JOEY KNOWS HISTORY

20TH CENTURY

TODAY'S EDITION

NO. 5105456390

IMAGES OF AMERICA

HISTORY OF EAST BAY RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE

I have been fascinated with history for as long as I can remember. My practical working class roots led me to study elementary education and child development for my first three years in college, which is why I went to Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the top teacher’s college in the state at the time. By my junior year though, I realized I wasn’t being true to myself and switched to the high school teacher program with the intention of teaching history. That wasn’t quite right either. I just wanted to soak all the history in. So I changed my major to full on history, with an emphasis on 20th century social and cultural studies, women’s studies, race, history of industry and the working class. This was where I belonged. After graduating, I moved to California to seek my fortune in cheap education at San Francisco State University where I studied more 20th century history. My master’s thesis was on the history of tobacco, and how it went from a product for the wealthy to a product of the working class, and how that was driven by tobacco industry marketing (caused by a shift in understanding of why so many people were suddenly dying of lung cancer and of course the surgeon general’s warning).

I was lucky enough to get a position reading tobacco industry documents and writing abstracts or summaries for them at UCSF. For the next 4 or 5  years, I worked as an archivist and document indexer. I fell in love with the history of Cotton Incorporated, which I was lucky enough to work on. I had the opportunity to write the index for a book on the history of American Childhoods. 

And then I had a baby, and lived in New York City. Working full time was not an option. So I got into real estate, licensed in 2003. And I loved it. Writing this book is the amazing opportunity to bring my loves together into one succinct project, and tell the story of the place I love the most- California’s East Bay.

In this book, published by Arcadia Publishing, I will explore the sort of secret histories of East Bay Homes.  Flat Pack, catalogue and pre-manufactured homes have a surprising history in the Bay Area. Many homes were pre-cut and delivered to the job site to be assembled in a matter of days. From small 2 bedroom beach bungalows to spacious 2000+ square foot shingle homes that line the streets of Alameda, many homes were ordered from a catalog and assembled on urban lots where people still live contented lives. There were also local architects and developers that created prefabricated homes locally to be delivered and built in developments. 

My intent is to explore this history,  through local leaders, archives, historians as well real estate brokers, investors, agents and homeowners. 

 

Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley and the surrounding areas were architecturally developed and influenced by the modern concept of efficient assembly line building. I will also explore how that building was affected by redlining and race relations at that time. 

I have wanted, for a long time, to write an Arcadia history book outlining local history, but this is the topic that struck me, finally, as the one thing that remains unwritten. I think it will be exciting for locals, and especially homeowners who live in semi-manufactured, flat pack or catalog homes.

Past its sell-by date

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"I would give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground."

 -Shakespeare-