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Archive for Sunday, January 26, 1992

LOCAL MAN RECALLS FLYING-SAUCER HOUSE

January 26, 1992

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A futuristic house that a local resident grew up in is being relocated to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenwood Village in Dearborn, Mich.

Jack Graham, a Lawrence resident, described the home, which resembles a flying saucer, as a "fun house to grow up in."

The round, aluminum home was designed by futurist Buckminster Fuller and was built after World War II on the Graham farm south of Andover.

Graham said his father, William Graham, bought the only two prototypes of the house in 1948.

Graham lived in the house throughout his childhood and teen-age years, until he left for college.

"As I was growing up, it was just the house I lived in," Graham said Friday, laughing.

It was later that he realized "that it definitely was a distinctive house."

GRAHAM SAID his childhood home, called Dymaxion house from the words "dynamic, maxiumum and tension," reflected his father.

"He was an interesting man," Graham said.

Graham's father "enjoyed people and enjoyed entertaining" at the unusual home. He said his family had been working on donating the house to the Ford Museum for many years.

His brother, Ted, said "the museum's interest in preserving and restoring the house and using it as a window to the future helped make this decision to relocate an easy one for us."

William Graham modified plans for one house to suit his family's needs and kept the second in storage for spare parts. He, his wife, and their six children lived in the house until the mid-1970s. He died in 1981.

Fuller, who died in 1983, originated the idea for the home in the 1920s. But it wasn't until 1945 that the first prototype was built by Beech Aircraft Corp. in an effort to employ airplane factory workers and to meet a severe housing shortage after World War II.

WHEN FULLER designed the house, he incorporated sheet aluminum originally intended for Beech airplanes. The theory was that the house would be light, weighing only three tons, and could be packed in a case of less than 300 cubic feet for shipping by air to any place in the world.

Bill Northwood, a public relations official with the museum, said the museum doesn't have a specific deadline for moving the house. He said the museum would spend this year analyzing the Dymaxion house's preservation requirements and arrange for its disassembly and shipment to Dearborn.

Northwood said museum officials will "move as expeditiously as we can" to relocate the home.

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