The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hidden Plainfield: Retro look was once new in many neighborhoods


Homes such as the above sprang up throughout Plainfield to meet the housing need
in the years following the end of World War II.

Plainfield homes like the one above were once 'new' in many neighborhoods throughout the city.

Between 13 million and 16 million men and women served in the American armed forces during World War II. Rapid demobilization after the defeat of the Germans in May, 1945, and the surrender of the Japanese announced by the Emperor in a radio address on August 15 of that year and formally signed aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, left the United States with a housing crisis on its hands.

US authorities estimated that 5,000,000 new homes were needed IMMEDIATELY in 1946, and a further 12,000,000 in the next decade.¹

It was the filling of this enormous housing need that led to the explosive growth of the suburbs following the war, including hundreds of 'infill' homes in Plainfield neighborhoods as well as sizable developments like Brisbane Estates, our own Levittown-like planned suburban neighborhood.

Many Plainfielders of a certain age can remember growing up in homes such as this one, which often enough was their parents' first home ever bought, and for many of that generation the only home they ever lived in.

Today's home is one of those 'infill' house that sprouted throughout Plainfield in those postwar years. This one is practically unchanged, but can you guess which neighborhood it is in?


¹Lingerman, Richard R. Don't You Know There's A War On? The American Home Front, 1941-1945. NY: GP Putnam's Sons, 1970, p. 82.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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7 comments:

ddrincon said...

Don, this is exactly what our home looked like on Hillside Ave. We lived at 1162. This one looks like it has been very well kept. Almost looks like one of our neighbors home. Am I close?? Not sure if you have had time to take a pic of ours or not. Thanks. Debi

ddrincon said...

The only difference are the two windows in the upper right.

Anonymous said...

thats 1158 hillside ave

Anonymous said...

i think linbarger or hazel ave area

Anonymous said...

Ah my neighbors...down the street on Hillside Ave. jbandomer

Anonymous said...

Is this Dorothy Henry's home?

ddrincon said...

Yup, I knew it was our neighbor's home. We used to run in and out of that side door when we played w/the two kids who lived there. Back in the 50's the Bowles family lived there. In their backyard we found a dead bird and buried it in a small box along the fence. memories...debi dinehart