Bristol Historical Association Newsletter

March 2012

Vol. 2Issue  1
In This Issue: Click and Go!
The Lustron Home
Over 100 Attend March Program "Snapshots of Bristol History"
School Education Outreach
Renew Your Membership!
Preston House Update
Quick Links


by Phyllis Harrison

Long Crescent Drive Bristol, VA

After World War II, the United States Government wanted to create affordable housing for the returning servicemen. Carl Strandlund obtained a government loan to produce homes made of steel with porcelain coated exterior panels, steel framing and steel interior walls and ceilings. He founded the Lustron Corporation and built approximately 2498
Lustron Homes from a former aircraft plant in Columbus Ohio between 1948 and 1950.
The homes sold for between $8500 and $9500 which was about 25% less than comparable conventional housing.  
By November of 1949 the Lustron's average selling price was up to $10,500 not including the lot.
Advertised as a way to "maximize pleasure and minimize work", the Lustron home with
its low maintenance, extremely durable, baked on porcelain enamel finish was expected to attract families who might not have the time or interest in repairing and painting conventional wood and plaster homes. The Lustron interiors had metal-paneled walls that were most often gray. All interior rooms featured pocket doors to maximize space and all models featured metal cabinetry and metal ceiling tiles. The living room and master bedrooms featured built-in wall units. As an option, home buyers could have a unique Thor-brand combination clothes and dishwasher which incorporated the kitchen sink.
The homes came in eight exterior colors:   Surf Blue, Blue-green, Dove Gray, Maize Yellow, Desert Tan, Green, Pink, and White. The roof consisted of porcelain-enameled steel tiles which were installed shingle style. Most models were heated with an oil furnace that directed heat into an enclosed space above the metal ceilings. Each home produced by the Lustron Corporation had its own serial number stamped on an oval, metal Lustron name plate. The higher the serial number, the later the date it was produced. The serial number plate was mounted on the furnace wall of the utility room.
We have several Lustron homes in Bristol Virginia and Tennessee. Some have been modified from their original state with additions, sheet rock walls, conventional shingle roofs, replacement windows and modern kitchens.  But all are unique and offer a glimpse of a time gone by and all add to the richness of our history. Who wouldn't want a home that is "rodent proof, fire proof, rust proof, lightning proof and never needs painting"! Sounds good to me!
Holston Avenue  Bristol, TN
Over 100 Attend BHA's
"Snapshots of Bristol History" Program on March 12th 

At the BHA's March General Membership meeting a wonderful power-point presentation was presented to a standing room only crowd which included some of the highlights of BHA's photographic archival collection.  This presentation, entitlted "Snapshots of Bristol History" was shown and narrated by Roy & Carolyn Williams.

The Williams have spent years copying and digitizing the photographic collection as well as co-authoring  a book of Bristol images,      "Honoring Our Heritage: Faces and Places from the Past" along with Lonnie and Kim Blevins.   "Snapshots of Bristol History" is a power-point presentation of dozens of both common and rare glimpses of buildings, architecture, events and memorable "Kodak" moments in the city.  Many are original images from the Association's Kelly & Green Collection.  These images are breathtaking and tell a story that can only be told visually.

This same presentation is available for free presentation to YOUR group!  If your club or organization would like to book "Snapshots of Bristol History", please contact Roxann Coulthard at 276-466-5357.

Watch your e-mailboxes for details on BHA sponsored upcoming programs!  For May's event author and newspaper columnist Joe Tennis will be speaking about the lost State of Franklin.  June's meeting will feature a program by Dr. John Gaines on John B. Floyd, the 31st governor of Virginia, U.S. Secretary of War, and Confederate General.

 For further details on upcoming events, please contact program chairman Tim Buchanan, 276-669-3885. 


