Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monsanto House

Unlike some Disneyland features, I never seem to tire of looking at the Monsanto House of the Future. It still looks futuristic more than 50 years after its construction; somehow it almost glows with optimism. It's fun to imagine what the Hollywood Hills (for instance) would look like if this kind of home had caught on.

Here's a great photo from 1958 (still pre-Matterhorn), with the House gleaming in the sunlight as it "floats" above the water and the (Japanese influenced?) gardens. Real humans (not plastic!) can be seen through the windows, exploring the wonders of sonic dishwashers, microwave ovens, and Acrilan carpets.

Some of you may recall that I posted some photos taken by a LIFE magazine photographer a while back. Well, a few weeks ago I was in a Burbank bookstore, digging through old magazines, and bought a few to take home (long story). The November 11, 1957 issue's cover story was "Tomorrow's Life Today". Sounds like a fun subject, doesn't it? Take a look at page 135:

Looks familiar, doesn't it? I did not link to this exact photo in my blog post, but you can see it here. I think it's interesting that there's no mention of Disneyland; perhaps the editors thought that the Monsanto house would be taken more seriously if the Disney connection was avoided. Who knows. Anyway, you can read the entire article (or every issue of LIFE magazine!) on Google Books. See the November 11, 1957 issue HERE.


Chiana_Chat said...

Almost perfect picture of the HOF but for Mr. I. M. Serious. Or come to think of it, doesn't he give the perfect context? Excellent pic.

Thanks for the interesting article too :)

Well LIFE writer, seems we didn't need those modern methods. Or did we? There are people who could use any cost effective shelter but... seems to be little care about that.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Awesome HOTF photo (the Life one if pretty nice too!). Odd how there's no mention of Disneyland in the Life article, plus in the big Life photo, could the water be any more murky?

Connie Moreno said...

Wow, wow, wow! (Words escape me)

Sweet!!! But I still hate you for taunting me with photos of something I walked by a gazillion times and chose not to explore. Somebody shoot me....

The Viewliner Limited said...


JG said...

Always loved the House Of The Future, but even though things like this are possible, they do not sell well to downtown America.

Even people who say they are not conservative, are most conservative with their homes. Here, in the future, the people are plastic, not their houses.

You can see what the HOF became, just drive by any mobile home manufacturer lot, and that's what you have, factory built modular housing tarted up to look Tudor.

(rant off)

Thanks Major, this is some seriously cool stuff.


TokyoMagic! said...

I miss that stepped waterfall and the zig-zag walkway that remained there until the King Triton fountain was installed (in the early nineties?)

Major, did you know the concrete walls of that planter on the far left of your first pic (under the stairway) are still there today? They used to be more visible, but now they are hiding behind shrubbery and the Pixie Hollow entrance sign.

Major Pepperidge said...

Humans are creatures of habit, I guess it's hard to shake them out of their traditional homes!

Tim, I wonder if the HOF water was part of the greater water system that was connected all throughout Disneyland?

Connie, how could you have just walked by??

Viewliner and JG, glad you liked the post!

Chris, I did not know about the concrete walls of that planter; somehow it's comforting knowing that it is still there!

Connie Moreno said...

Major, what can I say? I was a stupid kid....stupid...

Nancy said...

wonder if anyone ever actually bought one of these for their home...

the Hollywood Hills picture in my mind would be really cool!!

another of the wonderful things at Disneyland i wish i had seen but never had the chance to


what a nice post :)

Nancy said...

oh wow....i just went to look at the Life issue.....HOLY COW!!!

incredible pictures of those cars, great article on the monster movies....oh yeah! :)

i am going to read this on my next day off

SOOO many thanks for posting the link