Friday, January 25, 2013

Around Town - My Neighborhood

I thought it was somewhat fitting to start my blog with a short tour of my neighborhood.  I think where I live and the houses I like say a lot about me.  I'm an archaeologist and historian, so it goes without saying that I like old things.  I also like things with character and that feel authentic.  My neighborhood isn't fancy but it feels lived in.  It's not necessarily a perfectly preserved mid century neighborhood but it is cared for and although the homes tend to be older, they're generally in good shape.

My neighborhood dates mostly from the 1940s to the 1970s.  Streets to the east tend to be populated by older houses, and as you move west, the houses get progressively newer.  I live on a street that used to be the end of town.  My house was built in 1962 and, for the first 10 years of its "life," it was at the very limit of town with a farm across the street.  But in the early 1970s, the farm was developed and a new crop of tract homes sprang up.  The only upside of this 1970s development was that a park was put in just three houses down from me.  I can view it from my picture window, which I love.

Anyway, that's the long way of saying, I like old things and I'm thrilled to live in an older but reasonably well kept part of town.  A part of me even enjoys the slightly scruffy character of my neighborhood.  I guess a better way of putting it is that it's unpretentious - just an honest to goodness neighborhood of middle class, mid century homes.  Aside from the 1970s tract houses, most of the houses in my neighborhood are unique and there are some good examples of mid century architecture sprinkled here and there - albeit mostly in the "mid century modest" realm of things.

Let's start with my house:

I like to refer to my house as a "Federal Ranch."  That's a term I made up and I think architectural historians would be more likely to refer to it as a traditional ranch.  But there's something about the symmetry of the dual front gable roof lines that make me think colonial or federal.  Anyway, I plan to put a federal eagle under the carport gable to seal the deal.  My house is a bit odd in that it's actually a typical long ranch house but bent into an "L."  That's why my picture window faces into the courtyard - but lucky for me, it also faces toward the park.  I'll never close in my carport for that reason alone.  Besides, I like carports. 

This house is just around the corner from me.  It's the ranchiest of the ranch houses in my neighborhood, in my opinion.  I LOVE the awnings and the two tone garage door (not shown, I'll have to get a pic of it). 

 I like this house for the fact that the owners have kept the original two tone color scheme and siding.  I'll have to get a better picture now that it's winter and the trees don't have any leaves.

 This one is  a little ranch, probably from the 1940s.  I think it's really cute.

This little pink guy is part of a mid 1960s development a couple streets south of me.  Most of the houses have the projecting beams under the eaves, which I really like.  I wish someone would buy this house and love it up.

This house is one of my all time favorites.  It's really classy with multiple shed rooflines and a unique little built in patio.  It's such an odd form to see here.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find the right angle to get a good picture of it.

Super cute little itty bitty ranch - the carport is almost as big as the house!  I like the cantilevered porch support by the carport.
I'm a sucker for shed roofs.

This is my very favorite house in my neighborhood.  I love hipped roofs.  It's one of the few houses in this area with a basement.  Plus it's on a double lot.  Plus it has a built in patio.  Plus it has a detached two car garage.  It went up for sale about 2 months after I bought my house.  Sigh.  

And finally, what neighborhood wouldn't be complete without an elementary school?  West End School was built in the 1940s and added onto in the 1950s.  This is the oldest section of the school.  Sadly it's closed for now.

That's it for now.  There are more houses I'd like to showcase but they'll have to wait for next time.

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