The popular Century of Progress Home Tour at Indiana Dunes National Park has been canceled this year amid a surge in the delta variant, coronavirus positivity rates and hospitalizations.
"Circumstances beyond our control compromised our ability to provide an excellent experience while ensuring the safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff. We sincerely apologize," Indiana Landmarks said in a statement. "We will be issuing a full refund to ticket buyers. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. We look forward to resuming the tour in the future."
It's the one chance a year to peek inside the experimental Century of Progress Homes that were displayed at the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago and ferried by barge developer Robert Bartlett across Lake Michigan to Beverly Shores, then a resort town he was building on the Indiana shoreline.
People get the chance to tour the first floors of the Florida Tropical, House of Tomorrow, Armco-Ferro, Rostone, and Cypress Log houses. The display houses featured in the Homes and Industrial Arts exhibit at the World's Fair were conceived of to promote new concepts for residential living like newfangled building materials or the coast in the case of the pastel Florida Tropical House that sits on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan.
Save for the rustic log cabin, the homes were so ahead of their time in 1933 they still are modern-looking. They were so "wildly modern" that the House of Tomorrow included a helicopter garage, a vision of the future that never materialized. The homes are privately owned to ensure for their care and maintenance.
They're located along a stretch of Lake Shore Drive by the beach in Beverly Shores where one can park in 15-minute spaces, snap pictures and read the interpretative signage.
The annual two-hour tour guided by Indiana National Park rangers and volunteer docents goes over the history and unique architecture. It's a fundraiser for the preservation of the houses.
Indiana Landmarks had restricted capacity, issued timed tickets and required masks and proof of vaccination as safety precautions but ultimately decided the Century of Progress home tour could not be done safely amid the current surge in COVID-19 cases, largely among the unvaccinated.
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