Nostalgic Neighborhood Home Tour – Part 1

Wow, do I have a lot of photos and things to say about them. Through a random Google search a few weeks ago I found about the Eastwood Civic Association’s annual home tour – a neighborhood which is celebrating its one hundredth anniversary this year. You can click the link to read about the history of the neighborhood, as I do not need to restate what’s been said just fine over there; what I’d like to focus on instead is the fact that my grandparents on both sides of my family, as well as my great-grandparents, and at one time, my great-great grandparents, all lived in this area. In relation to my great-grandmother and grandparents in particular, I spent a massive amount of time in neighborhoods very close and very similar to this one, if not in the neighborhood itself (my grandparents moved out of the area entirely by the nineties, and my great-grandmother died in 1982, so I am not exactly sure of where they were all located; I do know that Eastwood is definitely an area we frequented and drove through on a regular basis, so if she was not in it, she was close by). The architecture was mostly in the Craftsman style, as was my great-grandmother’s home, so when I read about this home tour I decided I wanted to check it out, if for nothing else to give me a reason to revisit this part of town and peek inside some homes that might remind me of my childhood (my GG’s house and neighborhood is one that still features prominently in my dreams on a regular basis).

sign
A typical street in Eastwood. The sign is not typical, unless it’s Home Tour Time, but you probably figured that out already.

To be honest, the entire time I was a kid growing up this area (I spent a lot of time with my grandparents and great-grandmother, much to my delight)  the neighborhoods were worn-down, crime-ridden, and still in decline. It’s been in the last ten years that interest in Eastwood has been on a slow rise, and homes are still being bought and restored at a decent price – but it sounds like that may be changing. It would definitely take a long time, but the potential is there now for a huge profit down the line for homeowners who buy in cheap, and I admit part of my interest in going out there was to consider the possibility of buying a house now as an investment. I thought it would be thrilling to live in the old neighborhood, but after walking around and touring the houses I decided it’s not for me. It was still a nice experience, but the people buying homes are decidedly younger, hipper, and more tolerant of the high-crime areas left and right of it; I’m too accustomed to the relative cleanliness and safety of the suburbs to move into what is still a high-risk area with the hopes of the situation improving 20 years down the road.

dogs
And the dogs don’t want you there either.

Although viewing the homes was nice, I wasn’t as overwhelmed with nostalgia as I thought I’d be anyway. Perhaps that’s because this was a walking tour, and the walk from the ticket tent to the first house involved passing by several blocks of dilapidated crack houses on the way over – I unabashedly admit to convincing my husband to turn around and head back to the tent so we could get in our car and drive the five blocks to the first house instead of walking past so much blight. Typical middle-aged suburban woman, I guess, but I accepted that about myself long ago (the truth is I’ve been a typical middle-aged suburban woman far longer than I’ve been middle-aged). The way people are raving about Eastwood here and there online, I expected the surrounding area to be more cleaned up than it was, but if anything it’s gotten worse than I remember (statements like this are why I took the word “Eastwood” out of my blog post title, because I don’t want people searching for information about the neighborhood, finding my post in a Google search, coming here and reading what I’ve said, and blasting me in the comments for being lame or defaming the neighborhood).

corner house
Some damn fine houses out there, though.

I took a ton of photos of the houses we toured as well as the neighborhood (once we got to the heart of Eastwood it felt much safer to walk around), and try as I might I could not get them all edited in time to put them into one post. That’s probably best since it’s way too much stuff anyway, so for this one I’ll show the photos I shot as we wandered from house to house around the area. Keep in mind I left the ‘real’ camera at home, for the usual reasons (too big and bulky, too obtrusive, etc.) and used my new iPhone 5S to take shots – it’s supposed to be a much better camera than the 4S I had before but honestly I can’t tell the difference, as I thought the camera on my 4S was fine. Because they were iPhone shots, I did take lots of liberty with editing, because I either want a perfectly crisp and clear photo, or I want something arty – perfectly crisp and clear didn’t to happen due more to user error than the phone, so you’re gonna get a lot of arty .You’ve probably figured out by now that I’ve actually already started the photo tour, so let’s continue:

walker
Another typical Eastwood street. It’s hard to tell, but I was trying to take a photo of that distant black cat in the road. Eastwood has a lot of cats, in the roads and elsewhere.

yellow
Another yellow house. With a front-yard fence. Eastwood has nearly as many front-yard fences as it does cats.

