Look beyond the overhang and new facade of the 434 Animal Hospital, squint a little bit, and you can clearly see the outline of an old farm house. It was built as a farmhouse in 1922 by Oscar Frain with his young wife Nancy Hooker Frain. Nancy was born in 1895 on the old Hooker Homestead (near Milwee Middle) and lived until 1985. Oscar was much older than Nancy, having been a friend of her father, and he died in 1944 at 87-years old.
Then six-year-old Spencer Whitehead, who is related to early pioneers the Hooker family, moved into the old cracker-style house in 1946. Oscar Frain was his grandfather. Spencer still lives on the back side of the property with his wife Janet. The sleepy pioneer town of Longwood gradually grew up. The narrow country road they lived on got busier and busier… and wider and wider… eventually becoming Highway 434. Imminent domain claimed the front yard of the home bit-by-bit, and the front porch was removed in one such widening project.
Spencer’s father, Clyde, decided he just couldn’t sleep with all the noise! They sought refuge on the backside of the 7-acre dairy farm between 434 and Maine Avenue, building a new home there in 1964 and selling off the front parcel.
The 1964 home and the one next door, built in 1973, were still homes in the Whitehead family until 2022. The wrecking balls came in and tore down those homes and built apartment complexes on the old pasture land. The original home still exists as 434 Animal Hospital, which was run by Dr. Elhers until he retired in 2023.