As World War II was ending, soldiers were returning home to marry their sweethearts and find a home. In Springville, the Brookside subdivision was ready to welcome 163 homeowners looking for a small, economical new house.
“Brookside subdivision was the first subdivision in Springville,” said Ireata Hansen, 77, a Brookside resident. “I remember when I came to visit my mother’s Aunt Harriett and we went to look at her daughter Jean’s new home. I was about 12, and we went over in the winter time when there were just a few homes and no roads or sidewalks yet. Some of the houses had two bedrooms and some had three. There was an unfinished basement.”
Years later, she happily returned as a homeowner to Brookside with her own young family with some help from a local realtor.
“We were renting a basement and our kids were always sick because the walls were so damp. Mr. Frazier asked us if we’d like to buy a house. We didn’t even have the $300 for the down payment, but he lent us that at $10 a month. We had a house payment of $70 a month and I remember wondering how we would make it when we had been paying $45 in rent,” Hansen recalled.
One of her first vivid memories after moving into their home in 1960 was the first Halloween.
“I was not prepared for the cars lined up bumper to bumper in our neighborhood,” Hansen said. “We must have had 400 kids come to our door for trick-or-treat. Back then we made cookies or popcorn balls and we soon ran out. After that I never baked. I gave out apples or candy.”
Juanita Mower, 88, lives two doors down from the Hansen family. She was born in Springville in 1925 and met her husband Eugene after WWII.
“Eugene came home from the service after four years and went down to Carbon County to work in the coal mines to make some money. He came back up to Springville and got a job as a house painter. He was later the greens keeper at Hobble Creek Golf Course,” said Mower. “It was a great place to raise our family of boys. They had so many good friends and if I needed to have them come home I’d just step out on the porch and whistle.”
Della Wood, 92, moved into Brookside in March of 1950. She and her husband paid $7,900 for their home. She mentioned that the houses hadn’t been selling well in Brookside in the early years until the Strong family built homes for all of their children and soldiers came home looking for affordable housing.
“My husband Don had gotten out of the service and was working at Pacific Pipe,” she said. “I said let’s take a ride over to Brookside again and look at those homes. We walked in and it felt like home. One other couple had owned it before us, so we were the second family to live there. We moved in right about when Brookside school was built, they were building a chapel and Don’s Market was just down the street where Reams is now. Brookside was a cul-de-sac then, before they put the road through at 800 East and we were a very close neighborhood. I knew who lived in every house.”
Utah’s first lady, Jeanette Snelson Herbert, grew up in Brookside subdivision. Her mother, Bonnie Snelson, still lives in the family home purchased in 1956 for $8,700. The Snelsons came to Springville looking for a home when Herbert’s father became the manager of the local JC Penney store.
Bonnie Snelson smiled as she remembered how an uncle who was a realtor discouraged them from buying a house in Brookside.
“My husband’s uncle told us Brookside was nothing but an incubator — a bunch of people with a bunch of kids,” said Snelson. “I knew it was the perfect place for us. We had four children and one on the way. We had to do some renovating since a houseful of boys had lived there and shot up the walls with their BB guns. These houses were plaster so we had to replaster and paint.”
The Snelson family, like most of the families in Brookside, remodeled and expanded their homes as the years went by. Homeowners added garages, built fences and made improvements as the decades passed.
“When we first moved in we had a big octopus furnace that burned coal. There was a coal room in the basement and we later turned that into a bedroom for two of our children. One October morning my husband asked me if I’d like a family room for Christmas so we jumped up out of bed and went outside to mark it out with a flashlight. Since he worked until late at night, when I said I wanted a fireplace he told me I’d have to build it. We filled the back of our station wagon with rocks and I went over to Della’s and borrowed her sledgehammer and got to work.”