The apartment complex on Linden Lane between Montford and Evergreeen has an interesting history. In 1903, Michael J. Maguire of South Carolina purchased this parcel of land and built a large two story house for his wife Winifred Crowe from County Cork Ireland and their three children. In the 1950’s, his son Red lived there with his wife, Jean Maguire Mitchell, acclaimed cellist, co-founder of the Marin Symphony, Milley award winner and present day Homestead resident. In 1967, Homestead Terrace replaced the Maguire house, but not without considerable controversy. The March 1966 issue of the Homestead Headlines had the following lead article: County Plans Old-Folks Housing for Linden Lane Property – Some Objections Raised at General Meeting – Not Much Choice, Anyway.
Housing for the low-income elderly is being built at selected locations in the county now. Homestead Valley is going to be one location. If the housing authority is sufficiently enamored of the Linden Lane property between Evergreen and Montford, all the tears and breast-beating in the world won’t help.
However, need we weep? We are pleased with the horizontal integration of Homestead – varied races, religions, professions, avocations – and the vertical integration also helps save the valley from tract-like sterility. This is not a community of button-down junior executives in their 30’s with a Saran-wrapped family in tidy, look-alike houses. We also have little old ladies who slowly walk little old dogs along twisting roads.
Elderly men share flower clippings, and maybe even shake canes at kids. Older people add a dimension of stability and continuity – and unpredictability – to a community. Fifty elderly ladies and gentlemen are not going to add nearly the traffic to the valley that 50 younger people would. And for a block or two along Evergreen, we can live with them.
The Campbell and Wong plan calls for 30 units: 20 single- and 10 multiple-occupant apartments grouped in a hopefully visually pleasant manner. From here the elderly can walk to shops, along the roads of Homestead (already used by so many that a few more isn’t going to make much difference), to the village library. And they will be able to rent at prices they can pay.
What would you rather see on the lot? We aren’t going to be lucky enough to preserve nothing for very long. All the fields full of nothing are going to be full of people unless community action is taken soon. You don’t want the Housing Authority? What DO you want? And what are you willing to do to get it? This article written by W.G.
If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.