Lustron: The Home of Tomorrow (in 1947)

As the men and women who served in the armed forces and military hospitals came home from World War II, America faced a housing shortage.  At the same time, America had a surplus of steel because it was no longer needed for the war effort.  In 1947, behind the vision of Carl Strandlund, and with the help of tax dollars, the Lustron Corporation was formed in Columbus, Ohio with the plan to use this steel to mass produce prefabricated homes that would be affordable for every American family.Lustron_with_lady_2

Between 1949 and 1950, 2,498 steel homes were produced.  Then, a combination of changing market factors and political pressures put the Lustron Corporation out of business.  Today, many of these homes remain as a unique time capsule into 1950’s America.

A Lustron home is built completely out of steel.  The walls, ceiling, cabinets, and doors are all steel.  The exterior walls and roof are made of ceramic-coated steel tiles.  These are the same tiles used to build the first White Castle restaurants.  Liberty Frozen Custard in Tangletown was converted from an old Mobile gas station that is also made of the steel tiles. 

All the plumbing, heating and electrical were built into each home, which was then placed on a concrete slab.  Other than a few mechanical updates, and maybe new windows, the homes continue to function mostly unchanged – even in Minnesota.  Several Lustron homes remain in Minneapolis, including a handful in the Nokomis area.

Ginelli’s Pizza – R.I.P.

June_13_2007_056_3I’m sure you all have you favorite pizza joint.  Or likely, several.  When I’m out on the town, I sometimes hunger for Pizza Luce.  Sometimes for Pizza Nea.  Maybe a trip to Red Savoy’s or Cosetta’s.  But when I’m at home, I call for delivery from my favorite neighborhood joint…Ginelli’s Pizza.  Their combination of fresh inventive toppings and greasy pizza goodness satisfies me every time. 

Whenever suburban visitors are staying with me, I always make sure we order some Ginelli’s.  You can get Pizza Hut and Domino’s all over the world.  But the local joints in Nokomis and Longfellow are each one-of-a-kind places.

But alas, no more.  Ginelli’s closed up shop a few weeks ago.  According to the owner, business has been slow and some other stuff.  According to my sources, the other stuff involved some no good employees.  We may see him back soon with a "take-n-bake" operating in Richfield in the near future.

Fortunately, there are many more local pizza places to please my pallet.

Vacation in Sunny Nokomis!

While Minnesotans spend their summers retreating up North to the cabin and the lake, my new client is looking to retreat from the hot summer sun of Texas and to a cabin right here in Nokomis.  It got me to thinking, what are we retreating from? Nokomisbeach

When I go up North, I look forward to spending time walking along the lake, stopping periodically to skip some stones.  Before sunset I like to stop by the local shops to browse, and then leave with an ice-cream cone.  Then I take a seat and watch the sun dip into the lake.

I walk around Lake Nokomis all the time.  And while I was thinking about it as exercise, I saw a couple standing on the shore skipping stones.  Rarely do I stop by the shops at 50th St and 28th Ave to browse the local wares, or buy myself a Nokomis t-shirt at the Nokomis Shoe Shop.  I make a run to the grocery store for a gallon of ice-cream, but I don’t walk to one of the many local cafes or beach pavilions to get a cone.  And now with one of the Twin Cities’ best ice-cream stores (Grand Ole Creamery) opening a Nokomis location at Cedar and Minnehaha Parkway, what excuse will I have for not savoring a cone while I watch the sunset from the hill just east of the lake?

We should all take a cue from my Texan client and vacation right here at home!