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I stumbled across a curious modular dwelling from 1950's.

I think I have it pegged as a Gunnison brand. It has interesting trusses, 2X3 studs, and interior wall panels that are thin and almost feel like laminate with paint. Interior ceiling and corner trim had a curious continuity. Windows all steel casement and awning.

Anyone here know these?

The first is not my image but the second is, of the inside trim.

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I used to cover an area in SE PA that US Steel spent $50 million constructing Gunnison Homes in Fairless Hills near the steel plant. (at that time Benjamin Fairless was the pres. of US steel and US Steel bought Gunnison Homes)

The exterior walls aren't 2x3s. The prefab panels would look like 2x4s laid flat in a grid pattern with 1/4' ply skin on each side. The total wall thickness is 2" (if you replace a door assembly, the new door jambs are too wide for the thin walls). The 2x4s extend beyond the top and bottom of the plywood where bolts connect each panel to the slab and ceiling panels. Interior walls are also plywood, originally unpainted.

The roof panels and ceiling panels are constructed with 2x4s, not laid flat. They are not trusses, but some have added bracing between the roof and ceiling panels. Unless additional insulation was added, you can see the bolt connection of the walls to the ceiling panels.

You can sometimes find the manufacturer's metal tag in the utility room.

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Thanks for the reply.

Here is a gable-end view of the stud tops. They have grooves on the back like flooring.

I'll post another of their truss hardware.

Maybe is not this brand but maybe a local knockoff.

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I have seen some of the same ones that Bill has seen. I think I found an old brochure somewhere describing the construction. Bill is right about the exterior walls.

I'm not sure if I am confusing them with something else, but I seem to recall that the roof framing has some steel braces, webs, or something.

Right after WWII a lot of people were trying to figure out mass produced housing. Most of it never got to the mass produced stage.

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Right after WWII a lot of people were trying to figure out mass produced housing. Most of it never got to the mass produced stage.

I've read where some of the reason was the glut of steel left over from the war. I think excess (cheap) steel was the impetus for Lustron. Never heard of Gunnison. Was it regional?

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Lustron was the only one that was all steel.

I think the Gunnison factory was in Indiana. There may have been another after the purchase by US Steel. They were shipped by train and truck as kits all over continental US. They were the first and one of the biggest panellized prefab producers.

Pre-cut home kit manufacturers probably sold more homes though.

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We have Gunnison and National all over the Lansing Mich area. There often is portions of the original wood "packing materials" in the attic on the floor. We also had couple of versions produced in Bay City (Morley Brothers) and another one in Elkhart Indiana.

Gunnison only had two or three models?

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It's the right idea, just the wrong time and technologies that weren't advanced enough to provide levels of comfort folks now demand. It would be cool to have panelized mass produced homes using foam and energy efficient advances, that went modern.

One of the problems is trying to create mass production with designs that don't lend themselves to the process, i.e., tacked on historical referenced detailing, pitched roofing, and all that stuff one sees when touring Pulte type operations.

Most folks wouldn't like new stuff because of the cookie cutter effect, but it is one of few options for making housing affordable.

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  • 3 years later...

I own a gunnison home in indiana and have been renovating it. The wall are thin but very sturdy. My biggest issue is the wiring is impossible to get to for rewiring. The treated plywood still looks new on outside with wood siding over it. They are a little drafty though. If anyone has wiring schematics I sure would appreciate a copy. Floor joist are 2x8.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I grew up in a Gunnison house. My parents had it built in 1954. There were five of them on the street. Ours was two bedrooms, one bath, no basement - built on a slab. . Metal kitchen cabinets and natural wood walls. 

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