Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Austin Carringer House in 1929 - Post 298 for (Not So) Wordless Wednesday

I'm posting family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they aren't Wordless Wednesday posts like others do - I am incapable of having a wordless post.

Here is a photograph of an ancestral home taken by a photographer (probably my grandfather, Lyle Carringer)  in San Diego, California:

This photograph is of the Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer home that was moved in 1926 from 2105 30th Street (the northeast corner of 30th and Hawthorn Streets) to the middle of the block on the east side of 30th Street midway between Hawthorn and Ivy Streets.  The house, as it looked in 1925, is shown in (Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 143: The Carringer Home in 1925.  

Another view of the house soon after it was built in about 1895 is in (Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 140: The 30th Street House.

Comparing the photographs shows many differences between the two buildings shown in the photographs.  From what I can tell, the changes made to the house included:  

*  The house front porch was modified so that it faced only south and became an alcove, and a living room and den were added on the west side (essentially where the west porch was).  The lower flat became 2115 30th Street.
*  A separate second story flat was created by adding to the existing rooms, eliminating the inside staircase, and building two staircases on the north side for the front entry and the kitchen exit, resulting in 2119 30th Street. 
*  The structure was then stuccoed over, and the roof was flattened, so that the original frame of the house could not be discerned. 

These changes must have taken place over an extended time period.  The family would have moved their belongings to another place (perhaps to the new two-story apartment built on the same block on Fern Street?), then prepared the new site for the house on 30th Street, prepared and moved the house (how? on a truck? on rollers? I doubt that they took it apart and rebuilt it), remodeled the house, and moved back in.  I wonder how long it took, and who did the work? 

I grew up in the second story flat at 2119 30th Street. It had two bedrooms and a sun room on the south side (over the porch). My family moved in in 1947 after my brother was born. We initially shared the bedroom in the southeast corner. My mother did her artwork, pottery and copper enameling in the sun room. There was only one bathroom on the east side of the flat, with a bathtub (no shower until about 1960). One of my hideouts was the cubby-hole over the entry staircase - I could watch the street and not be seen by anyone inside or outside.

When my youngest brother was born in 1955, my brother and I moved into the sun room. My dad built a long desk and we had a stand-alone closet. From our bedroom, we could see the buildings in downtown San Diego, the end of Point Loma and occasionally ships at sea. My father's work desk was in the office that included the entry way at the top of the entry stairs. A wall heater was also in the office - a very popular place on cool mornings. The dining room had a large bookcase and a large dining room table and windows facing north.

From about 1951, the downstairs flat at 2115 30th was rented to tenants. There were several long term tenants who enjoyed the hand-built rooms. I loved going downstairs and seeing the living room, den and dining room especially.

After my grandparents sold the southern portion of the lot in about 1953, apartment units were built on that lot facing Fern, Hawthorn and 30th Street.  To separate the apartment property from the Carringer property, a cement block wall was built running from Fern Street to 30th Street.  A high wooden fence was built from the Carringer house to the cement block wall and a latched door was installed.  So the current property looks different from the view above.\

After my grandparents died in the 1970's, my parents moved to their Point Loma house, and my younger brother rented the upstairs flat for several years with his young family. My parents sold all of the property in 1983 to a neighbor, who had purchased 2130 Fern Street (the house that my grandparents built) earlier. I still drive by occasionally, and have taken pictures of the current house (now painted a sort of nectarine color). I've thought about knocking on the doors and asking to see the flats, but haven't done so. If they ever go on the market, I'm going to go look at them to refresh my memories of the room layout. And I'm going to look for my baseball card collection from the 1950's in my secret hiding place.

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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