You're kidding! How could a World's Fair
fanatic like me live in this city for over a decade and not have
known about this? Yet, there it was
staring me in the
the Gospel truth in Formica's commemorative book
from the Fair saluting "The World's Fair House."
According to the book, Richard Ballschmider had built a Formica
World's Fair House in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and had decorated
it with the latest in contemporary furnishings from the H. C.
Prange Company of Sheboygan.
So, where was it? Every time I passed a
sixties-ish looking home that seemed to match the exterior design
shown in the book I wondered, "Is that the Formica
House?" I finally discovered it quite by accident when,
in a passing conversation with a neighbor, I leaned that she
was a neighborhood playmate of Dick Ballschmider's daughter in
the sixties! When I mentioned his connection to "the house"
she said, "Oh. You mean the World's Fair House? It's on
the corner of 6th and Columbus." All that time spent wondering
and here the Sheboygan version of the World's Fair House was
only six blocks away from my home! "It's a Small World After
My friend and fellow Fair enthusiast, Gary
Holmes, ventured with me the few blocks north in the late summer
of 2002 and stopped by the Formica World's Fair House of Sheboygan
to meet the owners. They were in the process of moving, but very
graciously invited us in to take a look at the house. Yes, they
were aware that the house was the "World's Fair House"
and, much to our surprise, asked if we'd like to take a look
at the blueprints. They had survived all these years and were
being passed on to the new owners! Sure enough. There, in the
bottom right hand corner was the Formica logo and the legend
"Formica World's Fair House."
So how does a Formica World's Fair House
look today, after nearly 40 years of habitation? Well, the Sheboygan
version has very little Formica! The house had definitely been
"updated" over the years and, although it still had
a sixties "flavor" to it, it was certainly not as colorful
as the version Bradd Schiffman has treated you to in this Feature.
We didn't take any pictures of the interior, but below are exterior
shots of the house. The floorplan is quite different from those
pictured in Formica's commemorative book. It would appear that
there were many varieties of this home. The book says, "Regional
adaptations of the same design have now been built on more than
150 different sites throughout the U.S.A. as practical homes
available for sale to the public." Perhaps this design is
what was adapted for the upper Midwest.