Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Houses They Grew Up In


Obama: Grandpa and Grandma's (Mostly)
Obama never stayed in one place too long as he was growing up. He spent his first six years in his grandparents’ house near the University of Honolulu and then moved to Indonesia for five years with his mother, Ann, and her husband, Lolo Soetoro, whom she married after her divorce from Obama's father. Obama was then sent back to Honolulu to live with his grandparents when he was 10 years old. By then, his grandparents, Toot and Stanley, had moved into an apartment on the tenth floor of a twelve-story high-rise on Beretania Street in Honolulu. The modest unit contained two small bedrooms, a kitchenette, a living room, and a small balcony with glass sliding doors. Obama's mother moved back to Hawaii soon after he did, and they lived together with his half-sister Maya in a small apartment a block from his school. Three years later Ann returned to Indonesia and Obama moved back in with his grandparents.

Romney: The Nice Parts of Detroit
When Romney was born, his parents, George and Lenore, lived in a 5,500-square-foot home at 1860 Balmoral Drive, in Detroit's Palmer Woods section, a neighborhood of elegant homes inhabited by the city's well-to-do. When Romney was 5 years old, the family moved into the by-then ritzier Bloomfield Hills suburb to a large house set on four acres of land. (Nestled among the winding elm-lined roads of Bloomfield Hills is a Romney Road, likely named after Romney's father, who was a three-time governor of Michigan.) Romney would live in the Bloomfield Hills up until he left for college, attending the local and exclusive Cranbrook School. More recently, though, Romney's original childhood home was back in the news, not for its now-famous former residents but for its recent role as a public eyesore. Despite having recently sold for mid-to-high six figures, the home had fallen into disrepair and was ultimately left vacant, becoming part of the city's well-documented urban blight. It was demolished on June 8.


Current Issue
Subscribe to New York

Give a Gift