A plaque from the Texas Historical Commission notes the significance of Avion Village.


Craig Civale reports.

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GRAND PRAIRIE - A lot has changed over the past 70 years but you wouldn't know it, if you walked into Avion Village in Grand Prairie.

In 1941, when World War II was in its second year, the federal government was quickly building 300 homes for workers from the old North American aviation plant.

H.H. Freeman bought the first share.

"Fifty-five minutes, the house was finished, and one hour and five minutes they took a picture of a woman in the bathtub taking a bath," he said.

The entire development was completed in 100 days, but no one was allowed to buy their home. Residents mutually owned them, each person buying one share of stock in the private company that later operated it.

"The history of Avion Village is really remarkable," added Jo Nita Freeman.

Nobody knows that history quite like the Freemans, who purchased the first share of stock, when it went on sale in the 1940s and still have the receipt to prove it.

The entire development was completed in 100 days.

Harold Freeman is 97 and still lives in the house with his wife; from the outside, it still looks the same as it did decades ago.

For that matter, so does every other home in Avion Village.

"All the houses are white siding, black shutters, all the same height, flat roofs," said shareholder Rick Walton.

The village's bylaws don't allow any changes to the outside of the home, and the village's board - similar to today's homeowners' associations - has the final say on who can live there.

Though it's physically located in Grand Prairie, Avion Village buys its own electricity and water and maintains its own streets and fire hydrants.

It is a community within a community, at a cost that's also a blast from the past.

"The price is unbelievable," said Rick Walton.

Unbelievable because for about $350, you not only live in your home, but that amount also takes care of your electricity, your water, taxes, your maintenance on the home and your streets - just about everything you need to live.

It's also one of the main reasons the village has a waiting list hundreds deep of those wanting to live there.

It's a 70-year-old experiment that's still working in Grand Prairie.


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