A Homestead Headlines Article by Chuck Oldenburg
The above photo was taken in the 1920’s. The Silva family is posing on the front steps of their home at 304 LaVerne on the corner of Melrose. Joaquin A. Silva immigrated from the Portuguese Azores in 1880 at age 19. His wife, Mary V. Silva immigrated in 1896 at age 18, also from the Azores. They were married in 1900. They had two daughters, Mary born in 1906 and Simiana born in 1909. That’s Simiana in the photo.
The house was probably constructed well before 1920. Before it was demolished in 1999, it was painted blue during the last 30 years of its life, and commonly referred to by Homesteaders as the blue house. Its 15,000 sq. ft. lot borders on the south fork of Reed Creek.
The blue house gained historic fame just before it was demolished when it was discovered that the property contained the last privy (outhouse) known to exist in Homestead Valley. The privy was likely in use when this photo was taken. The Homestead Valley Sanitary District did not install a sewer system until 1948. Prior to that time, septic tanks, leach fields and privies were common.
The privy was originally placed several yards from the creek. By 1999, however, the banks of the creek had eroded so much that the privy was very close to the creek. A new two-story yellow house with 3971 sq. ft. of living area was constructed on the property in 2000. To prevent further erosion the new owners installed large boulders on both banks of the creek.
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.