upwardly mobile groups of Poles, Jews, Italians, and Germans who were anxious to get a piece of the good life. Notable residents included interior decorator Mrs. Louis Van Hess Young, inventor Arthur Small, paleontologist John Abbott, and railroad executive Edward Gregg. Lots during this period were selling for $5,000 in the marsh land and up to $60,000 for a 100'- 0" X 150'- 0" lot on the lakefront.
Robert Bartlett recognized that aggressive marketing was uncommon during the Depression years. In 1934 he commented, "There were some people in the realty business who ...urged me not to launch a new organization and take over the development of the entire Beverly Shores tract...I believe, however, that going ahead with development and putting in needed improvements was better than waiting for things to pick up by themselves." At the end of his first year in business, Bartlett's bold moves appeared to be paying off; by June 1934 the one-year-old company had achieved a sales total of $1,108,000.
In celebration of this success, Bartlett encouraged an Anniversary Week event. The botanical garden designed by Mrs. Louis Van Hess Young was expanded during this period and a double row of poplars and elms was planted along the entire row of Broadway and along Lake Front Drive from the Indiana Dunes State Park to Central Avenue. During this time sixteen new homes were built, five new homes were planned, and in June 1934 a $100,000 hotel was opened. In addition, the Beverly Shores Country Club was reorganized at the already-existing Beverly Shores golf course. Leo W. Post and the Beverly Shores Construction Co. continued to be involved in the development, working on construction of the hotel and refurbishing of the clubhouse.
By February 1935, 150 homes had been built at Beverly Shores. At that time, Bartlett owned the Beverly Shores Casino, a concession stand that contained a bath house and lockers, a soda fountain, a dining room, and upstairs living quarters. During the summers of 1937 and 1938, Bartlett leased this concession to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Sloan and in October 1938 he sold the property to Ignatz Lenard, a Chicago restaurant owner.
Robert Bartlett ushered in a noticeable stylist change at Beverly Shores. The younger Bartlett moved away from the historical styles favored by his predecessor and appears to have embraced modern architecture. Bartlett commented on the World's Fair houses, "We selected these particular houses as outstanding examples of modern home building, combining beauty and practical values, believing that if we could be instrumental in keeping them in the Chicago area such a move would have a decided influence on home building here, which should increase greatly within the next few years." Bartlett does not seem to have had a genuine interest in the modern movement as much as a desire to promote business by associating his development with the most up-to-date construction available. In addition, he probably hoped to profit from the success of the World's Fair and the curious people that his reestablished Colonial Village and Home and Industrial Arts group would attract.
The five houses moved from the Home and Industrial Arts Group exhibited the latest uses of traditional and innovative building materials. These houses were grouped as a unit in Beverly Shores and were placed along Lake Front Drive. A sixth member of the Home and Industrial Arts Group, the Modern Country Home, was located inland close to the Beverly Shores Hotel and Botanical Gardens west of Broadway. This location did not compromise the integrity of the group as the Modern Country Home was not part of the original Home and Industrial Arts Group but was added for the 1934 season. These six houses were featured on Robert Bartlett's letterhead in 1935 indicating that he saw these houses as representative of his vision of Beverly Shores.
World War II made development at Beverly Shores even more difficult. The theater closed in the fall of 1941 and was demolished in August 1945. Bartlett closed the hotel and golf course in 1946, sold all of the land and withdrew from "the area. The town incorporated on January 2, 1947. Building after the war was not as successful as in other Chicago suburbs probably due to a lack of municipal sewer and water systems as well as the community's distance from Chicago.
The effect of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on Beverly Shores
On November 5, 1966, the United States Congress authorized the creation of the International Dunes National Lakeshore, an event that had a profound effect on Beverly Shores. This decision was preceded by several years of controversy. In 1963, a resolution from the town board of Beverly Shores had expressed opposition to expansion of the park into the Beverly Shores area, questioning the decision to exclude "wealthier and more powerful areas" such as Ogden Dunes and Dune Acres from the park while targeting less affluent Beverly Shores. Local organizations called for a consistent policy: either include all the towns along the lakeshore in the park or compensate Beverly Shores for the loss of 60 percent of its tax base.
The 1966 Act eliminated the core of Beverly Shores from park expansion plans creating what is now known as the Beverly Shores island. The boundaries extended from Derby Avenue to the west, Montana Avenue to the east, Lake Front Drive to the north, and Beverly Drive to the south. In 1967, however, the park sought to achieve an uninterrupted eleven mile stretch of beach from the west end of Dune Acres to Michigan city along which visitors would not trespass on private property. Because thirty-two Beverly Shores homes were built north of Lake Shore Drive the goal of an uninterrupted beachfront became a difficult mission for the park to fulfill. In a meeting of 150 residents on November 15, 1968, homeowners asserted that when the park was formed, residents were told by Senator Paul Douglas, the greatest proponent of the park, that all residents could sell and lease back their homes for a retention of fifteen years. In order to calm the fears of the residents, park officials allowed property owners along Lake Front Drive were permitted to sell their homes to the government and select a Reservation of Use and Occupancy agreement on homes where construction began before January 4, 1964.
