HRA BUILDERS AND THE DIFFERENCES AMONG OUR HOMES
John Purvis

A Tract Project
Luria Brothers Home
Gaddy Brothers Homes
Bodor Homes

The Historic Register Committee has asked me to share with you what I know about the three builders and the products they built, over a 10-year span, that we know today as Holmes Run Acres. The purpose of this effort is not to give a history or timeline of the community as much as it is to cover the differences between the community's three builders and some of the modifications to each product that we find today.

A Tract Project
On or around early 1950, Luria Brothers Builders and Developers began the “tract” project that became known as Holmes Run Acres. Luria Brothers, who are survived today by either sons or grandsons under the name of Jade Builders, delivered its first Holmes Run Acres products in 1951. They offered the public a unique opportunity to own a contemporary style home modeled after the California Ranch style popularized on the west coat. The interior was hallmarked by the open wood beamed cathedral ceilings and huge expanses of glass found throughout the main or upper floors, along with oak hardwood floors in the two-story models plus an unusual four-foot door leading out from the living room or lower level foyer. In addition, the homes featured gas utilities for heat, hot water and cooking. At that time, dryers and central air conditioners were not found in most tract-built homes. This community was a radical departure from the mainstream architecture found on the east coast. Coupled with a location of what was then considered to be “in the country,” builders had what most then would have considered a real uphill struggle to complete. But the product proved very attractive to buyers, and Luria Brothers were off and running.

Luria Brothers Homes
Of the nearly 355 homes that make up the community, approximately half were built by Luria Brothers. They offered two basic models. The first was an 864 square foot slab rambler that was neatly sited on quarter-acre lots. The siting of this model provided for, in most cases, a carport that appeared either as an L-shaped protrusion to the front with a squared-off flat roof, or an angular extension to the side of the home with approximately half of the structure extending forward of the base home. The interior of each of these elevations would have been the same. The floor plan allowed for two bedrooms, one bath, kitchen, living room with huge brick walled fireplace, small dining or entry area plus a partial partition wall that divided a portion of the living room area into a den area or dining area. The wood beam cathedral ceilings and large expanses of glass allowed for a larger feel for living space than the otherwise small square footage actually provided. Over the years, especially during the Baby Boomer era, the partition area was permanently walled into a third bedroom. Since they were first built, the Luria single-story model has grown in size with major modifications and additions including the most popular and economical – enclosing the carport into finished living space.

The second model offered by Luria was a two-level version of the slab model, offering 1728 square feet, also sited on quarter-acre lots. This home appeared as either a rambler with a basement or as a bi-level style from the front. In either case, the home's interior was the same, but the home was positioned on the lot differently. Each home had walk-out ground level at both front and rear. In some cases, the rear had a walk-up-and-out stairway due to the topography. This home featured finished living space on both levels with an interior staircase connecting the two levels. There were two brick fireplaces, one in the living room the other in the lower level family/recreation room. There were five choices to select from for this model. Where the topography allowed and the unit was two stories out of ground facing the street, the buyer could select a version that offered a built-in one car garage on the ground level along with the entrance foyer, family/recreation room, laundry/utility room and a bath, either half or full.

It is my understanding that the original owners had the choice of either a half or full bath on the ground level. I know of at least one unit where no bath was found on the ground level. Whether or not the options were no/half/full baths I am not sure. Today most units boast at least a full bath with a freestanding shower stall for bathing. The upper floor plan for the garage model offered either 3 finished bedrooms, smaller living room, dining area, kitchen and full bath with tub and built-in shower or a version with the same arrangement except with only two bedrooms, thus making the living room larger and the “master” bedroom slightly larger.

If the buyer opted not to get the garage version but had the same two stories out of ground facing the street, then in place of the garage space there was a finished bed room to the front and an unfinished smaller room to the rear accessed from the finished room. Where the topography provided for a rambler model with only one level facing the street, the lower level faced the rear or in some cases to the side yard. In all cases, for the rambler there were the same two choices of floor plans: either the three bedroom or the two bedroom top floor. The lower level space was then the same as the plan with no garage, described above, an additional bedroom and storeroom plus a rear foyer entrance, family/recreation room, no/half/full bath and laundry/utility room. In a few rare instances, the topography allowed for the home to be side to side on the lot, so both levels might face a street, as is the case on corner lots (talk about confusion on front doors!). Also in rare instances, the two-level model had a carport attached, as was found on the slab model.

Over the years, the interior changes to the two-level model include enclosing carports and removing the walls of the third bedroom on the top level, creating a walk-around staircase in the living room and new open space for dining or lounging. I have also seen remodels in which only the walls separating the third bedroom from the “master” were removed, thus creating a larger master. Again, loads of additions and modifications are found in the Luria two-level models, just like in the slab model. The style and construction of Luria's homes begged for expansion.

Luria's building started on Holmes Run Drive and continued through to the intersection of Hartwell Court and Executive Ave. The topography for most of Luria's homes was flat cleared landscape. Today's tree-covered lots represent 56 years of growth to trees planted by the early owners. At one point, in what is now Luria Park, a road connected, or was supposed to have, to what we now call Hartwell Court. >MORE

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