Fifty Five Years In Normandy Estates
Posted on Oct 19th, 2015
Fifty Five Years in Normandy Estates
Reflections from Carolyn Sprengeler
By Carol Vogel
This year marks the 55th Anniversary of Carolyn's life in Normandy Estates. Carolyn Sprengeler has lived at 6975 South Chase Court since 1960. Carolyn said that after WWII a group of Frenchmen migrated to Chicago then eventually came to Colorado looking for ways to invest in the country. One French architect by the name of Rene' Chouzenoux discovered promising land in Littleton, Colorado. He called it Normandy Estates in memory of the D Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy and his home in the south of France. He collaborated with two other gentlemen (Mr. Duboc and Mr. Cowing) and purchases a large acreage of land and began to develop it including a house he built for himself. Carolyn’s house was one of the first groups of houses to be built in Normandy Estates. Carolyn recalls rolling wheat fields and farms all around. “There were a few houses on Coal Mine Road, Ontario Circle and a few on Depew Street,” said Carolyn. Carolyn and her husband Don bought their plot and started building in 1959. The house was completed in early 1960.
Carolyn, her husband Don and three children moved to Colorado from the east coast as Don was looking for work and had been hired by the Martin Company. They picked the Littleton area to build because of the excellent schools and close proximity to work. Carolyn remembers being able to look out from her patio every morning and see the Rocky mountains silhouetted in the west. Today the mountains are barely visible as a number of tall pines encircle her property and other houses and trees now obstruct her view. During those early days she remembers that there was mud everywhere. Slowly sewer, water, and gas lines were installed and curbs and streets were put in. Plymouth Drive was one of the first streets to be named and totally completed. The entire development was not finalized until some twenty years later. Carolyn recalls that there was a big housing explosion in the 60’s and lots of employment opportunities at the Martin plant and other big companies in the area. People quickly moved in to Normandy Estates because of the beautiful, unique custom homes, the pool, the excellent schools, and the close proximity to the Glenn L. Martin Plant (now known as Lockheed Martin). The Martin Plant was a major defense plant located by Waterton Canyon that attracted large numbers of scientists and engineers. Needless to say, many of the Normandy residents in the early years worked at the Martin Plant.
Farmland was still prevalent, however. Coal Mine Road went as far as Kipling but Wadsworth was just a dirt road. The area north of Coal Mine was all wheat farming land running west to Kipling. The pavement ended at Pierce. She remembers when the rush to buy houses in the area prompted Coal Mine and Wadsworth to expand and become major thoroughfares.
Carolyn shared some additional interesting facts:
Carolyn and Don bought the lot back then for $4,500 and the house for $21,000.
Their mortgage payment was only $162.22 a month!
Electricity was $35 a month and gas was $18. The phone bill was $13 a month.
Eggs were 35 cents a dozen.
The nearest grocery store was a King Sooper and a Safeway on Belleview Street.
The closest post office was the one still located in downtown Littleton.
Normandy Estates were some of the first high end homes in the area. Homes in Normandy Estates were required to be a minimum of 1400 square feet.
In the early days many deer and lots of foxes could be seen lying in the grass by the creek now known as Ontario Avenue and Ottawa Avenue.
People would complain about bareback horse racing up and down the streets.
The first HOA dues were $5 a year.
The pool was built in 1961 and the swim club was one of the major activities for kids in the area.
Before fences were put in place, the plans called for bridal paths behind each housing easement.
The big South Platte flood of 1965 was a significant event in the area. All the bridges downstream from Bowles were washed out, and flooding occurred all along Santa Fe. Carolyn and her family of 7 (including a 1 year old) were without electricity and water for about four weeks. They were isolated and had to make do with what they had in the house.
Today, Carolyn still loves the Normandy Estates neighborhood and has enjoyed experiencing the many changes that have occurred in the 55 years that she has been a part of the Normandy Estates community. She welcomes anyone who would like to call and reminisce or just chat. Her number is 303-979-4387.
Carolyn and Roxie