Tournalayer House in Vicksburg

A friend sent me this clipping from the Emporia Kansas Gazette, which shows a house made by the Tournalayer machine that was manufactured by LeTourneau.

The Emporia Gazette (Emporia, Kansas) · Thu, Feb 28, 1946

GIANT MACHINE POURS HOUSES LIKE THIS — Strolling up the walk for an inspection visit, a GI and his girl friend (both unidentified) approach a completed two-bedroom concrete home built at Vicksburg, Miss., by the Tournalayer, giant machine which “pours” a complete dwelling in 24 hours time.

I was curious as to why the house was made in Vicksburg.  And after a quick bit of googling, I came across the video below.  Portions of the video show the Vicksburg house, but another section, containing footage from a press event, was shot in Longview, Texas

The video answers the question why the house was built in Vicksburg. LeTourneau had a boatyard and heavy equipment manufacturing plant in Vicksburg. LeTourneau also built the overland train that was used in Alaska. The wheels from one of those train cars were used for the tires on one of the early “Big Foot” monster trucks. That’s one of my favorite pieces of Mississippi trivia.

There was even a PhD dissertation done on the Tournalayer machine, which is laid out in blog format.  Included in the blog are photos and even a map of the extensive residential area associated with the Letourneau works in Vicksburg.

Based on the present day aerial it appears that most of the buildings were demolished or at least moved someplace else. Letourneau had quite the little town. His big house at the end of Grandview Drive seems to be the only house remaining.  Letourneau University used to have photos of his house when it was new, but they have removed them from the web.

It is possible that the Tournalayer houses survived. It sounds like the houses were designed to be movable. So close to the river they could have been put on a barge and ended up anywhere in the world?

Latourneau’s heavy equipment was used to build at least one other Vicksburg housing complex; Fredella Village.

Categories: Architectural Research, Demolition/Abandonment, Historic Preservation, Vicksburg


3 replies

  1. Wow, what a find–I had no idea! Surely at least one of these concrete houses has managed to survive? Will have to go poking around Vicksburg a little more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember visiting LeTourneau on a Girl Scout tour, probably in the late 50s, and seeing an entire neighborhood of the little concrete houses. At the time I believe they were occupied by LeTourneau workers. I thought they were cute.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I worked at Letourneau and lived there. I lived on Pine street and Lakeview Dr. My son now owns the land you see on aerial view. He also has the original R.G. Letourneau sign that was once at entrance. All of the houses were bulldozed years ago before my son bought it.The house where R.G. lived on the hill on Grandview is still standing to this day but needs lots of work to make liveable.


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