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COBWEB CORNERS: The post-World War II Goodyear homes

By Mel McFarland

July 6, 2018
       After World War II, there was a shortage of houses across the country.
       Here in Colorado Springs, the town was growing east past Hancock. (Yes, in 1945 that was about as far east as the town went!) Between 1940 and 1950, the city population grew from about 37,000 to more than 45,000.
       East of Hancock, some open land was being developed, as well as some on the north end of town, north of Uintah. The Westside was getting some "infilling," as they call it now. Many smaller cottages, initially built for tourists, were being rented year-round.
       When I was a child, as I would come home from school, I used to walk by an interesting little house on Buena Ventura, between Walnut and Cooper. It is still there, but very hard to see, as it has a great wall around it!
       I recently learned more about that type of house while researching local news from 1947. An article that September tells about a type of "model home" produced by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, which was ready to move into in one day! Premanufactured and assembled, the house even came with furniture (because most everything was built in).
       The City of Colorado Springs had to be convinced about the idea. The city had some pretty strict building codes, which severely restricted the kinds of tourist cottages the Westside had and anything that even resembled a mobile home.
       The Goodyear units were not mobile homes, but they were tinier than average, even with three bedrooms. I think one of them would fit on a railroad car.
       One Goodyear model home opened on East Willamette, to great fanfare. The realty company that acted as Goodyear's agent hoped to sell them by the hundreds. I have seen them in lots of places over the years, including those on Willamette and Buena Ventura.
       Some of the Goodyear homes were remodeled in the 1950s and '60s. The house on Buena Ventura has had a few modifications, but the Willamette version still looks original on the outside.
       When I was a first-year teacher in Rapid City, South Dakota, I lived in a complex made up of prefab units, similar to these houses. I do not think they were built by Goodyear!

(Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

       Editor's note: Local historian Mel McFarland has been writing his Cobweb Corners column in the Westside Pioneer since 2004. To see past columns, go to the Pioneer's Archives. Either look for desired articles under the Cobweb Corners category for any year, or search by keywords in the Find box.

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