On this date in 1961, The Hilltop House at 1300 Crestview Avenue had its premier showing. This home was priced at $37,000 (about $300,000 in 2017 dollars), had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an all electric kitchen, cell heating with thermostat controls for each room.
This home was part of the Marina Hills development. The Marina Hills home typified a certain Mid-Century Modern verve that dominated residential architecture in the early sixties. The “Homes That Grow” designs were specifically created to allow for future expansion of the home as needed. The carport could convert into a garage, a rumpus room, or den and the sundeck space could be converted to additional rooms depending on the household’s future needs. This was considered one of the major benefits of the modular layout, and it felt very modern to 1961 home shoppers. Swimming pools were optional.
Another modern feature of these homes was the emphasis on the “ALL ELECTRIC HOMES.” As more electrical power plants went online in the mid-fifties, the price of electrical power became cheaper, so a “Live Better Electrically” program was created to convince Americans to consume more electricity was started by electricity utilities and manufacturers. (Just reading that sentence should subliminally make you want to leave all the lights in home.)
In 1957, the National Manufacturers Association launched the “Medallion Home” campaign. To qualify as a “Medallion Home” (or later as a “Gold Medallion Home,” A house would need to be constructed to use only electricity for built-in lighting, heating, kitchen appliances, and power. None of the old-fashion and outmoded natural gas for these homes!
The Medallion Home campaign was a rousing success and lasted into the early seventies.
– Michael Dobkins