Why Bigelow Homes?
Trained as an engineer, Perry Bigelow became a homebuilder more than 35 years ago. For several years he specialized in the custom market, building for well - heeled clients who could afford homes that met his exacting standards. But in 1973 the world - and the construction industry - suddenly became more complicated when an oil embargo led to an energy crisis. Photographs from that period inevitably show long lines of cars at gas stations, and the cost of home heating suddenly became a burden to many. With typical vigor, Bigelow responded, combining his engineering and home building background to devise new construction techniques and procedures to make homes more energy - efficient. He soon became one of the world's leading experts on residential energy conservation.
But Bigelow soon faced another, more subtle challenge. He wanted to provide reasonably priced shelter to middle and working class families, so Bigelow devised ways to use his custom home know - how in construction of affordable production homes.
By the late 1980s Bigelow Homes was an established, profitable builder of entry - level homes. But again Perry Bigelow was thinking about the big picture. Inspired largely by the book, Habits of the Heart, Bigelow was concerned about America's over - emphasis on extreme individualism at the expense of committed, neighborly relationships. At the same time, a few architects and city planners was espousing a new way of designing residential neighborhoods, one that harkened to pre - World War II neighborhoods designed with narrower streets, wide sidewalks, plenty of public spaces and houses that welcomed neighbors more than television sets.
Most American subdivisions built since the end of World War II are isolating and designed for cars, not people. High speed neighborhood streets are also part of the reason for the problems described in Habits of the Heart. Bigelow also was concerned that most new, well - designed traditional neighborhood developments were much too expensive for average people.
All these ideas - excessive individualism, subdivision design, affordable prices, free range children safer streets percolated in Bigelow's thoughts. He envisioned a place where cars drove slowly and kids could walk to the store to buy a loaf of bread for dinner, an affordably priced community with great Fourth of July parades and a community Christmas tree. But he did more than just envision such a place - he built it, in Aurora, and called it HomeTown.
The market responded to his concept - a traditional neighborhood at affordable prices with kid safe streets. Already, approximately 1250 families live in HomeTown Aurora, the first of two HomeTowns. Encouraged by the success of HomeTown Aurora, Bigelow Homes also developed Hometown Oswego.
Bigelow Homes will continue to expand, develop, and refine the HomeTown concept. Since every local site is unique, every HomeTown will also be unique.