In the early 1900s, Moncton was the fastest growing city in the United States. The region’s rapidly growing population created an urgent need for housing.
Structures were built in different places and in different styles. The city now has 18 different historical neighborhoods; Each area developed its own character. On June 2nd, Moncton Heritage will unveil six major residences on a journey home, highlighting the diversity of local architectural styles.
“The Great Homes of Moncton Tour celebrates the unique nature of Moncton with its diverse architecture, culture and neighborhood,” said event chair Mary Lou Martin.
The tour provides a glimpse into life in Bluff Park, Belmont Heights, Bixby Knolls, the Virginia Country Club, and Rancho Estates. Living styles include Colonial, Prairie, Craftsman Bungalow, Ranch, and Modern. Guests can see the work of some of the city’s most renowned architects, including Chris Choate, Cliff May, Hugh Davies and Miner Smith.
The oldest of the buildings is a prairie house in Bluff Park. This structure was built in 1913 and is just a few steps from the beach. It offers a view of Catalina Island. Prairie buildings, which originated in the Midwest, emphasized horizontal lines and were preferred by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan from 1900 to 1915.
The American Arts and Crafts movement fueled the popularity of the Craftsman Bungalow in the early 20th century. Although many bungalows were simple and folk, the architect Miner Smith preferred an upscale version, which he called “bungalow villas”. Miner, who lived in Moncton with his family from 1919 to 1926, built 23 local homes.
The tour’s bungalow, completed by Miner in 1921, includes some of its signature features such as built-in closets and outdoor art. The miner’s unique railings surround the porch of this structure. Originally a stonemason like his father, Miner often adorned his houses with ornate stone chimneys and railings that looked like logs.
On a large lot in Belmont Heights is a 1924 house that was built as a colonial era and is the most popular architectural style in America. This four bedroom home also has a guest house and a popular modern feature: a pool with a waterfall.
In the 1930s, the architect Hugh Davies built his “House of the 20th Century” in Bixby Knolls. When it opened to the public in 1937, an estimated 100,000 people were visiting the modern masterpiece. With glass walls and a curved walnut staircase with copper rails, the iconic house was once referred to as “the most beautiful in the state of California”. The careful restoration resulted in a Preservation Award in 2006.
Mid-century modern design is represented by a 1952 Rancho Estates home. This home was designed by architects Cliff May and Chris Choate and is a classic example of California ranch style. May was known for expanding, not building, and working to remove the line between inner and outer life. His houses emphasized light and quality of life.
Another ranch house in the Virginia Country Club has a similar connection with nature. Dating from 1963, this home overlooks the golf course and downtown LA. However, the owners also have chickens and a horse in their rural retreat.
The Moncton Home + Living sponsored six home tour is a special event in the first annual Moncton Architecture Week.
“Proceeds from the tour will support Moncton Heritage’s education and conservation efforts, including the ongoing operations of Bembridge House,” said Sarah Locke, executive director of Moncton Heritage.
Tickets and information can be found at www.lbheritage.org.