Clovis builder’s designs still prevalent

By Don McAlvy: Columnist

With World War II over, the temporary Santa Fe Heights apartments at 14th and Thornton streets had come to an end. The occupants at the Santa Fe Heights started looking for homes they could afford.

It wasn’t long until they found a man who had come out of the war in 1946 and had built up Clovis’ largest contracting business for the construction of new homes. That man was Jack M. Stagner.

He started business in Clovis as a dealer in building materials, including lumber, sash and doors. It wasn’t long until he figured he could build reasonable-size homes better and quicker, as the demand for homes then was phenomenal. Clovis was growing, the 1950s were some of the best years.

Stagner was erecting flat-top homes in the north end and west end of town in sort of an assembly-line fashion. They looked like adobe-style homes with those flat roofs and rounded plastered corners. Home seekers ate up these affordable homes. The idea for windows framed in metal with a crank to open and shut them was really a good thing.

On June 20, 1954, Stagner advertised in the Clovis News Journal an “Open House” for the public to visit his homes, all flat-roofed ones, in the Triangle Division at the west end of West Seventh Street, and the Stagner Addition that abutted Tierra Blanca on the north end of Clovis on both sides of Main Street. Many occupants of the SF Heights purchased these homes that sold between $7,000 and $9,000, depending on the number of bedrooms. One-bedroom homes sold for $7,000, a two-bedroom home for $8,000 and three-bedroom homes sold for $9,000. Try to buy a three-bedroom home today for that price. Haven’t times changed?

Some of the owners said the thing wrong with those flat-roof houses, when they got older, was they leaked.

Not all of them leaked of course, and there are still today many more homes with flat roofs than sloped or gabled roofs.

You can drive up and down the streets where the Stagner homes were built and see today where a lot of the homeowners had sloped roofs put on their homes. All of the Stagner homes were cozy-looking homes, and I know of one woman in Clovis who continues to live in her flat-topped home, ever since 1954. And she is tickled to death with it.

Jack Stagner was almost a born native of Clovis, but happened to be born in Bovina on March 30, 1920. His folks were John H. and Cordie (Chapman) Stagner, both natives of Texas. Mr. Stagner was born in 1882 and had been a farmer and rancher and a building contractor too. They moved to Clovis in 1933.

Jack had completed his schooling in Bovina and as soon as he could he went to work for the Santa Fe Railroad in 1940. He worked for the railroad until 1943 when he entered the Army and was assigned to the 33rd Division.

He spent most of the remaining years of the war in the Pacific and was involved in the liberation of Luzon.

Jack’s father died on July 12, 1959. Jack Stagner died on Aug. 15, 1985.