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are coming out of the woodwork even though a large chunk of prospective homebuyers — who view the homes as being as “outdated as the eight-track tape” — pass, opting for newer and more spacious digs.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?