There is something special about the character and architecture of the homes that draw people to the Historic West End. Along with the community and the neighborhood pride, one of the most significant things about these homes is the stories they tell. A home I listed and sold located on White Street SW is a prime example of this. The home belonged to some good friends of mine, the Crane Family. Before the Crane’s purchased the home in 2009 the Underwood family occupied it for 80 years! After the father, R.S. Underwood and his wife passed away his daughter Juanita Underwood continued to live in the family home until her death in the late 90’s. A fellow neighbor knew a distant cousin of the Underwood’s and offered to clean out the house. Once he walked in he described that the home felt as if it was still in the 1940’s. There was a lot of vintage furniture; old calendars were hung up as well as a ton of newspapers. Amongst other things he stumbled on the diaries from the daughter Juanita.
I got the privilege to read through some of the personal memoirs and it was like reliving what the West End was like circa 1945. Juanita had just graduated from Brown High School and was working at the local bank processing statements. She mentioned going to the Gordon Theater a lot with her parents and even mentioned a good friend that had just been discharged from Fort McPherson! What was interesting was that she referred to the West End as another town. For example on April 4, 1947 Juanita wrote “Stopped in the West End after work and got some groceries. The sack tore and groceries spilled as it rained.” Pretty Cool! (Maybe not to other’s but I love this stuff!)
What I noticed most about reading the memoirs was the sense of togetherness and family that she had with the community. Neighbors would stop by daily. They would eat together, go to church together and helped each other out through rough times.
The White Street house is very special to me. It’s not because of the awesome character and the meticulous care that the Crane family has put into the home, but because of all of the memories I have in the home. Since 2012 when I met the Crane’s the White Street house has served people in many ways. From inviting neighbors over for a meal, to hosting weekly marriage groups for young married folks. The White Street house has been instrumental in bringing lots of different people together. Personally being a transplant in Atlanta and not having my parents in the same city, for me it’s been a safe place. It has been a place that I was cared for when I was sick, received fatherly financial advice on how to kill debt and steward our money better amongst lots of other things. The White street house has helped to facilitate so much care and love for this community. This is very similar to how it was used in the 40’s. I’m a so happy to know that the White Street house serves the same purpose today. My hope is that the new owners will be able to benefit from the home in the same ways that the Underwood and Crane family has and continue to create more stories of love and care for many years to come.