Sunday, April 18, 2010

This is the story of Morris and Park

While riding back and forth through neighborhoods, the houses and yards and trees are similar noting the time they were built with minor variations. The city grew and spread out tracing worn paths for direction.

These streets were paved giving the city a grid to follow and the streets were given names to guide the traveler.

Early in my neighborhood, the names of the streets were etched in the
cement curbs.

This was very unique, only presenting the name on a few blocks before the process covered over by the ever increasing repaving of the streets.

Street signs were first of iron, sometimes lost in the maze of houses and the ever-increasing traffic.

Lights were added to the top of these green iron columns declaring the location.

As time progressed, a simple pole was established as a marker for an intersection. Green background with white letters for contrast gave the neighborhood its boundaries. The letters became bigger, but the format stayed the same until a few years ago.

Neighborhoods wanted distinction. It began in the Fan District. A sprawling neighborhood constructed after the Civil War to the early 20th century, it is a mish-mash of apartment buildings, row houses, duplexes, and small restaurants, schools and businesses.

The city obliged to give the taxpayers what they requested, designed a new “FAN” street sign. Brown background with white letters and a fan shape design at the top. In a few weeks, the street signs showed this neighborhood was different than others in the city.

Just west of the Fan, the newly declared “Museum District” began its campaign. It wanted to look different.

Again, new street signs were erected, with a blue background and white letters, declaring another special boundary.

But as I traveled through this maze of concrete and asphalt, I found a lonely sight.

Morris and Park. A few blocks from my old university, deep in the Fan District, but the street sign was Green, not brown. I checked the next block, then back again. All the surrounding intersections proudly displayed their brown street signs, but not Morris and Park.

What had this intersection done wrong to not be accepted into the district? Had funds run out and this one intersection had to be designated as just a city street and not part of the club?

Then I looked across the street.

There was another street sign with the words Morris and Park blazon on a brown Fan District background.

This one intersection, with Morris being a dead end into Park had TWO street signs.

I supposed the planners had not taken then into account when printing these new signs.

So one side of the street is in the Fan District, while the other side is merely another city street.

After leaving Morris and Park to its identity crisis, I stumbled upon another anomaly.

Here was Harvie Street. It had started out being a Fan District street as all the others around, but then when it got to Grove Avenue, it wanted to be in the Museum District.

I don’t have a GPS, but I always seem to find my way home.

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