The year was 1975. Tom and Nina Carr took their two young boys and drove through several small communities in search for a possible new home to buy and a life to provide their boys. They drove through Bondurant, Mitchellville, Norwalk and Pleasant Hill. On their way back to their home in northeast Des Moines, they drove through Altoona. As they got lost and drove past 1004 Third St. S.W., they knew their search would soon be over.
“Once I saw the inside, I knew this was the one,” Nina says. “It had everything we needed to raise our boys.”
They liked the split foyer and the tuck-under garage. They liked the proximity to Lions Park and the schools, as the boys were 8 and 2 years old at the time.
“It was a great place to raise kids,” Nina says.
Just north of their home was an open field. The neighborhood kids loved the dirt piles they found and created dirt paths for their bikes.
“We’ve watched this area fill in over the years,” Tom says. “We’ve also seen Altoona’s population grow from approximately 5,000 when we moved here to its current 14,000.”
They agree that the growth has been healthy — Target, Wal-Mart and Hy-Vee have all made their debuts.
The couple has done a few remodeling projects themselves that hinder them from leaving anytime soon.
“We put our three-season porch on recently,” Nina says. “We spend so much time out there, we’d miss it.”
They enjoy watching TV and eating dinner on TV trays. They love watching storms come in. There is always something to see or do for three seasons of the year.
In the winter, they hibernate in the basement where they’ve added a gas fireplace.
“It gets so warm down there it’s hard not to fall asleep in front of the fireplace,” Nina says.
As it warms up outside, Tom and Nina discuss more they’d like to add around the house. They are considering redoing the patio in back and adding a small fire pit. They need to replace the front shrubs.
“We really do like it here,” Tom says. “We’re just not ready to downsize yet.”