One of the keys to recognition and protection of Lustron homes is through designation. This is accomplished either as a local landmark, usually through your local historic preservation commission, or through listing on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information about local landmark designation and National Register Listing click here.
Breifly, the National Register is the Nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archeological resources. The National Register is administered at the Federal level by the National Park Service, and at the state level by your State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), your state governmental preservation agency. It is important to know that although listing on the National Register confers recognition of the importance of a site, it does not provide protection from damage, alteration, or demolition, unless federal funds are involved.
Several Lustrons across the country already have been listed on the National Register, either individually, or as part of a larger nomination that includes all of the Lustrons in a single state. To date Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, New Jersey, and South Dakota have completed statewide nominations of their Lustrons, known as National Register Multiple Property Documentation Forms.
We want to encourage as many people as possible to consider designation of their Lustrons at some level. Since many places do not have local preservation commissions, National Register listing may be the only feasible option. Because many Lustrons are already listed on the National Register, and Lustrons are all very similar in their materials, form, and history, it should be fairly simple to determine if your Lustron would be eligible for designation.
You should speak to the National Register staff in your SHPO about your interest in listing your Lustron on the National Register so that they can provide you with advice and comments. Lustrons that have been significantly altered through major additions or alterations (e.g., removing and replacing windows, removing and replacing panels, covering the panels in new materials) may be too compromised in their current state (this is what is referred to as a loss of “integrity”) to meet the criteria for designation. If you are concerned that your Lustron is too altered to be eligible, contact your SHPO to discuss the changes with them and seek their opinion.
If you Lustron still retains all or most of its original materials and features (windows, panels, and roof are intact, most interior built-ins and fixtures are in place, and it hasn’t been relocated from its original site), then it may be eligible for listing on the National Register! To help you and your SHPO make the “determination of eligibility,” we have provided a “Generator” form that addresses many of the questions relating to National Register designation. COMPLETING THIS FORM DOES NOT MEAN YOUR PROPERTY IS LISTED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER! But it will give you an excellent head-start on the process, and provide your SHPO with plenty of detailed information on which to base their determination of eligibility for National Register designation. If the SHPO determines that you Lustron is eligible, you can use the information you have already generated to complete the full National Register Registration form, or work with a consultant or historian to assist you with the final steps.
To use the “Generator”, click here and begin filling in the fields.