JF Ptak Science Books Post 2679
I was working on this pamphlet for my bookstore (F.E. McCambridge. [Oil and Gas Investment Property Prospectus]
Majestic Homes Realty Co., Denver, Colorado, 1937), an interesting-enough thing if for nothing but the maps.
The brochure is really more about selling the possibility of becoming an energy maven selling property and its oil
and gas rights in what could have been an oil/gas-right territory in Pajarito Spanish Grant, in New Mexico. The
area of the grant seems in general to be about 15 miles or so southwest of Albuquerque, though the map in the
pamphlet depicts a much wider area in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, around Albuquerque and south to La Joya.
I can't find anything offhand about the success or failure of this venture, though not much seems to have
happened. Evidently people seem to have moved into this area to get away from it all back in the 1970's--
there is no running water or paved roads to speak of, and has pretty much nothing except for a great big
sky and very inexpensive ground. (See https://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-7409-mexico-usa.html for
the interesting story.)
Then I came across something unexpected and even a little captivating. After checking WorldCat/OCLC for
listings for the pamphlet (there were none) or other works by the author (ditto) I did find that the author
came down on the right side of history in his opinions on the post-war housing crisis.
Mr. McCambridge's venture seems to have struck dirt, though he comes up golden in his
very forward-thinking appraisal of town/city planning. I found this in an obscure publication about the
housing shortage at the end of WWII. While other builders were concentrating on mid- and upper-level
housing in the coming building boom, McCambridge thought small and very inexpensive, homes enough
for all budgets, "and homes for Negro occupancy should rank high in every postwar plan to house America":
"As noted earlier, the same survey revealed that private builders expect to build 67 per cent of their houses to sell
at prices between $5,000 and 510,000. Experience shows that the saturation point for that market is quickly
reached and that the nation will never be well housed until ways can be found of building for families in the
lower-income brackets." "One intelligent western builder remarked, in commenting on this survey, that the
"determination of builders to concen- trate their efforts on higher-cost housing" seemed to be a "tragic truth":
"It is exceedingly unfortunate that so many of the builders of the nation, seeking to escape from the
war-required restriction and limitation orders, wish to employ their talent in other than the basic responsibilities
of the industry they have so capably represented in the war job they are now completing Surely no program to
rehouse America should be pro- mulgated other than one providing for all the people in proportion to their
ability to purchase. Only by such a program can the re-employment of our returning veterans and displaced
war workers be attained. Decent housing should be made available to every segment of our population, every
in- come bracket; and homes for Negro occupancy should rank high in every postwar plan to house America1."
I'm glad to have gone down this path for a little bit to find McCambridge's post-WWII story.
1. Quoting F. E. McCambridge, in Tomorrow's Town (New York: National Committee on Housing, Inc.,
June, 1945) in Robert Lasch, Breaking the Blockade, 1946, p 141.