Rob Littlefield discovered the Meadowbrook Acres addition about a dozen years ago and bought a “ridiculously cheap” 1923 cottage that had once been a summer cabin for Belle Isle Park.
Around the same time, Chesapeake Energy Corp. also discovered in Meadowbrook Acres street after street of tempting, underdeveloped residential property adjacent to its expanding corporate campus.
Evidence of how the residents of Meadowbrook Acres have become good neighbors with the big energy company will be on display Sunday as Littlefield's home and four other homes and gardens will be open to visitors in the Meadowbrook Acres Home Tour.
The Meadowbrook Acres home tour is open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, with tickets available for $10 from Savory Spice Shop at 4400 N Western Ave., or for $12 at any of the tour stops.
Littlefield, a carpenter, said he knew he was looking at an “ongoing project” when he bought his property at 1148 NW 56.
“The yard was half an acre of trash, toilets, tires and more trash. I couldn't even get a mower through it,” he said.
Littlefield lived in a tent as he tackled the challenge of making the 800-square-foot house livable, removing debris and carving an urban jungle into what is now a whimsical garden retreat.
As his home came to life and he became invested in the neighborhood, Littlefield noticed that properties around him were being snatched up by Chesapeake Energy.
Concerned about being swallowed up or surrounded, Littlefield invited both his neighbors and Chesapeake representatives to meet in his postage-stamp-size living room.
“Forty of us showed up to that first meeting,” Littlefield said, “and the Meadowbrook Acres Neighborhood Association was born.”
The association's request to be involved in Chesapeake's acquisition and development plans for streets south of NW 58 led to a contract with the energy giant.
“They agreed to a 15-year moratorium on property purchases south of NW 58 and we agreed not to protest current Chesapeake development” adjacent to Meadowbrook Acres, Littlefield said.
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