Saving the Letourneau Carefree Home
Peoria Industrialist R. G. LeTourneau opened his construction equipment factory in the Averyville section of Peoria in 1935. Recognizing that the Great Depression had created a housing shortage for his employees, LeTourneau developed the concept of “the Carefree Home,” a small all-steel house. Several hundred of the houses were built at his factory until production ceased as World War II approached and steel became scarce.
One of the Carefree Homes remains at what is now a Komatsu America Corporation factory site and was used as a manufacturing office until the early 1980s. Komatsu has now generously agreed to donate the structure to the Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation.
The project plan is to move the steel house to Wheels O’ Time Museum in northern Peoria in 2017, where it will be restored and prominently displayed as an exhibit honoring the vision and creativity of R.G. LeTourneau. The homes were located in Peoria, East Peoria and Peoria Heights. Approximately twenty of the structures still exist today with a significant cluster located near Peoria Heights Tower Park.
The Steel House Revival is a collaborative effort by the Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation, Wheels O' Time Museum and the Peoria Historical Society to save for posterity the all-steel LeTourneau Carefree Home.More History
We Need Your Support
We need your support in preserving this historic landmark for visitors to the Wheels O' Time Museum to see and appreciate. Thank you to all contributors—your donations are making this project a reality. To pay by check, make checks payable to “CILF Steel House Project” and mail to: CILF; PO Box 495; Peoria IL, 61651. To pay by credit card, click the button below.Please Donate
Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation
Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation (CILF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to historic preservation, is proud to partner with the Peoria Historical Society and Wheels O’ Time Museum in the Steel House Revival project.
Ensuring the survival of this icon of Peoria’s cultural and industrial legacy is part of CILF’s mission to improve the quality of life in Central Illinois by identifying, protecting, and enhancing its buildings, structures, and places of significance.Visit Website
Peoria Historical Society
Peoria Historical Society’s purpose is to preserve and display items relating to Peoria’s history. Our partnership with the Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation and Wheels 'O Time Museum, for the purpose of saving and restoration of the innovative LeTourneau Steel House, is an exciting collaboration.
Our board is eagerly participating in this partnership to restore and display this most important part of Peoria's history.Visit Website
Wheels O' Time Museum
Wheels O’ Time Museum is proud to offer the final resting place for the fully restored LeTourneau Steel House. The objective is to make sure the Steel House fits perfectly with the museum’s cultural and industrial artifacts from the Peoria area. All ongoing repairs and maintenance costs of the Steel House will be our responsibility.
Together with our partners, we want to display and salute the significance of the LeTourneau contribution to Peoria and beyond.Visit Website