Did you realize that State College has quite a range of 20th century residential architecture?
The newest house purchased by the SCCLT is a National Home and as such, is part of this
collection and an example of post-war housing style and manufacturing.
Once World War II War ended, the GI Bill enabled many returning service men and women to earn college degrees. I had an uncle who had fought in Italy who got his engineering degree at Drexel. John (my husband and newsletter editor ) had two uncles who came to Penn State on the GI Bill. With a sense of forward thinking and with new families being created almost overnight, hundreds suddenly descended on our small university town and needed to live somewhere.
Enter companies like National Homes of Lafayette, Ind., as well as Aladdin, Gordon-Van Tine, Lustron and Gunnison homes to list a few. All of these companies took standardized manufacturing processes, combined them with new materials developed during the war and put them all into prefab, manufactured home building. Our town has many of these homes still serving families of all sizes and doing so very well.
National Homes all have a metal plaque, usually in the utility room, that declares it as a National
Home, along with an individualized serial number. All the components arrived on one of 300
trucks that arrived just as the local workday began, so that the builders had a full day of work
and no time was wasted. One truck carried one complete house, right down to the paint for the
walls and hardware for doors. A finished house could be built in 2-5 weeks.
We are fortunate to live in a town that provides a rich cross section of the way housing styles
and methods of manufacturing and construction have changed through the 20th century and
now, well into the 21st. Finding such examples is worth a walk or bike ride or two around town. I think
you'll be surprised at your discoveries! (Full article is available in the May 2016 newsletter)