Pleasantview House is a Gunnison Home. Randy Shipp, who has done a great deal of research on Gunnison Homes, had this, in part, to say:
The first half of the twentieth century saw a change in the housing needs of the United States as more individuals sought easily built, affordable housing. These changing needs mandated that the construction industry re-evaluate what could be offered to the public. Various groups and individuals began to look at prefabrication as the answer to this need. Numerous proposals were developed that took advantage of such materials as wood, steel, aluminum and cast concrete.
In the early 1930s, Foster Gunnison, Sr’s, … a successful lighting designer and manufacturer from New York, …. interest in the concept of prefabricated housing led him to join with a group of likeminded individuals, … to study its feasibility. Having studied the subject from many angles, this group felt that the use of stressed plywood panels could offer a strong building at an economical price. This group … promote(d) the idea of prefabrication, but never produced units themselves. Instead, they were facilitators bringing the market and the manufacturers together.
By joining forces with experts in engineering, plywood production and architecture, he (Gunnison) arrived at the system of using stressed panels that took advantage of concepts used in the manufacture of airplane wings. The structural wood frame sheathed with plywood provided an extremely strong yet lightweight panel.
The (eventual) result was a complete housing unit that could be shipped on a single trailer truck and assembled on the customer’s foundation in a very short time. It was said that if the construction crew arrived at the site on Tuesday morning, the owner could have supper in his new house on Friday.
Pleasantview House is an important reminder of a highly significant piece of the history of single family housing construction in the mid-twentieth century. Maybe it was just ahead of its time. Not unlike the ideas behind the homes in the article below, Gunnison Homes were created around similar needs and goals.
Case of federal funds well spent
12:00am on Feb 25, 2011; Modified: 7:44am on Feb 25, 2011
Rendering of a low-cost, highly energy-efficient homes to be built by a Wayne County factory better known for building houseboats.Buy Photo
At a time when there’s a lot of mean talk about government’s role in regard to business, Kentucky has produced a story that illustrates the benefits of linking forward-thinking private investors with enlightened public assistance.
Herald-Leader reporter Bill Estep recounted the cooperative efforts of a Somerset luxury boat company, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp. and the University of Kentucky School of Design to design and produce affordable, efficient, livable homes on the production lines used to build luxury boats.
Three batches of federal money — $125,000 each to Monticello and Whitley County to build prototypes of the houses and $1 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission — helped in the effort.
The partners, and the federal government, had their individual goals, but also shared one big one: To produce a 1,000 square foot house with two bedrooms that cost $100,000 or less, including land, could be trucked to the site, assembled quickly and could be heated and cooled for $1 a day.
And they wanted to get as many materials as possible from Kentucky.