The Futuro House was conceived by Matti Suuronen in 1968 as a "portable" ski chalet. It is an iconic piece of architecture and this site is devoted to documenting the history of the Futuro and the current status and whereabouts of the remaining examples.
We woke up this morning to the terribly sad news that this Futuro had been destroyed by fire overnight. Our thanks to the many who let us know about this sad event. Not too much is known as yet and certainly we do not know the cause; what is known can be found in this Island Free Press article.
These photos from the scene were posted to Instagram by talented local photographer Daniel Pullen.
Daniel's photos show, to us at least, that the unit is a complete write of but several folks have commented this morning that they are hoping for a restoration. Personally we don't think that is even possible and if there was any doubt these photos from the Frisco Fire Department Facebook Page should probably put that idea to bed once and for all. This is - sadly - totally destroyed and now being moved to our list of Futuros that have been destroyed and removed from our "current" list.
This little clip of drone footage was sent to us by Austin Fore (thanks Austin); it shows a view of the Futuro from above we do not recall seeing before.
And on another note owner Leroy Reynolds recently posted this video footage to Youtube. The video is titled "inside of the futuro house on the OBX shows the inside during tear out" and it seems pretty likely that following a "tear out" you get some kind of a rebuild so it looks like this unit is going to get a little well deserved TLC. Can't wait to see what is coming; thanks for sharing Leroy.
We were recently messaging back and forth on Instagram and discussing old photos of this Futuro with @graveyardoftheatlanticmuseum. We had come across many of the same photos over the years but the ones below were new to us and are shared here courtesy of @graveyardoftheatlanticmuseum. Three are interesting interior shots while one is a rather cool aerial shot of the Futuro during its time at the Scotch Bonnet.
We really enjoyed seeing this set of photos posted to Instagram recently by Leilah Stone largely because they gave us a great look at the very interesting and somewhat eclectic interior of this unit; it certainly has its own individual character. Leilah; we hope you do not mind us sharing your photos here.
We recently came across a pair of "new-old" photos of this Futuro; "new" in the sense that we had not seen them before but "old" in the sense that they date from way back in the life of this Futuro.
The first shows this Futuro in its days at the Scotch Bonnet site serving as, we believe, "The Footlong Out Of This World Hot Dog Stand". The photo was posted to Instagram 020720 by jigglybutt and likely dates from the 1990's.
Also from the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum Facebook page is this aerial photo of Teach's Lair Marina which precisly places the Futuro in its original location in Hatteras Village south-east of the marina on Dunes Drive (approximately 35°12'31.25"N 75°41'49.93"W).
And finally for this update, from the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum Youtube Channel, comes this very cool video titled "The Frisco Futuro House: 60-Second History". Nothing new in terms of the unit's history but it does include some very cool photos along the way.
This video was posted to YouTube by Wes Snyder Photography on 021820. Though the video does feature this Futuro in the foreground it is perhaps most interesting for the great time-lapse footage of the Milky Way rotating in the night sky behind the Futuro.
Adventure As One published the video below, titled simply "Outer banks Futuro House", to Youtube 062319. It includes a little commentary and background from owner Leroy but there is no new information.
Around the time the video was published we also came across this 360° interior view of this Futuro posted to facebook by 360Cities
This video was posted to Youtube by My Home NC back in September 2017. Interesting conversations including with the owner but no new information.
We came across the photo below the other day on Pinterest; the photo appears to originate from lecontainer.blogspot.com. The location is not identified but we believe it is an early photo of this Futuro in its original location (check out the similarity to this photo). Also over the past few days we came across yet another video featuring this Futuro; this one was recently posted to Youtube by My Home NC.
We recently came acros this video by Daniel Bray on Vimeo.
Recently owner Leroy Reynolds posted this photo to Facebook. Based on the changed look of the interior it looks like his Futuro is going to get a little tlc. Leroy commented this way:
"Got some of the inside work done this afternoon. It's time to fix up the ship."
The "controversy" over the Frisco Futuro's future recently reached local TV with this piece being broadcast by Raleigh, North Carolina TV station WRAL. According to the County spokesperson the Futuro is not actually under any kind of threat but it cannot be occupied in any way unless it is brought up to code; until it is the entrance is supposed to be sealed.
It seems that this Futuro may be running into problems with the local authorities according to this post on the Frisco UFO Facebook page.
