Saturday, December 13, 2008

Beavercreeks' Pearl Harbor Build-outs: The Birth of the Defense Suburb

The Depression pretty much killed the bungalow era in Beavercreek, putting suburban development mostly on hiatus until military mobilization spending kicked in during the late 1930s.

And when it did kick in Knollwood was the locus of some agressive construction in new housing, housing a lot different in style than the pre-Depression bungalows and foresquares.
Stylistically new housing following simplified traditional forms and was smaller, too, it seems.

So we start to see streetscapes that already appear "postwar", but predate WWII by just a bit.

Yet note the big lots. Development in Knollwood was mostly on fairly large lots, perhaps to keep the septic tank leachfield far away from the private water well/pump in the basement.

Taking a look at build-outs on the three Longview, Central, and Shady, up to 1949, one can see how construction paralled historical events and eras. Clearly the pre-war buildup was boom times in this part of Knollwood.

...with a bit of hiatus during the war and wartime conversion. With the advent of the Cold War the area started to boom again, but the cottage style was eventuall dropped for the ranch after 1949.

That Knollwood and neighborhing plats were related to a military/civilian market from the base is indicated by some of the streetnames. Next street over from Shady Drive is Beaverbook. Beaverbrook is not just a pun on Beavercreek, but is perhaps a reference to the UK wartime figure Lord Beaverbrook, who was Minister of Armanents under Churchill, also involved with managing military aircraft production.

Other streets in the Knollwood vicinity are named: Yalta, Dumbarton Oaks, Harry Truman, and Winston Churchill. Clearly one of the developers was on top of current affairs in the 1940s.

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