Thomas Edison's Concrete Houses

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I lived in a concrete house in Harrington Park, NJ from around 1986 to 1997. It was on Giles Road. I drove past last year and it was still standing. I’m not sure if it was one of Edison’s concrete houses, but it was built in 1926 and entirely made of reinforced poured concrete: walls, floors, and ceilings. It was a royal pain in the butt to hang a picture because you needed a masonry nail and it invariably left a big hole in the wall. I liked the house – the architecture was interesting – but the small rooms and crank windows made it less than ideal.

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Several Edison style concrete houses also remain standing in the town of Bath Pennsylvania. There are several half double homes on the even side of the 600 block of East Penn Street that remain standing and in good repair today, one of which was owned by my grandparents. They were constructed by Penn Dixie Cement for their workers. These company owned homes were eventually sold to private owners in the 1940’s.

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In 1901, Amos Gerald built a house of cement in Fairfield, Maine.

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I just visited Edison’s winter estate in Fort Myers FL. It is right next door to Ford’s winter home. There is a museum and a great many exhibits celebrating the work of both geniuses. Both homes are beautifully preserved and look for all the world like modern structures although they were built in the late nineteenth century. The setting on the banks of the Caloosahatchie River is gorgeous. It’s well worth seeing. Anyway, there is is a beautiful modern looking swimming pool in Edison’s backyard which dates back to 1910. I read that it was designed by Edison (of course), and formed with material from his Portland company. If you’re ever in Southwest Florida check it out.

Regards the age of the houses, just for perspective my wooden house - built for cannery workers for $1500 100 years ago is still in good shape - and mine is not the oldest in the neighborhood. I would have assumed ALL of the concrete buildings would have survived unless torn down.