Raising the Neighborhood

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Over 150 years ago, our part of San Jose, California, in the neighborhood of Willow Glen, was a marsh – an extension of the Guadalupe River. In the 1860s, Frank Lewis built the Lewis Canal to drain the marsh that gave Willow Glen its name to create rich farmland. Still today, the land shifts season by season under the houses that cover it, often causing wall and foundation damage.

John and I spent a long time in the last few months working with contractors to get our 1930 home more-or-less level, adding several beams to support soft spots. Our house (which was built on what was once a chicken farm) was raised and given a new foundation after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 but it has shifted since. This summer, several other houses near us have been raised entirely so that new foundations could be built under them. Mostly the rebuilders take the opportunity to add new rooms to the home, enlarging it at the expense of the surrounding garden.  Modest old bungalows become homes that will sell for much more.

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Images Copyright 2012 by Katy Dickinson

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