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11 Garrison Road

11 Garrison Road

Ralph C. Stoddard House, 1917

Rumor has it that 11 Garrison Road was once owned by members of the Lane Bryant fashion empire. Sadly, not true. From 1955 to 1968, Agnes and Lane W. Bryant from Nebraska lived here, but they were unrelated to the plucky Lithuanian seamstress who opened her first shop on Fifth Avenue in New York in 1904.

The house was built in 1917 for Ralph C. and Florence (Menzies) Stoddard when “Garrison Park,” an array of buildable lots flanking the newly laid Garrison Road was still only half-developed. It’s possible that Ralph and Florence selected this model from one of the popular “kit home” catalogs of the early 1900s. With three bedrooms and an indoor bathroom, a pre-designed “bungalow” like this one was a fashionable and cost effective solution for a young, middle-class family. (Ralph, a sporting goods salesman, earned $1,500 salary in 1940, just slightly above the national average for that year.)

Low slung lines, prominent eaves and brackets, and an open floor plan with minimal interior architectural adornment appealed to those seeking a “modern” look. The term “modern” didn’t just refer to the style of the house, but also, euphemistically, to the presence of the indoor bathroom, a feature not always available in catalog houses until the 1920s.

Quality construction and finishes characterized even the smallest bungalows. Maple floors, wide, gently arched doorways, and a roomy foyer still feel fresh in a house celebrating its 100th birthday this year. The current owners acquired the house in 2004. To maximize space, they have enclosed the front porch and added to the back of the house, enlarging the dining room and relocating the kitchen.  New French doors from the dining room to the new back porch echo the original front windows.