Bungalow Babies

Mamie, Tiny and Sara on the steps of the Strong Avenue Bungalow

“When I was two and a half we moved to 1212 Strong Avenue into a brick house which Mama and Daddy had planned and built, and which Mama proudly described as ‘the first brick bungalow in Greenwood.'”

In A Field Guide to American Houses, Virginia and Lee McAlester describe the bungalow style: “Craftsman houses were inspired primarily by the work of to California brothers, Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, who practiced together in Pasadena from 1893 to 1914. About 1903 they began to design simple Craftsman-type bungalows; by 1909 they had designed and executed several exceptional landmark examples that have been called the ‘ultimate bungalows.’ These and similar residences were given extensive publicity in such magazines as Western Architect, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, and Ladies’ Home Journal, thus familiarizing the rest of the nation with the style. As a result, a flood of pattern books appeared, offering plans for Craftsman bungalows; some even offered completely pre-cut packages of lumber and detailing to be assembled by local labor….The one-story Craftsman house quickly became the most popular and fashionable smaller house in the country.”

And it stands there today, at 1202 Strong Avenue, easily recognizable, although altered (in an unfortunate and awkward fashion), just one lot removed from the relocated Buckeye House. It needs a coat of paint and a good scrubbing, but the very fact that it has endured for almost a century is cause for celebration. I would nominate it not only for the National Register of Historic Places but also for the National Register of Homes Where Kind Parents Raised Happy Children Who Were a Gift to Those Who Came Later.

About sec040121

Hello....I'm in possession of a priceless collection of memoirs and memorabilia left by my mother, Sara Evans Criss. She was a native and lifelong (88 years!) devotee of our small town, who covered this peculiar and volatile corner of the world for 30 years as the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Greenwood bureau chief, a job that started out with debutantes and high school football and wound up spang in the midst of one of the twentieth century's most enduring social upheavals. This blog is dedicated to her memory and the legacy she left behind, both for her family and her community.
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