Have you ever wondered who lived in your house before you did? Who lived next door? Side-by-Side Stories shows the history of two houses that stand side by side on the same block in the Portola. The houses were built in the 1930s and have had only a few owners each.
In the house on the left, Hazel Laine, the first owner of the home, is shown in her nineties. Behind her are scenes from her life history: her wedding, her 4 daughters as children and as young women. The pictures of Hazel’s family are drawn because, though she shared many stories before she passed, there is just one photograph to work from. In front is the life story of the Li family to whom Hazel’s children sold her house. The Li parents were born in China, emigrating here as young people and they are raising their own 4 children in the house where Hazel’s family grew up.
In the house on the right, in the back, is the story of the Gerhardt family. They lived in this home for fifty years. Both parents grew up in the Portola, raised in families that had emigrated from Austria a generation before. The raised their daughter in this home and she’s shown on the front steps on her wedding day in the 1960s. Near the front is the artists’ family, the Connell-Melara extended family.
Download these postcards to write out your own neighborhood story. If you live in the Portola, bring them to the Portola Branch Library.