The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

S&B Cribs: The Broads of 1132 Broad

From left to right: Sophia Stern, Lydia James, Maddie Birchfield, Maggie Dambro, Sophia Deleonibus, all ’19. Photo by Mahira Faran

The residents of 1132 Broad Street, a cozy green house located just off of North Campus, believe their home already has a legacy, and it’s one that they are determined to continue.

Maddie Birchfield, Maggie Dambro, Sophia Deleonibus, Lydia James and Sophia Stern, all ’19, are close friends who have known each other nearly their entire time at Grinnell. “We all became friends immediately,” Dambro said.

Choosing this house specifically was no accident, either. Most of its current residents had visited the house and its prior tenants before, and its peaceful, creative energy drew them in. They signed the lease at the end of their second year, and though it was early, they felt confident with the decision. “There was definitely a moment when we all were like ‘so we’re going to do this, right?’” Stern said.

For its residents, the house also came with an unofficial tradition. “A lot of powerful women have lived here. It just seemed really like a wholesome environment, and I think we were all kind of excited to recreate that,” Deleonibus said. They hope to provide the same positive spirit that the house’s previous residents emitted.  “Every year, I was like okay, so these women that I idolize live in this house, if I live in this house, I can become my true being,” Birchfield said.

The vibe of the home is warm and welcoming. A couch sits on the front porch, along with a pumpkin for Halloween spirit. The house is green outside, and each bedroom is each a different color, ranging from orange, yellow, turquoise, light blue and purple. “It’s very recognizable to people who have lived in this house or who have been in this house,” James said.

The five residents work enthusiastically to make their already-comfortable house even more serene. In the living room, its walls painted lavender, the residents have hung a series of string lights and art posters above several floral-patterned couches. “It’s a very nice, homey environment. We keep it nice,” Deleonibus said.

High on the wall, there’s a small picture of an old man left by previous residents. The housemates debate over if the man is meant to be God or if it’s a self-portrait of Rembrandt. Nonetheless, they plan on likely changing it to a picture of Rihanna soon. “More Rihanna needs to get put up in the house, so that’s a goal,” Birchfield said.

From left to right: Sophia Stern, Lydia James, Maddie Birchfield, Maggie Dambro, Sophia Deleonibus, all ’19.
Photo by Mahira Faran

Living in an older house comes with its quirks, though they tend to be oddities that the group embraces. “From my room, I can hear everything that goes on in the whole house,” Dambro said. Other eccentricities of the house include a side door that becomes swollen when it rains, a couple of makeshift bedrooms without closets and some occasionally leaky pipes. “There’s definitely little quirks like that in living in a house like that, and you just figure it out,” James said.

Whether or not the house is haunted remains up to debate. There haven’t been any recent ghost sightings, though there has been a bat who moved in briefly. “I’m just dubious that there are not, not ghosts,” James said.

The house sits on a corner that seems representative of the Grinnell community as a whole. Depending on the direction, anyone who visits it can see downtown, the college campus and a residential area down Broad Street. Living closely in the community is another aspect of the house that its occupants value deeply. “Being in Grinnell is so much easier when I feel like I’m part of Grinnell, not only the college, but also the city,” Birchfield said.

The five friends have found living together to be a positive and rewarding experience. They even consider their home to be more of a compound with the house next door. “This house next door is a bunch of our closest friends, and this property between is very much both of ours,” Stern said.

Although the house undergoes fairly regular rearrangements of its furniture and decorations, the residents are delighted with their home and the cozy environment they’ve created within it.

“We all fell in love with this house, separately and together,” Dambro said.

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