Edited to Add (July 2012): I was sorry to hear that Earl Martin passed away last month, soon after this interview. I am honored that I had a chance to meet him.
Following the warm response to the 1961 picture of Forest Knolls I posted in Forest Knolls, Then and Now, I called Earl Martin to ask if I could post some more of his pictures here, rather than just linking them. He did better than just give permission: He kindly invited me over for a chat to the Midtown Terrace home he and his wife Connie have shared since 1957. Earl is 91, and Connie is 95, a gracious and engaging couple who were fascinating to talk to. They’re among the original residents who bought in while the homes were still being built.
“We come from manual labor,” Earl said. He was a carpenter when he bought the house, and Connie was an occupational therapist working at a hospital. For mortgage purposes, though, Connie’s income wasn’t considered part of the household income. “Because I had a Union job,” Earl told me, “We could buy this house, and Connie could stay home with the children.” (Those daughters, of course, are all grown up: One is a doctor of optometry, the other a nurse specializing in neo-natal ICU care.)
Connie didn’t stay home very long. First she started teaching at a Sunday School, then preschool two mornings a week, then eventually she became a preschool teacher “until I got too old.”
Earl was an armorer in the USAAF during WWII, stationed in the UK with the “Bluenosed Bastards of Bodney.” (Click HERE for a 3-minute video featuring this airforce group.) Later, he was a carpenter until the 1970s, when a company take-over pushed him into retirement. After that, he worked with machinery, both research and development, and sales and repair. “He’s naturally a Mr Fix-It,” Connie said.
After he finally retired, his father-in-law interested him in the stock market. “I made more investing than I ever did working,” he said.
When they occupied their home, Forest Knolls was a barren building site. “They had heavy machinery out there, building the terraces. Then they planted rye-grass to stabilize it.”
Here are some more of Earl Martin’s photographs. I asked him about permissions: Anyone may reproduce the pictures, but with attribution to him.
In this picture, a few houses have been built…
I found another cool 20-second snippet of video: It’s an aerial view that shows the transformation from 1938 – when the forest was only about 40-50 years old, but much more extensive – to the neighborhoods there now in 2012.
Click HERE to watch that.
Thanks to the realty website JacksonFuller.com who made it.
MORE INTERESTING PICTURES
And I’ll end with a few more pictures from Earl Martin: Of the newly-built Clarendon School –
… and one with a bit of the old Sutro Tower – much slimmer than its successor.
Here’s the view across to Mount Davidson, with its forest on the west and the bare East side where Leyland Stanford thought he’d develop housing.