THE PREFAB CABINS OF WALTER S. WHITE

Walter S. White was a Mid-Century Modern architect primarily known for his work in Southern California during the 1950s. As well as being a self-taught architect who worked with R.M. Schindler and Frank Lloyd Wright among others, White was also a skilled inventor who created the patented hyperbolic paraboloid roof structure aka the saddle roof.

Beginning in the late 1960s, when White was living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, he joined with the Bethlehem Steel Corporation to create a series of steel framed pre-fabricated cabins. There were six different designs with names such as Yellowstone, Teton and Everglade with models that ranged from one to three bedrooms. Every model featured White’s specialized “butterfly” roof design and a deck. The homes were designed to be easily assembled and according to White himself had “been designed to be assembled in a matter of hours.” The model home that is illustrated in the photos above was furnished by Sears Roebuck and was priced under $8000 including appliances and utilities. Seems like a steal to me!

Others apparently felt the same way. After the homes were profiled in the New York Times in 1965, White received many letters from interested consumers wondering how they could own their own prefab cabin. In the collection, we have letters ranging from individuals to major publications such as Elle who were interested in “inexpensive, aesthetic country homes” to feature in their magazine.

Since these homes seemed to be so popular, I wanted to see how many were still around today and to my complete shock, I could not find one record of one of these prefab cabins. Were they all torn down or am I simply not looking hard enough? Maybe someone out there upon reading this post will send me some information on these lost gems. Regardless of their current state, these cabins were clearly a remarkable creation by a remarkable architect.

-Alexandra Adler, ADC Intern

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