News Column

Living in a dream

July 21, 2014

By Dianne Frances D. Powell, The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.



July 21--TERRE HAUTE -- "Welcome to the dream home!"

These were the words that greeted guests on Sunday as they entered a white, two-story home on the east side of Terre Haute.

But this was not just any other white house lined up along Ohio Boulevard. This was one of 76 dream homes in the country, built to promote a 1948 film, "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House," which starred Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. It was a replica of the home featured in the film.

Dozens of community members packed Terre Haute's dream house, at 2400 Ohio Blvd., for a "VIP Dream House tour and pool-side party," a fundraiser benefiting the Vigo County Historical Society and Museum. Marylee Hagan, executive director of the Vigo County Historical Museum, said she was very pleased with the turnout.

"A lot of people that have come said that they didn't know this house existed in this town," Hagan said as she stood in the dining room by the table where the original "Mr. Blandings" blueprints were laid out for guests to examine. "It is one of the history stories that we have to tell."

She thanked the homeowners, Bryan and Cathy Sponsler, who agreed to open their home for the event. Before the tour, some guests attended the free viewing of the movie "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House," in the Community Theatre. Thanks to the support of sponsors, organizers were able to reach its $10,000 goal, Hagan said.

But this was not the first time the dream house was toured by the public.

A tour in 1948 allowed guests to marvel at the cutting-edge technology in the home. When it was erected, the dream home featured the newest amenities including central heating and cooling; an intercom system; an electric Westminister door bell chime, a sink with a disposal unit; and a water heater.

The house also had new appliances such as an automatic washer and dryer; two-temperature refrigerator; range; 8-foot home freezer; and a dishwasher. It had steel frame and concrete flooring.

"It was way ahead of its time, I'm sure," said Bob Cowden, one of guests at the tour.

Although, the current dream home has been updated over the years, those who walked through its halls and bedrooms could still see its unique character.

Cowden, who was at the tour with his wife, Corinne, complimented the homeowners for their effective use of space and beautiful decorations.

"It just looks like a great place to live in," he said.

Another guest, Judy Harris, said she especially liked the powder/vanity room, located in the second-floor master bedroom.

"That's what every woman needs," she said.

Her husband, Kent, was impressed with the steel underpinnings and the duct work of the house.

While many of the original appliances and amenities have been replaced, visitors on Sunday were able to see the original controls, which no longer work, for the garage doors, Cathy Sponsler said.

Sponsler said she was very excited about the turnout. Her husband "really wanted to do something special because it's a special house," she said.

So she welcomed the community to her home, which, she admitted, was "a little unusual" and an "odd thing to do."

"We love our house, and it doesn't bother us to let other people enjoy it, too," she said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.powell@tribstar.com.

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(c)2014 The Tribune-Star (Terre Haute, Ind.)

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Source: Tribune-Star (Terre Haute, IN)


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