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Quantico Marine Corps Base, Lustron District

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1948–1949, Lustron Co. Mainside area, 35 units in Argonne Hills, and 26 in Geiger Ridge, Quantico
  • Quantico Marine Corps Base, Lustron District (Bill Sublette)

Quantico began as a temporary Marine training camp during World War I and became permanent in 1918. Early officers' housing consisted of bungalows and Colonial Revival houses, some supplied by the Turton Company in 1920. Glenn Brown designed a master plan for the base in 1926, but most of the building is undistinguished. In 1948 the corps contracted with the Lustron Company of Columbus, Ohio, for sixty-one units of prefabricated housing. The so-called Lustron house was the brain child of Carl G. Strandland, who hired Roy Blass of Blass and Beckman architects, Wilmette, Illinois, to design a small ranch house—”a modern rambler”—built of enamel-coated steel panels similar to those used in service station construction. The Lustron Company was funded by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and was never profitable. It went into receivership in 1950. Of the nearly 2,500 units the Lustron Company produced, Quantico has the largest concentration. The concept involved mass producing the 2,334 exterior and interior components needed for each house and then trucking them to the site, where they could be assembled quickly, in nine to twenty-one days. The basic Lustron house was a single-story ranch house with an attached carport, two or three bedrooms, a single bath, a living room with a dining area, and a utility room. Enameled steel was used for all interior and exterior surfaces. All were built on concrete pads. The houses supposedly never need painting, and all of the Quantico units retain their 1940s pastel colors, though slightly faded. Thirty-five two-bedroom units for enlisted personnel were built in Argonne Hill, and twenty-six two-bedroom units for officers were constructed in Geiger Ridge.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.



  • 1948

  • 2006

    Lustrons demolished

What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Quantico Marine Corps Base, Lustron District", [Quantico, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 77-77.

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