While we are not sure the local Country Commissioners will care at all about what folks out of the area think you never know so we encourage anyone who cares about the Futuro House to contact the Dare County Commissioners with a simple message "hands off The Frisco Futuro!" Perhaps if they get inundated they will think better of whatever plans they have.
There is also a petition that we invite you to sign here.
This video was posted to YouTube by ConfusedDragon on 041117. It includes a little footage of both the exterior and interior of this Futuro.
Paula Russo, daughter of Lee and Mary Jane Russo, the original owners of this Futuro, emailed us recently with a little update to some of the detailed history of this Futuro that we pulled from the video "Forty Years & Counting" and included in this section of the 041213 update to this page.
The Futuro delivery crew dropped the Futuro on the foundation not in the street. There was a huge buckle in the fiberglass to the right of the door and, as delivered, there was no wiring, no plumbing, no kitchen and no painting.
Paula's father was a doctor and a good many of his former patients had become friends over the years and many of them were part of a crew of about 10 tradesmen he brought together to fix up the Futuro; the process took around two weeks.
At the time the beach was around 50 yards wide and there were only three houses on the road; there was rarely anyone on the beach and the island was still relatively isolated.
Paula tells me that once fixed up she spent a great deal of time in the Futuro which she considered (her words) "the most intensely cool house in the world". Paula added that rain would make a tremendous racket on the roof and the Futuro would sometimes shake a little in windy conditions and that she and her family would always stay in a local hotel during hurricanes telling us that "there was no way we were staying in that house". That said the Futuro clearly survived the hurricanes as it is alive and well to this day.
Paula, many thanks for sharing your recollections; you certainly have a far better memory that we ever thought about having.
Also recently we came across this nice set of interior shots of this Futuro that was shot in April 2016. Our thanks to "The Foxworthy Traveling Show" for allowing us to share them here.
We received an email the other day from John Wood who created several rather cool 360 panoramic images of this Futuro. One interior view and one exterior view are embedded below, further exterior views can be found here, here, here and here. John; thanks for sharing these
; very cool.
This is perhaps one of the most photographed Futuros out there and most times the photos are very similar; that said we rather like this slightly different "dusk" shot taken by Bob 070816; thanks for sending it over Bob.
This video titled "Conversation with a Space Alien in Frisco, NC" includes words from this Futuro's owner and a rare glimpse inside the unit. Our thanks to AccurateCrabLegs who shot the video and sent us a link to it.
Nancy Hall has shared photos of Frisco before and while she was staying in the area recently she took this interesting photo. Taken 031416 using a zoom lens from the deck of the property Nancy was staying at the photo offers a different perspective than has been seen in prevous photos of this Futuro. Thanks for sharing Nancy.
Dennis Mannion recently sent us the photo below (thanks Dennis) taken by his son Jake. Dennis tells us he and his family vacationed in Frisco or Hatteras many times starting in 1988. On that first vacation the Futuro was in the Scotch Bonnet parking lot; it was a "food spot" and painted silver at the time.
Based on Dennis' research into the time that Dale Earnhartd Snr. was sponsored by Coke (note the Coke machine in the photo) and personal recollections he and Jake believe the photo was taken in either 1996 or 1997 which is in accord with previously documented history of this Futuro (see the 041213 update). Dennis goes on to recount that:
"In subsequent years the house had been moved to the other side of the road (still functioning, I think), and then moved around a few 100 yards or so but eventually not functioning as anything. Just a landmark to look for."
This is again in accord with previously documented history (which has the Futuro leaving the Scotch Bonnet between Sept 1999 and Sept 2000) though it is interesting to note in this photo that the business appears to have been named "Cosmic Cones and Carry Out" which is different to the previously documented name "The Footlong Out Of This World Hot Dog Stand".
Recently we came across an archived webpage while searching the Internet Archive Wayback Machine which included the photograph below; a Futuro photograph we had never seen before. The original webpage seems to have gone but the archived page can be accessed here.
Initially we did not recognize the location or the Futuro but there were things about the photograph that "rang a bell" and after a little searching we realized it was a photograph of the Frisco Futuro during its time at the Scotch Bonnet. The color of the Futuro is different from other photos of the location but we know that the Frisco Futuro was painted green at one point (see this photo). In the end we had no doubt about the location based on the similarity of the photo to this photo of the Futuro at the Scotch Bonnet location and on the fact that the "alien art" seen in the windows is identical to that seen in photos of the Frisco Futuro such as this one.
