Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mid-Century Tract Home Brochures

This is a pretty interesting Flickr photoset... somebody's got a collection of a whole bunch of Southern California tract home brochures from the 1950s-1970s and scanned them in. The graphic design is fantastic. The architecture... ehh. Really well-preserved examples of these houses are marvelous, but the fact of the matter is that prewar construction tends to hold up a lot better. My wife and I have been looking at houses around the Valley, and if the owners haven't taken good care of these things, they look like what they are --- cheaply made and now 50 years old.


At Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 5:38:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Chris said...

Here's the first tract "Woodside (Anaheim - EB Akins Company) - page 08" today.,-117.809100&z=19

At Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 6:12:00 PM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

That's from about 1970 or 1971, right? Looks like that area is still fairly nice. I think the ones from the immediate postwar period to the early 60s end up looking the worst. I think a lot of the construction right after the war was done really cheaply (lots of new houses being built to be bought with G.I. Bill money), and then, of course, those places have had that much more time to deteriorate. I don't know if the construction has gotten any better since the mid-60s, or if the newer homes are just made with more of the typical amenities that one expects these days.

One really nice set of well-preserved ranch homes is the Rancho Estates area of Long Beach adjacent to El Dorado Park:

At Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 9:56:00 PM PDT, Blogger BaddicusFinch said...

Nice collection.
I think a lot of newer ('90s) homes look worse...all that foam they use for window banding, cornices, wall caps...chips right off. Plus all the salmons and light earth tone stucco colors get dirtied up

At Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 1:06:00 PM PDT, Blogger Andy said...

Hey, thanks for linking to my photoset. I have a huge archive of this stuff that I gathered in the process of a book project that I never finished (and probably never will). Glad you enjoyed them; I guess this random collection is proving useful in at least some small way!

The more time I spend touring new home developments, the more I appreciate the older homes. My own house is a (comparatively) small Palmer & Krisel design built in 1956, and while it certainly doesn't have the Old World charm or solid feel that the turn-of-the-last-century houses had, I feel a certain sense of pride that I resisted the urge to buy one of those giant, ugly, fake-Tuscan boxes that populate every suburb built in the past decade. Bear in mind, though, that the efficient (read: cheap) mass-production methods perfected in post-war construction were what made home ownership affordable to a much broader audience than before. I would wager that most middle-class families of the 1950s preferred affordability over solid build quality (much like today's buyers).

At Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 2:09:00 PM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

Thanks for the comments. You make a good point about affordability; the middle class expanded greatly after WWII.

At Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 2:55:00 PM PDT, Anonymous jim cicchese said...

Hi Adam,
Do you have any tract brochures for Westlake Village? I am looking for original brochures from First Neighborhood, Foxmoor Hills, Deane Brothers homes, Landmark Homes in Porter Ranch etc. Please let me know.

At Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 3:43:00 PM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

I don't have any brochures myself; I was just linking to somebody else's collection.


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