“The people in the neighborhood are all very welcoming — I hear passersby saying “Oh, look! Someone’s moved into that house!” They seem to be as happy as I am that these precious homes are now occupied.
There are so many things I love about the house, even before thinking about how long it’s stood on this spot, and how much care went into its preservation. The light fixtures, door knobs and oak floors hark back to Flagstaff’s early days, while the quirks — such as the coffee can lid used to seal off a vent — show the creativity and humor of previous tenants. I’ve tried to furnish and decorate with those same things in mind. It’s been fun, like a treasure hunt.
I lived in this neighborhood almost 30 years ago — it’s surprising how little has changed compared to the rest of the city. A sort of gentrification has already threatened some of the historic homes around here, but hopefully the tendency will be to follow this kind of model to keep the area authentic and affordable.
I’ve learned so much about the process of buying a house through this experience. I can’t imagine doing it without the TCLT, which provided guidance every step of the way.”
~ Christine, TCLT Homeowner
“What do we lose when older houses are torn down to make way for new ones? We lose pieces of Flagstaff’s history, and we lose people. The old houses encapsulate our city’s and our country’s history: they’re a visible reminder of how those who came before us lived. They can tell us that there are multiple ways to live—for example, that often small can be beautiful. When they’re torn down to make way for something bigger and newer, prices go up, often way up. The teachers, the firefighters, the hospital staff who are so essential to our community can’t afford to live there.
In my neighborhood I’ve seen a number of old houses torn down. They were worn, but they also had that irreplaceable patina of age, like the wrinkles on an older loved one’s face. Most of the wood or stone that held them up is still good, but it gets trucked to the landfill. That’s a waste of good material and of energy.
The work of Flagstaff’s Townsite Community Land Trust helps people by helping to preserve places for them to live. It really is about community. By finding the value in old houses and fixing them up to be comfortable, energy efficient, and more affordable in the long term, the trust helps to assure the human viability and stability of our neighborhoods.”
~ Peter Friederici, Director, Sustainable Communities Program, Northern Arizona University