Magnolia Gardens Celebrates 50 Years with Street Festival

By Lynn Jones – Hundreds of family friends, neighbors gathered at the 12th annual Magnolia Gardens neighborhood celebration. A key focus of the festival is to celebrate the past while instilling a sense of community and pride in the youth attending.

Vendors, non-profits and other local organizations lined the northside’s Begonia Street – the epicenter of Magnolia Gardens. The annual street festival bestows awards on neighbors and community agencies that have made contributions to the Magnolia Garden community.

The neighborhood is unique because many of the homes were built with in a short time frame: 1940 – 1969.

This was a busy tine in America for home construction.  After the end of World War II, as GIs came home, bought newly built homes on the edges of cities with the help of the GI Bill and began their families. The Magnolia Gardens housing era coincides with the ‘Baby Boom’ generation (1945 – 1964) and many Boomers grew up in homes built in this era. What is so interesting about the Magnolia Gardens neighborhood is that an incredible 85.3% of the homes here were built in this era.

The honorees for this year’s event was Annie Bodison. Bodison, a 50 year resident of the neighborhood passed away in 2017. She was a supporter of the block party since its inception and was a well know community trustee. Also honored was Annie Mae Williams who still lives in Magnolia Gardens. Every year the block party if held in front of the homes of Bodison and Williams on Beginia Street. Shown are Magnolia Gardens former residents Wanda Jones and co-organizer Robert “Bubba” Flournoy with her award in recognition of her mother Annie Bodison.

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