We have no intention of going over our reasoning again, that can be found below, but based on all the evidence we believe that this Futuro was moved from the Scotch Bonnet location to Frisco sometime in the period between Sept 1999 and Sept 2000 and that at the time of the move it was finished in green. This "new" photograph is most likely to have been taken sometime not too long before the move to Frisco. The archived webpage only indicates it was published 2/6 with no indication of the year; the archive capture of the webpage was from 2003 but certainly the photo was not that late and the webpage was clearly published some years before the archive capture.
We came across a video (below), titled "Forty Years & Counting", a little while ago but then lost track of the url. Nancy Hall recently sent us a link; thanks Nancy. The video offers us a fascinating history of this Futuro and features interviews with the various owners over the years along with some great video footage and marvelous stills.
The video was filmed by Kim Best and uploaded to YouTube by Ambato1234. Still photographs are by Lee and Mary Jane Russo and Ricky Jones and there are interviews with the following:
Dorothy & Percy Midgett (Neighbors)
James Bagwell (Current Owner)
Berle Wilson (Past Neighbor)
John O'Brien (Past Owner)
Dr. Lee & Mary Jane Russo (Original Owners)
Peter Mosley (Artist)
Though obviously the video was not made for us we would like to extend our thanks to all involved for creating such a fascinating and fact filled look at the life of the Frisco Futuro; as a result the history of the Frisco Futuro is now as well documented as almost any Futuro out there.
The video clears up many of the questions about the history of the Frisco Futuro. It does actually confirm much of what we had listed previously but it also disproves some of the reports and rumors about the unit; in particular it appears that the reports in a discussion thread on OBX Connection (referenced in the original information below) that the first use of the Futuro was in Avon as a real estate office and that there may have been two units known as the "Double Bubble" are not true. Of course that leaves us wondering whether there was another Futuro (or two) "back in the day".
So what of the history of the Frisco Futuro? What does the video tell us? The original owners of the Futuro were Dr. Lee & Mary Jane Russo. The Russo's were on vacation in the area in 1970 when they came across a plot of land they decided to purchase. They needed to find a house to put on the land and they saw The Futuro House in the "The Last Whole Earth Catalog" and decided that would fit the bill.
Their Futuro was transported from New Jersey in two halves on a flatbed truck in 1972. Apparently the drivers simply dropped the Futuro off in the street and left all of the interior fixtures and fittings along side. A local builder helped assemble the Futuro (at one point dropping it from a crane) and then later some dozen or so friends and family spent two weeks helping the Russo's get everything installed inside.
The Russo's used the Futuro as a holiday home and "escape" from Baltimore until 1983. By then the family had "outgrown" the Futuro and the Russo's donated the Futuro to the local volunteer fire department following their last night in the Futuro on 031983. The fire department was originally going to burn the Futuro and use it as part of a training exercise but instead it was raffled off and moved to Frisco.
Despite the wealth of information in the video there are still some facts that are unclear. The Futuro was moved to Frisco in 1983; John O'Brien of the Scotch Bonnet tells us that his parents purchased the Futuro in the late 80's. It is unclear exactly where the Futuro was located between 1983 and the late 80's. What we do know is that once the Futuro left the Russo's it was used by the Boy Scouts for a while and also served as the office for a local publication, The Monitor. Whether one or both of these uses was prior to the purchase by the O'Brien's is unclear.
Following the O'Brien's purchase of the unit in the late 80's it was rented out for a while, used for two summers as accommodation by John O'Brien and his brother and spent some time as the Scotch Bonnet Campground office. The last use of the unit on the Scotch Bonnet site was as "The Footlong Out Of This World Hot Dog Stand."
The video does not indicate when current owner James Bagwell purchased the Futuro and moved it to its current location but based on the evidence of Google maps and other factors (see original information below) this is likely to have been sometime in the twelve months following Hurricane Dennis (sometime Sept 1999 to Sept 2000).
The Futuro is not your typical building, it probably does not appeal to everyone and you would perhaps be forgiven for thinking a Futuro owner might just have to be a little wild or eccentric. The video certainly shows us that James Bagwell has character; we particularly like the evident joy he seems to get from annoying the County Government.
