Cedar Rapids bungalow provides windows to the past
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cindy Lundine lives in memories.
“To me, they’re the happiest things,” she said.
She also lives among memories, housed in the 1924 Kenwood Park bungalow where she grew up, along 33rd Street NE.
Now age 70, she points to:
-- The porch where she and her friends gathered for slumber parties, and a favorite spot for her mother.
“In my mind’s eye, I see my mother sitting in her chair on the porch. She loved the porch,” Lundine said.
-- The World Book encyclopedias that arrived when she was about 7.
“How thrilled I was — and I was always going to read them from cover to cover,” she said. They’re still lined up in the bookshelf her father built for them.
-- The delicate beaded sheath dress her mother, born in 1911, wore for Rainbow Girls, a Masonic service organization for girls ages 11 to 20.
-- The chenille bedspreads in her parents’ room and the room she shared with her sister, Linda. A jack-and-jill bathroom with the original pedestal sink is nestled between the two rooms.
-- A child’s eye-level blackboard in the kitchen, perfect for a future teacher to play school, or for adults to leave notes.
-- A refrigerator nook adjacent to the kitchen, but tucked into the back stairway — a common practice in vintage bungalows, she said.
-- The basement where she used to roller skate around the furnace.
-- The sliding table her father built into the kitchen’s breakfast nook. It can be pulled out to let people slide into the wraparound bench, then pushed back later, to open up more floor space.
-- The floral wallpaper her mother loved, that still adorns one wall in the dining room and each bedroom.
-- The decorative needlework her mother created, on everything from framed pieces to the covering on a wooden footstool her father made.
The bungalow, which has been in her family for nearly 85 years, remains a time capsule tribute to her parents, Luther and Lorraine Lundine, who bought the house for $3,000 in 1934.
“My folks could come back today and feel right at home,” she said.
She’s happy both parents were granted their wish to live out their lives in the house. She purchased the property from their estate in 2006, following her mother’s death in 2005.
She’s replaced the roof, electricity, heating and cooling systems, and has declared 2017 to be “The Year of the Kitchen,” tackling that room as soon as she finds someone who can repair plaster. “It’s becoming a lost art,” she said, but she’s determined not to replace it with drywall.
“There is not an ounce of drywall in this house. There’s not an ounce of particleboard,” she declared.
The floors and wood trim are solid oak, and many of the interior boards are redwood true two-by-fours, not the almost-two-by-almost-four-inch boards commonly found today.
Her father made one of the biggest cosmetic and functional changes, when he closed off the front door and steps leading to the porch. He rerouted the entrance to the side, so people could enter directly from the driveway, and not have to trudge through the front yard.
Lundine submitted the home’s before-and-after photos to American Bungalow magazine, and they appear in the recent fall issue’s Family Album. She said it’s the first such home from Cedar Rapids to be featured in the quarterly publication with a worldwide reach.
Preserving the past is important to Lundine. A retired elementary teacher and media specialist in the Cedar Rapids school district, she has written two books about the Kenwood Park community — initially encompassing 32nd to 36th streets NE — which was annexed into Cedar Rapids in 1926. Her father grew up there, skating on nearby Indian Creek with artist Grant Wood and actor Don Ameche, who attended St. Berchman’s Academy in Marion and won an Academy Award in 1985 for his supporting role in “Cocoon.”
Lundine also has plunged into the history of the bungalow style, which she said began “centuries ago” in the Bangalore region of India. The British adopted the style of the native huts for their seaside cottages and in the industrial cities back home, she said.
“In 1880, the term ‘bungalow’ was used for the first time in America,” in an architectural periodical, she said. The style became associated with vacation lodging, and because of the timing, was closely aligned with the growing Arts and Crafts movement at the turn of the 20th century, she noted.
“It rapidly became one of the most popular home styles of the early 1900s in the United States,” she said, especially in Chicago, California and Florida. “As it grew in its popularity, new variations beyond the Prairie-style straight line — and that’s pretty much what this bungalow is,” she said. “There’s many types of what can be called bungalows now.”
Hers is one story with an attic. Others rise up to two stories.
“They kind of have their own flavor, their own little eccentricities,” she said, including pergolas, breakfast nooks and beamed ceilings.
And some got fancy. Special features included built-in bookshelves and writing desks, archways and pocket doors. The style also made its way to Hollywood.
“It was a bungalow mania,” she said. “It just really grew in popularity in the early 1900s, up until the Depression.”
Lundine’s bungalow as built by Walter Hopp upon his marriage in 1924, when Kenwood Park was expanding westward. The new area was platted with deep lots to entice buyers, and Lundine’s backyard has plenty of room for a sprawling tree, flowers and the original clothesline poles and Stone City limestone fireplace her father built.
Since Walter Hopp worked in his father’s business, J.W. Hopp Construction Co., the house features his custom touches, including the sloped hip roof on the garage and both sides of the house. The kitchen chalkboard is a nod to all the schools his father’s company built.
After Walter’s wife died in 1933, he and their two young sons moved to her hometown of Donnellson in southeast Iowa. The following year, Lundine’s parents bought the house.
And the rest is history.
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