In 1971, the Save the Dunes Council, a local conservation group, encouraged inclusion of the Beverly Shores Island into the national park because of its low population density and plentiful natural resources. This caused a public outcry; in response, a meeting was held on October 25, 1971, at the Red Lantern Inn in Beverly Shores. In the end, administrative problems and difficulties obtaining land prevented the proposed expansion from occurring.
Although animosity between the park and the citizens of Beverly Shores has decreased tremendously, a somewhat uneasy balance between the two continues to exist. Since the 1970s the park has helped the town of Beverly Shores handle erosion along its beaches, a move that is criticized by some park proponents as a disincentive toward including the island in the park. In 1976 an Act of Congress encouraged a feasibility study for the addition of Beverly Shores that was to be submitted to Congress by July 1, 1977. In May 1979 the Park Service officially encouraged including the Beverly Shores Island within the park.
The only major result of this initiative was the absorption into the park of the former Beverly Shores golf course, a piece of land then being considered as the site for a housing development. The course was opened by Frederick H. Bartlett in 1928, was managed for twelve years by Ted Meetz, a Bartlett employee, and was operational until 1943 when world War II affected its business. Bartlett had planned to reopen the course in 1945 but eventually decided to sell it. The purchaser, Mrs. Helen Woods, claimed that she would open the course yet she deeded the eastern part of the property to the Diocese of Gary which built St. Ann's Church of the Dunes on the site. Woods lived on the property until 1979 using the clubhouse as her residence and temporarily operating a nursing home there. The 182-acre course as well as all of the Beverly Shores island was included in an expansion bill that passed the House in 1979; by the time the bill passed the Senate in 1980, the acquisition had been trimmed to 150 acres from the golf course and included no land from the Beverly Shores Island. Planning began in 1985 to convert the golf course into a campground. By 1988 plans had been submitted for public review; the campground opened in August 1992.
The existing condition of Beverly Shores
Beverly Shores today is surrounded on all four sides by the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. As they have since 1966, the town's boundaries extend east-west between Derby and Montana avenues and north-south from Lake Front to Beverly drives. The town has a population of 622 people governed by a five-person town council headed by the town clerk, Gail Saum. The town operates its own police station and a volunteer fire department. Buildings and property owned by the town include the Administration Building built by Frederick Bartlett, an adjacent fire station, a storage building, the Beverly Shores sign above the train station, and the Lituanica Park and warming shed on Crest Lane.
The Beverly Shores Island continues to interrupt eastern park boundaries making a continuous Park-owned beachfront impossible. Park officials still hope to acquire land in the Beverly Shores Island although their success seems unlikely. Land prices have risen and new construction has taken place. Estimates in 1988 indicated that acquiring the land would have cost $50 million.
The National Park Service now owns the five remaining houses from the Century of Progress Home and Industrial Arts group. The Rostone House is currently vacant while the Florida House, the Armco-Ferro House, the House of Tomorrow, and the Cypress Log Cabin are occupied under Reservation of Use and Occupancy agreements, the last of which expires in 2005. The houses were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in June 30, 1986 and the park has an obligation to preserve them. The park has proposed several alternatives for these buildings although no firm plans have been established.
A. Architectural Drawings:
Map of Beverly Shores based on survey of June 2, 1927.
Map of Beverly Shores West of Broadway. Revised June 23, 1933, Revised November 17, 1934.
Map of Beverly Shores Unit N, 11 October 1945. Map of Addition to Unit K, 21 June 1946.
Zoning map of the town of Beverly Shores, n.d.
B. Early Views:
Photograph at David and Sharon Kemerer's, occupants of the Armco-Ferro house showing the Lake Front Drive site with the five World's Fair houses ca. 1935.
Promotional brochure. "Now the Lure of the Waterfront calls Chicago to Live, to Play, to Profit." Personal Collection of Michael Breen, owner of Old North Church. Has an artist's rendition of plans for Beverly Shores, and drawings of model houses, the train station, the club house, and the administration building, ca. 1930.
Breen, Michael. Interview by author, 6 August 1994, Chicago. Tape Recording. Carlson, Ann. Interview by author, 6 August 1994, Chicago. Telephone conversation.
Greco, Joseph. Interview by author, 3 August 1994, Chicago. Tape Recording.
