Atomic Ranch (Corvallis)

Friday, February 11, 2011
Leader: Chris Cunningham
Hike: 3.9 miles (Easy)

Atomic Ranch is a bit of a misleading name that describes a style of suburban ranch-style architecture, so popular after World War II—from the late '40s until the early '70s. We followed the 3.9-mile "Atomic Ranch Walk,” in Tyler Burgess’ book, Oregon Townscape Walks. First, we zigzagged through the Franklin Park neighborhood, where enormous, knotty-trunked heritage trees, blooming perennial gardens and landscapes decorated with found objects, captured our attention. Here, many of the homes were renovated Victorian, or Craftsman-style homes or bungalows, with graceful architectural features and landscapes that included native shrubs and grasses. Entering the “Atomic Ranch” neighborhood, Keiko proved a fine map reader, and helped us efficiently navigate the tour of nine homes located near Dixon Creek and Corvallis High School. We took turns reading the descriptive material of the tour (provided by the City of Corvallis). In general, the main characteristics of Atomic ranch-style homes are their elongated shapes, unchanging rooflines, and sparse exterior and interior embellishment—although brick planters were a common element that added a bit of color. As we stood in front of the "Baker House," circa 1948, the homeowner came out, provided a little extra history of her home, and showed us the interior of her charming, Victorian-style tool/potting shed that her architect husband designed. Her home, typical of others on our tour, was one story and featured a picture window and a carport. Afterwards, the six of us drove to McMenamins for bowls of soup and conversation.

Members: Cunningham, Chris, Prentice, Margaret, Sutherland, Barbara, Bryan, Keiko, Tracer, Sam. Nonmembers: Dods, Jane.

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