News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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July 9, 2014

Ohio Boulevard home built to promote 1948 movie

Historical Society plans viewing of comedy, poolside party

TERRE HAUTE — It isn’t often that you get to meet a movie star right here in Terre Haute, but on July 20 you’ll have the chance to do just that — almost. In this case, the movie star happens to be a unique home on the city’s east side, built to promote the 1948 motion picture “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. Join the Vigo County Historical Society for a viewing of this smash comedy, followed by a VIP home tour and poolside party.

Built by RKO Pictures, the home is one of 76 replicas constructed across the nation to promote the film. It had “every electrical aid for better living — from the all-electric dream kitchen and laundry to the automatic garage door opener!”

The Newlin-Johnson Development Company was instrumental in getting the house built in Terre Haute. John Newlin Sr. commented that houses weren’t being built during World War II and since this was one of the first houses built following the war, it generated a lot of interest in the community. It was also the only dream house in the country built with an all-steel frame, and one of the first of its kind in Terre Haute.

“I think it is very fitting that our first event of 2014 to raise money for the Vigo County Historical Museum involves a little known historical fact about our city,” event chairman Tom Chiado said.  

“It is fantastic to be one of the few cities in the United States to have a Mr. Blanding’s Dream Home that was built in 1948 with all the most ‘modern conveniences of the day,’ including the ability to open your garage door without getting out of your car!”

A promotional matchbook from the home’s grand opening lists nearly two dozen local businesses that were part of the original dream home project. Just as in 1948, the Historical Society is hoping to include as many of those businesses as possible in this special event, as well as other local sponsors.

The organization has partnered with Community Theatre of Terre Haute for the movie showing at 2 p.m. VIP guests are then invited to compare the film’s home to the replica at 2400 Ohio Boulevard at an exclusive poolside party beginning at 4 p.m.

Admission is free for the movie showing at Community Theatre of Terre Haute. Tickets for the VIP home tour and party are $40 each and include hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

Tickets are available by calling 812-235-9717 or at vchsmuseum.org.

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