Two-car garages were all the rage when J.W. Mashburn began building homes in 1960, his Olympic hopes sidelined by injury a few years earlier.
Mashburn earned a gold medal in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in the 1,600-meter relay and led Capitol Hill High School to state championships before that, but a torn Achilles tendon brought the swift-footed Mashburn to a dead halt.
During the long and tedious recovery, he began selling real estate. By the time his Olympic teammates flew to Rome in summer 1960, Mashburn had already embarked on a whole new career building homes.
“Back then about everything we did was a two-car garage,” he recalled. “Then the three-car came along and there were a certain percentage of people out there who wanted a three-car garage. Surprisingly enough, though, there are a pretty good percentage of people today that build two-car.”
About 60 percent of the homes in Mashburn's Cascata Lakes have two-car garages, estimated his son Jesse Mashburn, a builder. “That was the target range anyway,” he said.
On the south side, homes in The Gates at Legacy are loaded with features, as Tony McGrew, sales manager, points out: maple cabinets in the kitchen with granite countertops, open floor plans that can be tweaked to a buyer's needs, enormous amounts of storage and all in a neighborhood secured behind two gates.
In some of the homes, though, what may be the best feature isn't even in plain sight. But for anyone who has held their breath as they hauled Christmas decorations down a rickety ladder from their attic, the simple set of stairs behind a simple door represents a leap huge forward — or maybe upward.
“Instead of the old pull-down ladder, you actually have a set of stairs,” McGrew said as he pulled open a door. “They're fixed, so you can just walk up to the attic.”
Mashburn Homes is carving The Gates out as a 35-home enclave of The Legacy near SW 134 and S May Avenue with homes starting around $210,000. It's a quiet area of south Oklahoma City that still offers some tranquility even with the busiest parts of the metro area, Moore and Norman, just a short drive away. A lot of things are a short drive away.
“We're within a mile of 36 holes of golf, a lighted walking trail plus a brand new emergency room,” Jesse Mashburn said.
Mashburn Homes is busy building in both northwest and southwest Oklahoma City. Cascata Lakes and The Villas at Cascata Lakes — two separate neighborhoods — lie down just down SW 134 from The Legacy. Glenhurst and The Villas at Glenhurst are both near NW 122 and MacArthur Boulevard while Riverbend is near NW 58 and Council Road.
Each neighborhood has its own personality and draws its own mix of buyers. The Gates, for example, is pulling in a mix of empty-nesters and young couples with and without children, Jesse Mashburn said, “whereas as the one up north is almost exclusively empty-nesters. We can't sell a three-car garage up there. But we haven't sold a two-car here yet.”
Mashburn developments may offer a lesson in rolling with the times and keeping up with what buyers want — possibly even figuring that out even before they do. Security and low maintenance are high on buyer wish lists these days, and The Gates offers both.
They're in the planning stages for Cascata Estates, which will go in near Cascata Lakes and will take the security angle an extra step by installing a single entry-exit gate.
But they all have their selling points. Riverbend's homes are scattered along five lakes, a green belt winds through The Legacy and the Villas at Cascata Lakes is just across May Avenue from Moore's Wayland Bonds Elementary School.
The school, J.W. Mashburn said, has proved to be a huge draw.
“I had a builder come in yesterday and buy a lot in Cascata simply to get his daughter into the Wayland Bonds school,” he said. “A lot of people have done that.”