LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) — Preservation Texas and the Board of Machine-Built Architecture Conservancy are hoping to preserve two Tournalaid Houses in Longview.
“They were built in 1946 as part of Letourneau’s worker housing,” said Conor Herterich, the Preservation Texas Endangered Properties Manager.
Komatsu, a large mining and construction business, is looking to expand on the land where the two Tournalaid Homes are currently located in Longview. The company is helping with the preservation where they can.
“A lot of significance too in the fact that they’re located there on sight this was the original when R.G. LeTourneau made this machine and invented it he has one in Vicksburg, Mississippi and the number two machine was here, in Longview,” said Stephen Cameron, the President of the Board of the Machine-Built Architecture Conservancy.
It all began with the Tournalayer machine invented by the well-known R.G. LeTourneau.
“And so he invented the Tournalayer machine which is this kind of a cast form on wheels with an engine and it could be moved into place wherever you wanted to put the house, and you drop the cast down you would fill it with concrete, and rebar and you would lift up the form when it was dry and go lay your next house,” said Herterich.
During the time these were built, service men and women were coming home from the war.
“They were building houses like gangbusters and everyone was looking for new, or better, or cheaper or faster ways to produce a home,” said Cameron.
His machine provided rapid builds and affordable housing.
“So, what they’d disassemble the machine they would ship it to where they wanted to build it, reassemble it then they would start laying the houses,” said Herterich.
Other places that had Tournalaid communities were Arizona, Mississippi and New York. But these homes were built around the world with the Tournalayer.
“Anyone in the area or in the community should be proud that this was a really remarkable innovation,” said Cameron.
Time is running out to save the homes.
“The clock is ticking on this for sure. It’s not something that so I think Komatsu is at the end of 2023,” said Herterich.
Hoping for support to save these significant pieces of history in Longview.