Memory Lane

Former Stillmeadow resident Martin Flynn submitted a few photos (see bottom of page) from the early days of the subdivisions' construction (circa roughly 1963), along with some general descriptions of some of the folks who lived here at the time. The following comes from a letter written to a current resident, so some of the references might be a bit confusing or disjointed, but it still gives a feel for yesteryear:

Hi Bob,

There is a ton of history in these photos--pretty cool that your place is so prominent in the close-up photo!

Photo 2 is pretty blurry, so you may do better enlarging and cropping Photo 1; it's the same coverage.

My brother thinks Jack McBride took the photos. Jack owned Russell Hardware in Birmingham; my brother ran the builder's end of the store for years. Whoever did fly, the shots were maybe taken around 1963? Definitely done before the subdivision was paved; I well remember the quarterly run through Stillmeadow of the big road graders, followed by the oil (!) sprayers.

Years later, the big deal was trenching for the municipal water--our house had a well which ran out; very cool to have the mobile derrick drilling thenew one. We also had a septic field; THAT was fun to have the truck come by to suck it out!

Between all that and the constant parade of new homes to explore...what a kid's paradise.

Still on Photo 1, Vernor Estates was just getting started across Long Lake Rd; I remember the actual Vernor estate at the end of the long road at the lower left. Way Elementary is a looooong way off from being built. And you'll notice the beautiful Villa Francesca across from the subdivision entrance. We'd go there on Halloween to the delight of the retired nuns, and they would hand out apples (apples?!).

Lahser High School at the upper right, wouldn't be started until 1969 and finished in 1970.

The Facione family lived at the upper left corner of Burning Tree and Thornbrier. By now, the lot next door had a house on it but the subdivision families would have baseball games in the lot; this was when there were many fewer homes. The excavated basement across the street was the Facione's new home they built.

Photo 3 is the keeper; we were at the back-end of the subdivision. With your house, there was a screened porch at the far right that Mr. David would sit in and play his saxophone. You can see your circular drive with those large and sharp gravel stones. You can see Mark David's and my fort where I pointed it out last week, AND you can see our tree fort--it's the little white blob across Woodway and to the left.

It was triangular, built it in between 3 trees about 6 feet off the ground. Woodway was desolate and almost spooky back then; a lover's hangout...

Our house didn't have the large addition, it didn't even have the original deck yet; just a balcony. I think that and the extra bedrooms downstairs...were added in around that time. So maybe the pictures are from Winter '62-'63??

You can see the Swamp a short distance from our lower left corner of the lot. The McNeal house across from you on Woodway wouldn't be built until 1968.

At the center top of the picture is a HUGE elm tree on the Hershman property; it would get Dutch Elm disease and have to be cut down in the mid-sixties. On a stormy day it looked just like a tornado.

I can still remember almost every single family name of each house!


--Martin Flynn MD
Venice, CA


(click photos for high-resolution versions)
Picture 1 Picture 2 PIcture 3