INDIANAPOLIS, October 20, 2009 — On June 14, 1929, the Legion Moderne Electric Home was opened in Park Ridge, Ill., to the public to view for 50 cents per person, which included a full tour of the home and garden along with entry into a raffle to win the home and its furnishings. The home instantly dazzled visitors with its unique architectural design, novel modern furnishing and richly landscaped exterior.
According to the local paper, the Park Ridge Herald, in 1929, the home was toured by upwards of 60,000 hopeful visitors, all trying to get their chance to win the home which, at the time was valued at around $22,000 furnished. The home was featured on the cover of the Herald on October 18 of that year with the caption “Who Will Win the Moderne Home?”
The raffle gala was kicked off later that day with a parade and street dance, and the winning ticket being drawn at the end of the evening. According to the Herald, the home was won by an elderly woman from Pennsylvania, who was reportedly the mother of a Park Ridge resident. Several decades later, the home was placed back on the market, and eventually purchased by the Flosi family. “We looked at the house for 30 minutes an immediately put in an offer,” said Toni Flosi, current owner, “there was no question, we wanted that house.”
This year marks the home’s 80th year, and celebrating along with it is the home’s only original working appliance, a Bryant furnace. The furnace was installed when the home was built, and has survived nearly a century with minimal repair work required. When the Flosi family moved into the house in April of 1969, their first concern was heating and cooling the home through the frigid, breezy winters and hot, humid summers of the Chicago-land area. “The first heating and cooling (HVAC) company we called told us the Bryant furnace wouldn’t last through the next winter,” Toni Flosi said, “And that was 40 years ago.”
Flosi went through the same “get a new one” sales pitch for several years, but despite contractors’ recommendations, decided to keep the Bryant furnace. Although the veteran gas furnace is not necessarily cost efficient, according to Flosi, it performs beautifully. “I’ve been told several times that the unit could probably heat a small school,” Flosi said.
The furnace was nearly lost in 2008 when the basement flooded with 8 inches sewer water. All other appliances, the hot water tank, washer and dryer had to be replaced, but the furnace survived, proving its durability in harsh conditions. “I called my current HVAC contractor, American Weathermakers, they came out and lit the gas burner and that was it,” Flosi said.
Flosi has the unit serviced every year by American Weathermakers, and has not dealt with any major repairs or issues. “The Bryant furnace is an absolute gem,” Flosi said.
Building the Legion Moderne Electric Home was the brainchild of the Mel Tierney Post No. 274 of the American Legion with the hopes of attracting new residents to Park Ridge. The 2,000 square foot, three bedroom, one and a half bathroom home was designed in the art-deco style by architect Charles Rawson and w as built to be an “all-electric” home.
From the exterior, the home looks like something straight from a fantasy novel. With very few windows and painted bright white with a dark brown trim around the door and the first floor, it has a castle-like rectangular structure that simply could not be replicated. The front door seems but a small brown slit amid the massive white structure. Even the address label on the home revels in uniqueness, embedded in a large stained-glass crescent moon above the door. The door is surrounded by two large white pillars, adding to the modern yet medieval look.
While the exterior appears a closed structure, the interior of the home reflects a very open-architecture. With a large, two-story wood staircase and overlooking skylight, the interior embodies a modern yet retro feel. The home is interestingly decorated with various pieces of modern art, retro furniture and abstract light fixtures. Possibly the most unique and exotic feature of the home’s interior is a large, fan-like light structure with various colors of incandescent light bulbs. The structure is incased in the domed living room ceiling and is best visible through an opening above the second floor staircase.
Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems, a leading supplier of HVAC equipment, is part of Carrier Corp. Based in Farmington, Conn., Carrier is the world’s largest provider of heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions. With 2008 revenues of $14.9 billion, Carrier has approximately 41,000 employees worldwide and operations in more than 170 countries. Carrier is part of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), a Hartford, Connecticut-based provider of products and services to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. Bryant has been dedicated to customer comfort and satisfaction since 1904. In addition to its best-in-class network of distributors and dealers, Bryant offers exceptional reliability and energy savings through an extensive line of durable heating and cooling products. Bryant is devoted to doing Whatever It Takes to deliver the highest quality in HVAC products and services for consumers nationwide, which is why so many people have trusted their indoor comfort needs to Bryant.