Tracking Futuro, Lake George’s Flying Saucer Home
By Joseph W. Zarzynski
Monday, July 8, 2013
For decades, UFOs have been spotted hovering in the skies over communities around the world, mercurial celestial phenomena, here and then gone. Few places, however, have had a flying saucer that rested on the ground, puzzling curious visitors. Lake George is one of but a few spots on Planet Earth that can boast it was home to an alien-looking structure, called Futuro or Futuro House, which beginning four decades ago was located near the head of the lake.
John Farrell, a former Lake George High School teacher who taught astronomy and other science classes, came to the school district from Suffern, NY, in 1969. He recalls seeing Futuro.
“It was located just off Canada Street down near Charley Wood’s Gaslight Village and Waxlife USA,” said Farrell. “The flying saucer house structure was there for years and then was gone. Today there is a photograph of it at the Caldwell-Lake George Library.”
Charles R. Wood, who has been called the “father of American theme parks,” was probably quite intrigued by the unusual-looking Futuro. The flying saucer-type house seemed like something out of “The Jetsens,” a 1960s Hanna-Barbera animated television series about a late 21st century family with robotic utilities, spacecraft, and holograms.
The odd-shaped Futuro House was a product of a world fascinated with outer space and the possibilities of galactic exploration. A company from Finland prefabricated the houses in the late 1960s and early 1970s. With flying saucer likeness and an airplane hatch door, this was a unique architectural house design. They were initially built as ski-cabins or holiday homes.
Futuro Houses were constructed in modular fashion for ease of shipment and were about 26 ft. wide x 13 ft. tall with 20 oval windows and several metal legs. Each was of fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic manufacture with a kitchen, toilet, central fireplace, and beds for 8 people. A buyer of a Futuro could select an exterior color of either white, light-blue, yellow, or red. The structure’s lightweight was a feature for modernists of the space age who desired a nomadic lifestyle. Finnish architect Matti Suuronen envisioned this mobility and designed them to be able to be moved from location-to-location by helicopter transport. Reportedly less than 100 units were constructed during the late 1960s and 1970s, but they had worldwide distribution.
Production was stopped after the oil embargo of the 1973 as the price of crude oil skyrocketed. Increased shipping costs combined with the rising price of producing plastic that used oil in its manufacture, grounded Futuro. Today, fascination with Futuro lives on in several Internet websites that trace where Futuro Houses still stand around the world.
It is uncertain where Lake George’s Futuro ended up. The surrealistic flying saucer structure was an oddity, but this ultramodern house nonetheless left its mark upon Lake George’s architectural heritage.
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