Restored LeTourneau Steel House Unveiled

May 2, 2018

A tiny, two-bedroom home fashioned from steel is now a museum exhibit in central Illinois. It was designed to give small working-class family access to cheap homes during the Great Depression.  

Such homes were built in Peoria in the mid-'30s for about 150 families. One of the surviving homes is now at the Wheels O' Time Museum in Dunlap.

 

It was Robert LeTourneau's factory that manufactured them. The industrialist called them ‘Carefree’ homes and boasted they were resistant to "storm, dust, termites, flood" and "flames."

A former LeTourneau employee, Norm Kelly, says the homes were never a money-making venture. He says LeTourneau saw them as a way to alleviate economic hardships his workers faced.

 

The Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation and the Peoria Historical Society helped restore the home.