The stills grabbed from the video show:
The Futuro's in its original location [two captures]
The Futuro "On the move" [four captures]
The Futuro as an office for "The Monitor"
The Futuro as a hotdog stand at the Scotch Bonnet
Close up of the Futuro as a hotdog stand
It is typically fairly easy to determine the location of most Futuro photographs but until now we had never been sure of the location shown in the photograph below. It is from Flickr by theappraiserlady. Based on the video we are now certain this is a shot of the Frisco Futuro at its original location. Compare it with the first two stills above and we think you will agree.
Nancy Hall captured the following photos during a recent trip to Hatteras Island; the photos are dated from 022713 to 032613. The Futuro remains in poor condition but it does not appear, to us at least, to have deteriorated further over the last couple of years. The photos are displayed with permission; thanks Nancy.
One of the original images we included on this page was a somewhat "freaky" shot by Andrew Henderson. When we contacted him to ask if our displaying one of his photographs here was OK he not only said that was fine but he also sent us a marvelous set of photos of the Frisco Futuro that he had not published online and gave us permission to display them on this site.
The two images below are from this set; to see the whole set go here. The first is another in the "freaky" class; you gotta love the aliens in the windows and we think this is a great shot. The second one is another example of the deterioration of this Futuro; even back in 2008 we see the paint deteriorating and in this shot we see what looks like huge air bubbles under the paint - it almost looks like the Futuro is wrapped in something.
No matter how many ways you spin your search terms and how many search engines you use you never pick up everything when researching something online.
Our good friend Achim Breiling sent us a link to this article on Open Places shortly after we last updated this page. For us what was particularly interesting was actually one of the comments on the post. Lyndsey Keegan provided us with a description and photograph of the interior. Lyndsey describes the interior as being "Complete with bathroom, open concept living area and kitchen/bar"; Lyndsey's photo of the interior is shown below.
Original Information 090811
The book North Carolina Curiosities, 4th (Curiosities Series) includes a two page article on the Frisco Futuro on pages 248-249. We are told that the Futuro first arrived in the area in 1970 and has served many purposes over the years since including serving as an oceanfront cottage, a Boy Scout meeting place, a magazine office, a hotdog stand and a knickknack shop. You can read a part of the article on Google Books.
The Dare County website Tax Info (Search for parcel number 014961001) section tells us that the current owner of the Futuro is Bagwell Realty, Frisco, LLC and that they have owned the Futuro since at least 2002. There is a photo of the Futuro dated October 2010 on the county website here.
The Futuro has clearly not been on this site since 1970. Google Earth satellite imagery dated 021804 shows the Futuro on this site but the previous imagery indicates it was not on this site 021498. A comment by free&open in a discussion thread titled "History behind UFO / Spaceship in Frisco" on the website OBX Connection points us in the direction of the Futuros previous location; free&open tells us that:
"The space ship was first located in Avon. It was the First Office of Outer Beaches Realty, then owned by Anne and Wally Beckham. I don't remember the exact year but it was in the 70s 1974 - 78. When they built the new office that now houses a art gallery (next to subway in Avon) they sold it to Scotch Bonnet and it has been used for many things in its life here on the Outer Banks."
A few minutes with Google Earth identified the previous location as being The Scotch Bonnet, North Carolina 12, Frisco, NC, USA (35°15'6.46"N 75°36'6.27"W). The first image below is a screenshot of the Futuro from Google Earth using imagery dated 021498; earlier imagery in Google Earth places the unit at this location as early as 022893 (second screenshot below). The Futuro is actually much clearer in the earlier imagery but it is still evident in the 1998 imagery. Since the Dare County tax info suggests the current owners have owned the unit since at least 2002 is seems likely (though not definite) that the move from The Scotch Bonnet to the current location took place between 1998 and 2002.
In a second comment by free&open posted in the same discussion thread we are provided with this tantalizing bit of information:
"When it was first brought it here as the Outer Beaches Office there were TWO of them and it was called The Double Bubble. They sure got a lot of attention. I don't know what happened to the other one but if I run into anne I will ask her. I never saw it on the Island . They were really nice had a big deck that connected the two and they had offices for the Realtors."
This is the only mention we have ever come across of there at one time being two Futuros in the Outer Banks. If anyone has any information about this or perhaps even an old photo please let us know.
