6025 Summit St.


This Summit Street house was built in 1950, and while not 100 years old, it is important to our history because it is an example of a pre-fab residential home known as a Lustron House, which was invented to answer the postwar housing shortage. These were developed to meet the housing needs of GIs returning from World War II.

In 1948 Carl Strandlund, a Chicago industrialist and inventor, had been working on the construction of a prefab gas station for Ohio’s Standard Oil Company. At this same time millions of veterans were returning from overseas after World War II, and soon throughout the U.S. we were facing the worst housing shortage in history. So, Strandlund invented his Lustron home and started production in a factory in Columbus, Ohio and he shipped homes by truck to the site.

A model home was built in Chicago in August of 1948 and 50,000 people showed up to check out this new invention. These were prefabricated houses made of porcelain-enamel and steel, including the siding, roof, walls, cabinets and ceilings, similar to motor homes of today. It was said to be a futuristic idea for a maintenance-free, indestructible, inexpensive, quickly assembled home that was rodent-proof, termite-proof, fire-safe, lightning-proof and rust-proof. They were built on a concrete slab, with no basement, and were available in two styles, a two-bedroom, 1,093-square-foot model with a porch, or a three-bedroom, 1,217 -square-foot model. Optional breezeways, patios, carports, screened porches, and garages were offered.

About 2,500 of these ranch-style, steel-paneled houses were made between 1948 and 1950, when the company went bankrupt. They lost their contract with the U.S. Government because they could not make them fast enough, and it took too long to ship them to the sites. The cost was $10,500 for the two-bedroom model plus shipping costs. Not everyone was willing to take out a mortgage for that amount to try out this “new” idea, when you could build a wood house for about $7,000 at this time.

As of 1999 these Lustron houses became eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, which has greatly increased their value, and has caused great interest to historic preservationists to locate all surviving Lustron homes. The second group of interested people are those who suffer from environmental allergies, since these houses contain no formaldehyde or other chemicals.

This is Sylvania’s only Lustron house. In 1947 Hobart and Alma Smith, of 2834 Winstead Dr. in Toledo, purchased a 5.23-acre parcel on Summit Street. In 1949 they ordered their new Lustron House and had it built here.
The Smith family is listed as already living on Summit Street when the 1950 census was taken. Hobart was 53 years old, married, and employed as the manager of a retail cigar store. Alma was 42 years old and their son Charles was 12 years old.

The Sentinel Herald newspaper dated Dec. 13, 1962, featured a picture of Hobart Smith. The caption read, “A Very Good Neighbor – An early Christmas present was given to many Sylvanians by Hobart Smith of 6025 Summit Street, when he cleared walks and some driveways down Summit to Monroe, and on parts of Erie, Maplewood and Main the morning of the big snow last week. Mr. Smith received no pay for the four-hour job, but cleaned the area because he enjoys doing things for people. A semi-retired employee of the water department, Mr. Smith also mows a large tract near his house for a ball diamond for area children and keeps two gardens from which he gives away tomatoes in season–all of which is only part of his activities to keep busy and to do good things for people.”

The Smiths were still living in this home in 1985 when Mr. Smith passed away. His obituary notice read, “Hobart C. Smith, 88, of Summit Street, died Tuesday in Flower Hospital. He had been employed 10 years in the Sylvania water department retiring in 1965. Surviving are his wife, Alma; son, Charles, and brothers, Arthur, and Ben.”
It wasn’t until 1992 that the house transferred to his wife, Alma, and son Charles H. Smith. They sold the home that same year to Johnstan F. Korejwa who owned it for two years before selling it to Robert Hine. Directories indicate that he rented the house out while he owned it.

Hine sold the house in 2019 to Kristina Turner who owns it today. In 2020 she obtained a building permit for an addition to the rear of the home, bringing life back to this very special house.


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