James Stronach

“It was an old farmhouse and my grandfather converted it into what you see now. They did the whole thing in 1874. In 1939, when we moved up here, when my grandmother died, there was no central heat and we still have the gas lines from before we got electricity… I remember in 1936, I stood out and watched them pave the streets. They had the street lights just on the corners. It was pitch black. And I remember the horse and buggy. They used to bring the milk and the ice. Cars were available, but that was during the depression. Good milk, too. Kaplan’s Dairy. The cream was that thick in the glass bottles.

“I went to Parson’s School of Design in 1953. I had a friend there. I wanted to do something in art… I wasn’t happy here. I didn’t know what direction to go. Then I got a job with a coat and suit house on 7th Avenue, drawing and designing. The I went to Paris and I spent three years working at Dior.

“My father was very sick so I came home and I helped him. I didn’t know what I was doing. I took all these houses and renovated them. I did painting, sheetrocking, roofing. I did everything. At that time, Oakwood was nothing. It was maybe a project for the City to run a highway through.

“It’s all like a dream sometimes, ya know?”

Jim Stronach was born in Oakwood in 1928. His grandparents bought the farmhouse located at 414 North Bloodworth in 1874. Jim moved into this house with his family in 1939, when his grandmother passed away. Jim continues to live in this house today.

To hear his story, 

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Thursday, October 20th, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized

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