A favorite pass-time of the cousins, apple fights (above) and taking a break from one (below)
Juan Lopez Galvez, Paco Lopez Tortossa, and Edward Lopez (above). One of the family Dinners in the basement of Casa Librada (below)
Various members of the family in the living room of Casa Librada (ablove and below)
Manuel and LIbrada's great grandson Nicholas Lopez and his sister , Kristen in LIbrada's garden. (above) 20 plus years later, Nicholas holding his neice Kaitlyn in one of the apple trees on the property. (below)
In the 1950s, Manuel Lopez Ruiz and Librada Galvez Lopez purchased lots at the intersection of North Country Road and Adams Ave. The purchase price for these lots was $500.00. The family had the option of purchasing the land between this property and New York Ave for an additional $500.00 but they passed on this option.
Manuel and Librada were living in Park Slope Brooklyn at the time and Manuel was planning to retire to a house to be built on this property. Also prior to this purchase they were familiar with this area because a number of Galvez cousins had purchased lots and were building homes in Sound Beach. They also vacationed in the area staying at a bungalow owned by their daughter and her husband, Anna and Emilio Mellado. The Mellados subsequently built and retired to a house they built on Roanoke Road in Sound Beach.
Casa Librada is Built
Manuel and Librada originally planned to build the home they named Casa Librada as a single story over a full basement. To reduce costs, their sons helped build the basement and a local builder, Miller was hired to construct the house. Almost immediately however, Librada ordered a second story with 4 additional bedrooms and a bathroom to be added. The second story was constructed with the utilities required to create a rental unit. With the continued growth of the Lopez family these additional rooms would be needed for the family.
The house and the addition were built with the WWII mustering out pay of Manuel and Librada's sons Juan and Christopher. The total cost being $5,000. Manuel Lopez Ruiz passed away in 1962 in Alhama de Almeria, Spain. Librada pased away several years later. Juan would live in Casa Librada until 1973.
The Rocks and Evergreens
On North Country Raod, at the start of the walkway leading to the House's front door, a large rock was placed on either side. The rock on the left had "Casa" painted on it and the one on the right "Librada". While faded over time, these labels were still legible more than 50 years later. On either side of the walkway Christopher Lopez Galvez, their son planted evergreen trees that in time grew from 3 to over 30 feet in height. Most if not all these trees were removed in the 1980s because of the danger of them falling in a storm.
Facing Adams Ave and to the left of Casa Librada a large 2 bay garage was built. One bay actually had a pit to facilitate working on a car from below. For a number of years during the 1960s, the garage was used by Manuel and Librada's nephew Christopher Galvez for his auto repair business.
Animals and a Family Farm
Manuel and Librada constructed a Chicken Coop on rear of the property close to Adams Ave and several animal pens to house hunting beagles closer to the house. The family also kept a goat on the property during the 1960s. While the chickens would disappear with Librada's death in the 1960s the family would continue to have beagles at Casa Librada into the new century. When Christopher Lopez Galvez retired to this family property in 1986, Christopher and his son, Manuel Lopez Balles would pay to have the pen's and what remained of the coop demolished in 1986 at a cost of $2,000.
During the last year's of Librada's life, the family put the property to good use planting a corn field close to North Country Road to the left of the garage. Behind the corn other crops including eggplant, cabbage, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and beans were planted.
At various times, family members also subsequently used the property to raise pigeons, horses, sheep, and rabbits.
A Family Home
While the house was rented out for a short period in the early 1980s, Casa Librada has housed various members of the family for almost 60 years. In addition to Juan Lopez, who lived on the house till 1973 various other family members have called Casa Librada home. For example, Maria Lopez Galvez and her husband Pierre Leclercq and their family lived in Casa Librada for a few years during the early 1960s while building their home on Roanoke Road in Sound Beach. In addition, Manuel Lopez Galvez and his family lived in the house for a few years during the 1970s until purchasing a home on Helme Street in Miller Place. Lastly, Christopher Lopez Galvez retired to Casa Librada in 1986 and resided there until 2006 when the property was sold out of the family. Several of Christopher's adult children and their families lived at the house at various times during this period.
The Property Reborn
During the two decades after Christopher Lopez Galvez retired to Casa Librada, there was a rebirth in the role the property played in the Lopez family. In 1990, Christopher's son, Manuel planted hemlocks along the Adams Ave side of the property and Rhododendron along the side of the garage. He also restored his grandmother's rose garden on the Adams Ave side of Casa Librada. Flower beds and several dogwood trees were also planted on the property.
Numerous family parties also took place on the property during this period including several annual "Lopezaluzias". Members of the extended Galvez family attended these get-togethers and frequently visited the family at Casa Librada. For a few years, the family also had an annual yard sale on the property.
Selling the property out of the family in 2006 was controversial within the family to put it mildly..
In October 2009, three Years after the property was sold out of the family, Manuel and Edward Lopez returned to visit Casa Librada. (Right and Far-right)
The family with a few Galvez cousins thrown in , above.
The cousins (grandchildren of Manuel and Librada) in age order, below.
Christopher Lopez Galvez and his family in 1986 when he retired to Casa Librada (above)
A family classic picture, many of the cousins (grandchildren of Manuel and LIbrada) and their children on the stairs in Casa Librada (above)
Members of the family relaxing on a summer afternoon on back patio.(above) It was not unusual to find many members of the extended family eating together at Casa LIbrada. (below)
Librada and Family Movie
Abuelo and Family
Early 1960s Movie at Casa Librada
Christopher Lopez Galvez Moves into Casa Librada in 1986
Summer Party at Casa Librada, 1990s
Family Garage Sale
The Original Lot Map
This map reflects the original plan to build just a one-story dwelling. The reference to the well is because the water for the house originally came from a cistern under the back patio. While the hand pump was removed when town water became available, the cistern or in Spanish, aljibe is still under the patio