Mid-Century Modern Is Alive and Well!

By on 14 February, 2017 in Architecture, Carole King, Fun, Historic Midtown with 1 Comment

Is history of no interest to you? Do you consider old houses and the things in them stuffy and boring? Are flea markets and antique malls a waste of your time and interest? Well, prepare to be surprised!

The Landmarks Foundations’ newest architectural adventure will be a tour of homes featuring Montgomery’s Mid-Century Modern design. The tour of homes will take place on March 12 from 12:30 until 5:30 and will include six of Montgomery’s most architecturally significant homes of that distinctive modern residential design era.

After World War II, the GI Bill for higher education and VA housing loans for veterans transformed the socioeconomic realities of the United States. Despite the Cold War and the country’s racial situation, the 1950s were very positive times for the burgeoning middle class. The Mid-Century Modern style began to be embraced during these times of economic prosperity and optimism. The formation of millions of new families and the subsequent baby boom increased the demand for single family owner-occupied homes and the utilitarian objects to furnish them.

Pre-war, densely-packed cities of working-class renters and compact streetcar neighborhoods gave way to vast homogenous suburbs accessible only by automobiles. With this migration to the ‘burbscame shopping centers with department stores and specialty shops giving new homeowners access to moderately priced goods. Many of these labor-saving devices and utilitarian items were a result of technology and materials—plastics and synthetic fabrics—developed during the previous wartime period.

Mid-Century Modern houses themselves epitomized the ideal “machine for living” and time-saving practices and entertaining informally became a way of life. The United States and Montgomery had become solidly middle class!

To spark your excitement for the Mid-Century Modern Tour of Homes several events are happening to stimulate your knowledge and appreciation for the design work of the 1950s and 60s. The Fabulous ‘50s and Swingin’ 60s exhibit at the Old Alabama Town Reception Center will feature Mid-Century Modern furnishings and accessories. The exhibit is guest curated by Frank Powell of “Frank’s Fabulous Fifties” (in Eastbrook Antique Mall) with objects on loan from several local noted collectors through March. The Reception Center is open Monday-Saturday from 9:00 until 4:00 to view the exhibit.

Mark Driscoll, a Mid-Century Modern old house homeowner himself, will present a lecture on Local Modernism on Sunday afternoon, March 5 at 2:00 at the OAT Reception Center (free to the public).

To even more immerse yourself in Mid-Century Modern awareness, come see the movie, Goldfinger, a 1964 James Bond movie classic, on Thursday evening, March 9 at 7:00 at the Capri Theater, 1045 East Fairview Avenue (admission charged).

Our educational adventure into the world of Montgomery’s Mid-Century Modern movement will culminate with the Tour of Homes on Sunday afternoon, March 12th 12:30 until 5:30 with visits to these noted homes:

  • Narrow House, 1949 Ranch style, 2142 Campbell Road
  • Wool House, 1950 International style, 3452 Bankhead Avenue
  • Thompson House, 1953 Split-level, 3432 Bankhead Avenue
  • Wyatt House, 1954 Mid-Century Modern, 1927 South Hull Street
  • Brennan House, 1962 Organic Flight One, 3126 Jasmine Road
  • Gassenheimer House, 1965 International style, 2511 Wildwood Drive

Tickets for the tour are on sale for $20 before the tour date at landmarksfoundation.com or at Old Alabama Town, 301 Columbus Street. Tickets will be $25 the day of the tour. For more information, call 240-4617.

Carole King (not the singer, just the hummer) enjoys midtown living from South Capitol Parkway in Capitol Heights where she has lived for 25+years. Carole has been the historic properties curator for the Landmarks Foundation that manages Old Alabama Town for 28 years and is passionate about neighborhoods, their architectural character, their people, and their preservation!

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  1. Carlos Reyes-Sacin says:

    Flight One(3126 Jasmine Rd) was built on 1965 not ’62

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