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Greetings from the President 


I cannot begin to thank the BHA committee chairmen for their hours of volunteer work on behalf of the Bristol community.  Endeavors to save and maintain our properties with very limited resources, the exposure of several hundred school children in the course of a year to Bristols' histories, hours spent in preserving and protecting our paper and artifact collections, endless work by
our Director of Finance andTreasurer to allocate funds and oversee our books - these are a sampling of efforts made by the BHA to fulfill its mission of preserving and sharing the history of Bristol and the surrounding area. Maintaining and  increasing membership is an ongoing effort as are program scheduling, newsletter creation, and newspaper press releases to inform the public.  These projects, in addition to fundraising by aggressive merchandising and the marking of local homes of historic significance are all designed to keep the history of Bristol in the public eye and are accomplished by a dedicated and committed group of individuals to whom the community owes its gratitude. We continue to grow and
prosper with the help of the Bristol community.  A special" thank you" to all of you who support us in whatever way you can. 


Isabelle Ladd 


Education Outreach

Joyce Kistner

  Joyce Kistner is doing a remarkable job of presenting our local history to children via the school outreach program that she designed.  Along with faithful helper Barbara Smith, Joyce is committed to perpetuating the pride in Bristol's rich heritage that our forefathers sacrificed so much to create.  Below is the text of one of many letters received from school children telling the story of what they have learned.




By Zoey Hughes


It was 1715 in Bristol, Virginia. At that time it was called Goodson. There was a woman named Elizabeth. She was going to marry a very handsome man named John. Elizabeth had been looking forward to this day her whole life. At 17 she was quite excited to begin her life as a farmer's wife. John had a farm where he grew tobacco and raised cattle. It would be hard work but they would have more than enough to raise a family.


The ceremony was beautiful and afterwards there was a big party to celebrate. Elizabeth got use to farm life quickly. They awoke before sunrise. Elizabeth would make eggs and Indian corn. She then collected eggs from the chickens and helped John milk the cows. Her days were spent taking care of the home, mending or sewing clothes, and planning for meals. Her favorite thing to do was make candles. She made them out of grease, wood ashes, and some other things. They used the candles for lighting their home at night and Elizabeth was even able to sell some of them.


Soon after they got married Elizabeth was going to have a baby. Her son, William, was healthy and happy at their home. Now, Elizabeth had to care for a new baby and all of her other responsibilities, William slept in a cradle John made.


Elizabeth had four more children, Sarah, Marigold, David , and Charles. As the children grew they also had responsibilities. The boys helped their father on the farm and the girls helped their mother with her duties.


Most of their supplies had to be made. So they always had plenty to do. The girls learned how to spin and weave wool. They made wool by sheering the sheep.


One day William shouted out "Cows". A few of the cows went through the baker's shop, and past the silversmith. Finally, they stopped in front of the school teacher. Then, the boys had to take them back home while getting out of school for the day. It wasn't the end though. As William slipped and fell down the cows ran away again. One cow ran back to the baker's shop again and one went to a neighbor's home. Finally, the boys got all the animals and started toward home. It was already the end of the day. Life on the frontier was hard.


Renew your Membership!

 Renew your membership!

Did you know that BHA offers a variety of membership levels, most of which come with discounts on BHA merchandise?  

And don't forget that you can give BHA memberships as gifts! 

For more information, 

contact Roxann Coulthard at roxann@bvunet.net 

or visit BHA's website at  





The Preston House
by Jan Rainero


The Preston House Development Committee, consisting of Isabelle Ladd, Barry Hopper, Ken Kistner, Jordan Pennington,  Peter Lawrie, James Gregory, and Dee Flannagan along with Chair Jan Rainero, have been very busy!  BVU requested the removal of several trees so that they could install electricity to the property, and these trees have been taken down.  The back of the house has been covered with tarps.  Several grants are being applied for, and tax-exempt status is being sought.  Appalachian Millworks of Abingdon has worked up an estimate for the recreation of windows and doors.  The Committee is working on a list of contacts to receive funding request correspondence.  CLICK HERE  to view the Robert Preston House Brochure for more detailed information about this ongoing project!



Power to the Preston House!


Thanks to the efforts of BVU and their employees the Preston House now has electricity!

Thanks BVU for all you do!




A $5000 grant has been received from Regions Bank 

for the Robert Preston House project.  

Many thanks to Regions Bank for their support of our ongoing efforts to preserve the history of our community for future generations!