So much about this next house reminds me of my grandparents’ old home. Small, cracked pavement, a fairly large, defined front porch, and the main entrance set to the side of the house. There was also a long driveway with a car port which didn’t make it into the photo. What’s missing here is the wrought iron scrollwork their house had everywhere. I think that was more of a 50’s thing? Not sure, but I didn’t see that on many houses here, which indicates my grandparents’ area was newer than this one.

4622

The pale-colored brickwork on this next house is a dead-ringer for the house my great-grandmother owned. In fact, the entire housefront looks a lot like hers – another large porch and brick steps leading up to it. We never used the front entrance to her house, though; her driveway was long, and led to a side entrance which took you through the screened-in porch where all the kids had to eat their meals.

4631
Not my great-granny’s house, but a reasonable facsimile.

crazy garden
My husband made me stop and take a picture of what he claimed was a “crazy lady garden.” He later explained it was actually a “bee garden,” which made no sense to me, but he seemed so confident I would understand that I didn’t want to ask.

Yep, you’re in Eastwood:

eastwood brick
The moose out front shoulda told you.

fence.Another front porch that reminded me of great-granny’s. I never knew my great-grandfather, by the way. He died before I was born. Well, he was my GG’s second husband, and not my biological great-grandfather, but that’s another story. 

flat house
I probably should have titled this blog entry, “The Fence Post.” You’re welcome.

Johns
This place has been in business for over 50 years. I don’t believe they’ve ever updated the decor.

It was bright outside, and y’all know how I love me some lens flare:

lens flare 2

lens flare
Look at the left hand corner of the house, framing the covered car port: yep, white wrought iron! Now that’s what I’m talking about.

mowing
Another typical Eastwood street. If right about now you’re thinking, man, this looks kinda junky, you’re in good company, as I don’t disagree (double negative? Oh well). But it does have appeal in spite of it. If nothing else, you can see the potential.

Crap. This may be way too many photos for one post. But I’ve come this far, and I’m determined to get through it. Can you believe we haven’t even gotten to the houses on the tour yet? Sheesh.

no dogs
My husband pointed this sign out to me as we walked past. At some point during the day he learned to stop pointing things out to me because he realized I’d stop to photograph every single thing he prompted me to notice. So you can thank him for the number of photos in this post.

random house
Quaint, non-junky house. And bonus: no fence!

random house 2
But this one IS protected by chain-link? The whole fence thing just stopped making sense to me. 

tree
Ripped-out tree; must be recent as the leaves are still green. But hey – at least there wasn’t a front-yard fence that has to be replaced!

If you stuck with me for all of this, you’re probably NOT looking forward to massive amounts of home photos tomorrow. But I promise we’ll be going inside some of these suckers next time. Stay tuned!

10 thoughts on “Nostalgic Neighborhood Home Tour – Part 1

  1. What immediately strikes me about this, in addition to what an interesting place Eastwood seems to be (through your great photos), and the kind of neighborhood I really wish we had here — love those old houses — is that we spoke about a sort of similar topic this morning. And, btw, we have people with bee gardens in SoCal but they are disallowed by our HOA – love them, though, personally.

    • LOL – “but they are disallowed by our HOA” should just be tacked to the end of every sentence you write, probably! The homes here are something else – back when I spent time here, all I saw were old, dilapidated homes; ironically, it’s the lack of upkeep that has so many of them still in their original form. Lots of renters still, which also adds to the lack of renovation or modernization. It’s not a popular thing to say about this part of town right now, but having grown up there, I will tell you that crime in the area IS bad, no matter how others try to paint things to get new neighbors. I think it is on its way to being revived (and along with that WILL come the displacement of a huge swath of people living in poverty who get priced out of their neighborhood) but it’s nowhere near close enough to it that I would consider living there. It’s interesting to see all these homes, with their unique features, being considered such treasures now, though, when growing up they were all just a bunch of junk to my mind!

  2. Very interesting. “Gentrification” does restore old neighborhoods. Let’s hope the same for
    Eastwood. In any case the architecture features are really “unique” and a pleasure to
    have you present. Looking forward to the next series.

  3. This is very different for me. Bungalows are very expensive in England , these homes would be very expensive. Builders have started buying up old bungalows near my parents and pulling them down and building big houses on the plot.

    • Texas is still an extremely affordable place to live. You can buy a pretty big house for a fraction of what you would pay in other States. Cost of living here really is pretty incredible.

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