View Full Version : Researching an address

06-23-2008, 11:00 PM
How would one go about finding the history of a "historical" type of home?

The home was built in the 1920's I'm guessing. Might not classify as historical.

Is it possible?

06-23-2008, 11:30 PM
You should get its address and start with your local historical society.

Any historical society will have an index of buildings by address. It is not guaranteed to have every old building, but anything truly significant will be there.

Your city will also have records of building permits and other legal documents relating to the address. Any major renovations require a permit, as well as the original construction. You will be able to find out who owned the property, when it was bought and sold, etc, etc.

You might also try going to nearby churches. You can frequently find old-timers who are happy to talk about the local area and its history. In all my researches into the history of buildings, I've never gone that far, but I know people who have.

Thats if you have a specific home in mind.

If you want something more general, I suggest you go to your local University, and check out the architecture section in its library. There you will find excellent titles about houses of various periods. When I was in college, I did a research paper on bungalows, which are certainly of the right time period. I can't quite recall any of my sources, but I could probably dig out the bibliography, if needed.

I don't think you really need it though. Go to your local university's online library catalog (virtually all of them have one) and search for 'housing, history, and your region' and I bet you'll get plenty.

It occurs to me that if you are talking about california houses in the 20s, the bungalow is a very typical one. In those days, you could buy a house from a Sears Catalog: You placed the order, and everything you needed to build it would be delivered to your lot: lumber, bricks, windows, everything, along with drawings and instructions. Then you could put them together yourself or hire someone to do it. You could look at old Sears Catalogs for typical drawings.

06-24-2008, 04:39 AM
Or, by history do you mean the records of who built it, who owned it, for how long, what it sold for, etc.? If that's the case you need to look at the deed record books on file at the county seat. Every house has a deed abstract and homeowners who own their homes have copies of them (if there's a mortgage you don't have one, the lienholder has it). Puma

06-24-2008, 04:56 AM
There's a possibility that your local government has taken all the abstracts and turn them into one-page documents that tell only who owns it now. It's a terrible thing for historians. They throw away the abstract as if it were of no use. Phooey to them.