The Alliance Area Preservation Society (AAPS) presents Tomorrow's Homes . . . Today! - National Homes and Alliance's Post-War Houses, the next public program of the Your Historic Home project, on Tuesday, May 22, at 7:00 p.m., in the Rodman Public Library Auditorium.
Tomorrow's Homes . . . Today! will look at the Alliance houses where Baby Boomers were born, and where Millennials seek their Mid-Century Modern charm. It will focus on over 300 National Homes built here between 1948 and 1966. These affordable ranch houses were THE in-demand style and size for returning GIs who wanted to get back to normal, start their families, and had the GI Bill to help. They are scattered throughout Alliance and Sebring.
National Homes Corporation was founded with $12,000 starting capital during World War II to quickly build housing for war workers. Using the techniques of mass production that were supplying the Allies with guns, ships and planes, National Homes, based in Lafayette, Indiana, quickly grew from a modest single, 7,500 square foot factory, to multiple manufacturing plants in the Midwest, East, and South. Eventually, over the next forty years, the company would build 650,000 homes nationwide. Each prefabricated in one of its factories, shipped to the construction site in their own red trucks equipped with unloading crane, and then built on site by their locally franchised construction company.
In Alliance, the National Homes man was Jonas Barenholtz, a former rabbinical student who fled Russian pogroms as a youth, ran dozens of gas stations in Cleveland in the 30s, then moved to Alliance in 1946 to begin a construction business that would spread across Stark, Portage and Summit Counties, and eventually build multi-million-dollar, deluxe apartments in the sky.
Tomorrow's Homes . . . Today! will also look at what has happened over the past sixty-some years to a few of those National Homes on their road to the future: additions, remodeling, and the lives lived in them. Finally, the program will discuss the homes built more conventionally side-by-side in Alliance, and constructed by local builders such as Barcus, Casserta, and Freshley. The program will be presented by Robb Hyde. It is free and open to the public.
AAPS' Your Historic Home series has helped people throughout the community unlock the history of their own historic homes?be it a 19th Century Second Empire or a 50s Ranch home. AAPS continues to build a strong foundation of knowledge about the homes of Alliance, and help individuals learn how to research the history of their house. Each year the group focuses research, surveys and programming around a particular house type found in the area, or a specific neighborhood in Alliance. AAPS conducts house history research workshops to teach people about the resources available to research the history of their home.
Rodman Public Library is located at 215 E Broadway St. in Alliance. Free Parking is available. The Alliance Area Preservation Society is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic structures through education, research and documentation. It also owns and operates the Haines House, 186 W. Market St. in Alliance, (www.haineshoue.org) an Underground Railroad site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information about this program, call the Main Library at 330-821-2665, ext. 107.