At the top of the column we recounted the various functions attributed to this Futuro in the book North Carolina Curiosities, 4th (Curiosities Series). The Futuros varied and interesting history is further attested to by the number of postings and comments about the various roles it has played over the years:
Comments in the above referenced OBX Connection discussion thread mention a restaurant or drive-up diner, a hot dog joint and a real estate office; the hot dog theme is repeated and likely associated with the time at The Scotch Bonnet
A photograph on the website silverdragon.com is accompanied by another reference to time as a hot dog stand only in this case it also sold ice cream.
In an article on the Futuro on Flatrock we are told the Futuro operated as an ice cream stand at one time and that now (not sure when "now" was as the article is not dated) the owner occasionally opens it and sells retro "space age" items. Interestingly the photo that accompanies this article shows the Futuro without all of the rocks around it that we see in almost all of the photos; perhaps taken when the unit had not been long on this site?
A mygola.com article recounts a real estate office, a vacation home and a flea market as roles for the unit.
On a page titled "Topside Hatteras" on DiveHatteras.com we find another reference to the Futuro being used as a magazine office; the Hatteras Monitor. In addition we read that "supposedly" someone lived in the unit at one time.
A 2008 flyer published by the North Carolina Museum Of History (download) titled "You Can't Miss It: Roadside Fun" indicates that the Futuro was once a diner.
Various posts on RoadsideAmerica.com also reference time spent by the Futuro as a restaurant as well as a flea market (in October 2003).
As is the case with many of the Futuros it is hard to be certain about this Futuros history but there is a lot of similarity between the various reports; what someone calls a hotdog stand another might consider a restaurant and yet another might describe it as a hotdog and ice cream stand for example.
Reading all of the comments and references it seems to us most likely that the Futuro served as a real estate office for Outer Beaches Realty in Avon, as a restaurant/hotdog stand/diner while at The Scotch Bonnet and subsequently perhaps as a sometimes open, flea market like business.
Greg Brown posted this photo showing the Futuro painted a light green on RoadsideAmerica.com; as best we can tell from various photos and the (albeit not entirely clear) history of the unit it seems like the Futuro was repainted in its current metallic silver sometime after being moved to it's current location - probably soon after the move.
Eric Johnson reports the unit as a restaurant a few months before a post dated 080298 and at that time the Futuro was green. Greg Brown comments on 042900 that the unit was no longer a restaurant; it does not seem to be a stretch to infer that it stopped being a restaurant at the time it moved to its current location - in theory narrowing the possible window for that move to between 021498 (confirmed at The Scotch Bonnet by Google Earth) and 092300 when Greg Brown comments on its new paint job and its being surrounded by landscaping timbers and pine bark (which sounds like the current location based on various photographs).
A comment on a Mike Lynaugh photograph on Flickr sheds some light on a possible reason (and perhaps narrows the time window again) for the move from The Scotch Bonnet to the current location. JoshNonny tells us that the Futuro was damaged during hurricane Dennis and then went out of business; that might explain why it ceased to be a restaurant and why it was then moved.
Dennis made landfall near Harker's Island, North Carolina on 090599 after having been stalled off the North Carolina coast for several days. It is quite possible then that following the hurricane the restaurant closed and the Futuro was moved and that would place the move sometime after September 1999.
If we add this hypothesis to the theory above that the move must have happened prior to 092300 we are left with the move having taken place sometime in the twelve months following hurricane Dennis.
There seem to be far more photographs and videos circulating of this Futuro than most others. A selection are shown below. The first four photos are by Runder and are displayed here under CC 2.0 license; the photos are dated 052010.
The two videos below give us a nice look at this Futuro; they can be found on YouTube here and here.
The image below, taken from a different angle than most photographs of this Futuro, shows the unusual window configuration. Most US Futuros have a single row of windows around the unit and a pair of lower "viewing windows" and the most common European configuration (for an example see the Taunusstein Futuro) includes four windows below the main circle of windows in two pairs. What we see with this Futuro is a pair of windows above the main row of windows, a configuration we have not seen on any other unit. Also worthy of note in this image is a decline in the unit's condition with clear evidence of peeling paint. This photograph was taken 100710 by stoneve.
The photo below by Brian Reynolds taken 061008 also shows the unusual window configuration. In this image, taken a couple of years prior to the stoneve photo above, the paint job appears to be in better condition and has has not yet started peeling.