Ruzic, Carol. Interview by author, 3 August 1994, Chicago. Telephone conversation.
"Architects give blood, sweat to document World's Fair houses." News-Dispatch (Michigan City, IN) 27 June 1993.
"Architects study historic houses from 1933 Fair." News-Dispatch (Michigan City, IN) 13 June 1993.
"Area World's Fair houses on 'most endangered' list." The Chesterton Tribune (Chesterton IN) 22 November 1993.
Beverly Shores Golden Jubilee: A History of Beverly Shores, 1933-83. n.p.
Boyce, Robert. Keck & Keck. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, Inc., 1993.
Busk, Celeste. "Relentless lake threatens to erode homes of history." Chicago Sun-Times. 22 March 1985. Pullout section 2.
Cahan, Cathy and Richard. "The Lost City of the Depression." Chicago History (Winter 1976-1977): 233-242.
Cavinder, Fred D. "Lake Michigan threat to historic structures." The Indianapolis Star. 2 November 1986, Spectrum, H30.
Catalogue of A Century of Progress Exposition." Introduction, p. 1-5. Special Collections, Richard J. Daley Library, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago.
Century of Progress Paradox: Whose meat and whose Poison?" Architectural Forum 61 (November 1934) : 374-379.
"Chicago '33 World's Fair Came to Beverly Shores." Vidette-Messenger. (Valparaiso, IN) Special Bicentennial Edition, 1976.
"Chicago World Fair Home in Beverly Shores Burns; $500 Damage." News-Dispatch (Michigan City, IN) 1 October 1946, 1.
"Chicagoans Buy Beverly Home: to Open Tea-Room." News-Dispatch (Michigan City, IN) 1 September 1938, 8.
Corn, Joseph J. and Brian Horrigan. Yesterday's Tomorrows. New York: Summitt Books, 1984.
Crane, Mark. "Homes need funding to retain innovative look." Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso, IN) 12 January 1990.
Daniel, Glenda. "World's Fair Homes at the Dunes." Singing Sands Almanac. v. 4. no. 7 (November-December 1981) : 2-4.
Davis, Ann C., Rita S. Neagle, Fred Holycross, Wendy C. Winslow, Nancy Connor, and Rebecca L. Furnish. Porter County Interim Report: Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory. Indianapolis: Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 1991.
"Deterioration Menaces 'Century of Progress' Landmarks on Indiana's Lake Michigan Shore." Historic Preservation (February/March 1994): 22.
Drury, John. "The Colonial Village of Duneland." Post-Tribune (Gary, IN). 1 April 1956. Hendry, Fay L. 1933 World's Fair and Lustron Architectural District. National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form. 26 October 1976.
"Final Curtain Falls at Beverly Theater." News-Dispatch (Michigan City, IN) 28 August 1945, 8.
Grandfield, Daniel C. "The 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair - A Century of Progress - Buildings of Beverly Shores, IN, n.d." Park Files. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Porter, IN.
__________, "The 1933 World's Fair Homes of Beverly Shores." Lakeshore Magazine (winter 1980-81): 14-17.
Hendry, Fay L. ,J. Keith Everett, Thomas Hensley, Thomas Kuck, and Jill York O'Bright. Beverly Shores/Century of Progress Architectural District. National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form. 21 October 1985.
Hinton, Nancy. "Beverly Shores Came to Life During the Depression." Post-Tribune (Gary, IN) Sunday 26 June 1983.
__________, "Clerk-treasurer grew up with Beverly Shores." Post-Tribune (Gary, IN) 23 June 1983.
__________, "World's Fair homes threatened by erosion. Post-Tribune. (Gary, IN) 26 March 1985.
"Historic houses under study." Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso, IN) 17 June 1993.
"Historic World's Fair homes to be studied." Chesterton Tribune (Chesterton IN) 23 June 1993.
Horrigan, Brian. "The Home of Tomorrow, 1927-1945." In Imagining Tomorrow, ed. Corn, Joseph J., 137-163. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1986.
Ibata, David. "World's Fair homes of 1933 proved fairly prophetic." Chicago Tribune, 1 August 1982, section 14, n.p.
__________, "Exposition's critics found it too timid." Chicago Tribune, 1 August 1982.
Joss, Liz. "Celebrated Houses Now in Danger." Indiana Preservationist. (March/April 1994): 2-3.
Kahn, Eve M. "Failed Dreams that Paved the Way." New York Times. CHECK DATE. Bl.
Kerr, Justin. "Time Capsules." Hammond Times (Hammond, IN) 14 July 1993.
"Lakeshore tells plan to study historic World's Fair houses." Chesterton Tribune (Chesterton, IN) 14 June 1993.
