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Quantico Marine Base-Housing with a History

Real Estate Agent with Integrity Real Estate Group

As with so many military bases in Northern Virginia the need to improve older base housing often means tearing down outdated housing to make way for homes that meet the needs of today’s families.  At Quantico that meant getting rid of the largest collection of pre-fab Lustron homes found in the US.

Unlike a stainless steel refrigerator, owners and residents of Lustron homes could hang their children’s art work with magnets.  In fact you could use magnets all over the house because the homes were entirely pre-fabricated out of porcelain enameled steel.   The other unique feature of these homes was their exterior colors.  Unlike typical military housing which is fairly bland (loads of brick) Lustron homes came in maize yellow, dove gray, surf blue, desert tan, flamingo pink, sea blue–green.

Over the years families who lived in the Lustron homes either loved them or hated them.  They were originally thought to be the answer to the post war housing booming by creating pre-fab houses that could easily be built on a poured slab foundation.    Built-ins were a big component of the houses with built-ins found in the living room, dining room and bedrooms.  All of the houses had sliding pocket doors to save the room that swinging doors needs.  Since the houses could be assembled in just a few months the military with a need to beef up base housing as quickly as possible after WWII purchased 58 of the Lustron homes at Quantico MCB.

In the early 1990's while running education programs for the military I spent one day a week on Quantico.  A couple of the Marines I worked with invited me over to take a look at their unusual Lustron homes. They were small but as a fan of mid-century modern and unique homes they were an interesting example of how an idea  to use left over materials from WWII might have changed our entire housing industry.  Unfortunately the idea failed and instead of 25,000 Lustron homes rolling off the assembly line the plant only turned out 1500 before it closed down.

Fortunately when the decision was made to build new housing at Quantico the developer realized that the Lustron homes should not just be razed to make way for the new houses.  In mid-2006 applications were taken from interested parties who might want to dismantle one or more of the homes and relocate them to another site.  A few of the homes were dismantled to be used for Katrina housing and at least two of the homes will remain on Quantico as part of the National Historic Register. 

So with the change in housing needs of the military a little piece of history leaves Quantico but at least many of the homes will find new lives to house another generation of young families.


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Military Relocation to Northern Virginia


© Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Cindy Jones


Cindy Jones


As an Associate Broker with RE/MAX Allegiance in Northern Virginia and native of the area I can assist you whether you are buying, selling or renting a home anywhere in Northern Virginia. For more information about the area or my services you can check VaRealEstateTalk or my Northern Virginia website.

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If you are interested in learning more about the Northern Virginia Real Estate market including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William Counties give Cindy Jones and Integrity Real Estate Group a call at 703-346-2213.

Military Relocation Specialist serving military families relocating to and from the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir, Quantico MCB and all of the Military District of Washington installations. 

Military Relocation Professional

Check out www.varealestatetalk.com and www.cjrealtygroup.com for more information.

Integrity Real Estate Group
Real People*Real Life*Real Estate

Licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia




Kevin McGrath
Long & Foster Real Estate Companies- Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania - Fredericksburg, VA
Long & Foster Real Estate Companies
A neat piece if history. I would love to see one, and to see a blueprint.
Jan 05, 2008 11:26 PM
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re
I had no idea this construction was used very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Jan 06, 2008 12:11 AM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
Kevin-Here is a link that has one floor plan of the two bedroom model.  It is exactly the same as the one I went in on Quantico.
Jan 06, 2008 12:34 AM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
David-another Lustron home in Arlington was not as lucky and was just bulldozed.  We aren't a society that pays to much attention to saving our housing history.  Even if it is a bit whacky!
Jan 06, 2008 12:35 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital
Cindy, these remind me of the houses that were built to house families of Forbes Air Force Base personnel in Topeka, Kansas.  They were not Lustron, but probably would have stood the test of time much better if they had been.  I'm going to check out the floor plan now!
Jan 06, 2008 12:57 AM
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes
Cindy - Thank you for a peek into Quantico and more importantly another source for low cost housing. Do you have the contact information for the purchase of the homes?
Jan 06, 2008 01:34 AM
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC
Cindy, Thank you for sharing this information.  It is important to keep some of these units as a part of history.  My husband and I had to go to Charleston, SC a few months back and decided to try and see a few things while we were there.  Unfortunately the exhibit we went to see was closed but we ended up driving around the old Navy Base.  We ended up looking at some architechtural wonders that are basically starting to fall down due to lack of any maintance.  It just broke my heart!
Jan 06, 2008 05:41 AM
Kenny & Brianna Franklin
Franklin & Franklin Realty LLC - Woodford, VA
"The Crossroads of the Marine Corps." Good history info. There are a few stick built houses that were relocated to Garrisonville as the Marine Corps base kept expanding. Q town has some nice old homes as well. My wife's father was stationed at Quantico 2 different times. Each time they lived in an old, disrepaired house. It's great that the Marine Corps started investing in the Quantico housing situation.
Jan 06, 2008 06:05 AM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
Patricia-I've lived in a few houses on bases that should have been condemned! 

Kenny-Q town is a funny little place in the middle of Quantico.  The new housing at Quantico is nice as well as all of the new housing that has been built at Ft. Belvoir as well.
Jan 06, 2008 12:40 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

John-the website for the first batch of houses awarded last year has closed down.  You might try and track down Bereket M. Selassie, development executive for Clark Realty Capital who was working with the preservation team to try and save some of the houses.  I'm going to be going back to Quantico next week to catch up with some folks so I'll check then to see if I can dig up any more information.

Jan 06, 2008 12:43 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
Kim-as a nation we are a little slow on keeping up with our architectural master pieces.  Our area is fortunate to have some preservationists trying to save at least a few buildings.
Jan 06, 2008 12:45 PM
Find a Notary Public needAnotary
QEC Internet Services - Long Beach, CA

How old were these properties?  If we took affordable housing serious we could be successful. 

Many construction projects are under way in countries like Dubia which was formed from a desert.  We have to be willing to make housing a prioroty and not just lip service.

Nothing is impossible if that is a national priority, money, labor or land.

Jun 13, 2008 07:14 PM

In all honesty, to me these buildings look really inefficient concerning the energy consumption. Do you have any facts on this topic? The buildings also seem not to be very quiet, an inhabitant told me, you can hear it, when cars drive outside. Is that true?

Aug 19, 2008 02:15 PM
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

These homes were not built when energy consumption was a concern.  These buildings are now gone replaced with new housing.  You can find a good deal of information on Lustron homes on the web as they are considered "collectors" items by some.

Aug 19, 2008 02:31 PM