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Ranch blessing: Single-story abodes seek historic status
Efforts to protect an enduring American icon, the ranch-style house, are underway even though many younger homebuyers dismiss them as being claustrophobic relics.
Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Say what you will about the ranch house
— supremely ugly or perfectly lovely — there’s no arguing that this humble, single-story home that epitomized “the future” during the 1950s and 60s is enduring. But for some particularly passionate ranch-dwellers, “enduring” just doesn’t cut it as they move to protect their humble homes from altercation or the wrecking ball through official historic status.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal
, now that many ranches are turning 50 — the age that the National Park Service begins to consider buildings for the National Register of Historic Places
— loud and proud ranch-lovers are coming out of the woodwork even though a large chunk of prospective homebuyers — who view the homes as being as “outdated as the eight-track tape” — pass, opting for newer and more spacious digs. According to Atlanta real estate developer Kirk Boggs, many young buyers are dismissive of ranch-style homes dubbing them as “something their grandparents lived in” (my grandmother most certainly did, on a golf course in suburban Seattle). Yet some baby boomers are actively seeking ranch homes out, not necessarily because of their vintage appeal or nostalgia but because of their stair-less nature. “Their knees and hips are starting to bother them a bit,” says Atlanta real estate agent Bill Adams of this new generation of ranch-seekers.
And on the topic of Atlanta, the birthplace of both suburban sprawl and MNN, the city is the location of a particularly active ranch preservation movement with Richard Clous of Georgia's Historic Preservation Division
leading one of the first state efforts to protect the homes that once served as a "symbol of economic expansion" before falling out of favor in the 1970s.
Any ranch-lovers out there care to comment? Would you consider seeking historic status — signified by a front-door plaque — for your low-slung beauty?
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