Lange, Henry. "50 years ago, the Beverly Shores Golf Course opened." News-Dispatch (Michigan City, IN) 17 March 1979, 28.
Lohr, Lenox R. Fair Management: The Story of a Century of Progress Exposition. Chicago: Cuneo Press, Inc., 1952.
Official Guide Book of the Fair. Chicago: A Century of Progress, 1933.
Official 1934 Guide Book of the Fair. Chicago: A Century of Progress, 1934.
Press Release. Initials AP. Press Division, Promotion Department, A Century of Progress, Chicago. 9 June 1993. Century of Progress. Special Collections, Richard j. Daley Library, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago.
Pressley, Shirley. "Town has a rich past and uncertain future." News-Dispatch (Michigan City, IN) 30 June 1983.
Randle, Pat. "Beverly Shores: 50 years of history." Vidette-Messenger (Valparaiso, IN) 22 June 1983.
Rebora, Bob. "Visit Beverly Shores." Historic Preservation of Porter County, Inc. 1991.
Sederberg, Deborah. "World's Fair homes are waving goodbye." News-Dispatch (Michigan City, IN) n.d.
"Sell Beverly Shores Casino." News-Dispatch (Michigan City, IN) 3 October 1938, 2.
"Six Model Homes go to market. " Architectural Forum 62, no. 2 (February 1935) 181.
Snyder, Warren. "Relocation Plan for the World's Fair Houses." Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Porter, IN. 1 June 1987
Twedell, Millie. "Beverly Shores: Houses of the Past and Future-Today, 16 March 1964" Subject files. Westchester Public Library, Chesterton, IN.
Walter, L. Rohe. "Look Homeward, America!" Review of Reviews and World's Work, October 1934, 27-30.
World's Fair homes on National Register." Chesterton Tribune (Chesterton, IN) 29 October 1986.
E. Likely Sources Not Yet Investigated:
Extensive interview with Ann Carlson, resident Shores and daughter of builder Leo W. Post.
F. Supplemental Material:
Front page from promotional brochure, "The Lure of the Waterfront." Full-size rolled Xerox of entire brochure is in field notes.
Xerox of photograph of House of Tomorrow and Armco-Ferro house shortly after move to Beverly Shores. In collection of David and Sharon Kemerer, ROU on the Armco-Ferro House.
Xerox of photograph of Rostone House in process of being barged across Lake Michigan. In collection of David and Sharon Kemerer, ROU on the Armco-Ferro House.
Map of Beverly Shores showing the location of the fair houses.
Zoning map of Beverly Shores showing the location of the Beverly Shores island.
Documentation of the Beverly Shores Century of Progress Homes and Historic District was undertaken in the summers of 1993 and 1994 by the Washington Office of the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) of the National Park Service, Robert J. Kapsch, HABS/HAER Division Chief, and Paul D. Dolinsky, Chief of HABS. The project was cosponsored by the Midwest Regional Office of the National Park Service, Andrew Ketterson, Chief of Cultural Resources and Craig Kenkel, Regional Historic Architect. Additional support was provided by Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Dale Engquest, Superintendent and William Supernaugh, Assistant Superintendent. The project was directed by Frederick J, Lindstrom, HABS Supervisory Architect. The field documentation was completed by Project Supervisor, Judith E. Collins and Field Foremen: Joseph A. Boquiren and Laura J. Culberson, with Architecture Technicians: Bert V. Calhoun, II, Eric T. Helgoth, David M. Lefton, Michael J. Seibert, Lillian M. Smith and Lori A. Smith. The historical report and written building surveys were produced by Project Historian Maria F. Ali, under the direction of Catherine Lavoie, HABS Senior Historian and Sarah Allaback, HABS Historian. The large format photography was produced by HABS staff photographer Jack E. Boucher in 1994. Recognition must also go to the individual residents of the houses and the staff of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for their cooperation and assistance.
According to Dan Francis, grandson of Robert Bartlett Jr., Frederick H. Bartlett and Robert Bartlett Jr. were brothers. In 1933, Robert Bartlett bought out his older brother's interest in Beverly Shores and formed his own real estate company, Robert Bartlett Realty Co. Robert Bartlett Jr.'s son, Robert W. Bartlett worked with him in the real estate business although he was probably too young to be involved in Beverly Shores. Francis obtained this information from his mother who was married to Robert Bartlett, Jr. Recent local newspaper articles indicate that Frederick H. Bartlett and Robert Bartlett, Jr. were father and son; this claim is unsubstantiated.
Historian: Maria F. Ali, HABS, Summer 1994.
Carol Lane West • Dell Avenue • Dunbar Avenue • Fairwater Avenue West • Lake Front Drive East • Windsor Avenue