If you’re wondering what the heck this post is all about, go to this post first.
Well, I hate to say it, but I think this second part has been a disappointment in some ways. Now don’t get me wrong in any way. I really had no desire, as I wandered through various alleyways, to find myself in the middle of some crime, or stumble upon a body. I already clearly knew that I wasn’t going to encounter that locked off barrier sort of feeling that comes along the alleyways at my oldest daughters residence, but I suppose I had hoped for something– different maybe, something unique perhaps.
What I found was what I suppose most would describe as a common alleyway. Nothing grand, nothing treacherous, nothing really unexpected.
What did surprise though, was that what I thought to be a rather extensive amount of alleyways in this little community really isn’t. I ventured off in mid afternoon and after only about 2-3 blocks from my apartment, I ran out of alleyways. Ultimately, because I was walking and had the time to observe what was happening, I realized that the discontinuation of the alleys also marked a change in housing style.
The alleyways were a feature of the core of this community. By that, I mean the original core neighborhoods within a very specific distance from Main Street. I live on the south side of Main, and the original, historic homes, mostly Craftsman style, only encompass about 2-3 blocks off Main. It was clear very quickly that the neighborhoods further out held homes that were clearly built in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Ramblers, some brick, some conventional siding, most with bigger lots, and none with any alleyways in sight.
I began to realize that the majority of connecting roads, all labeled avenues by the way, opened to this south side of Main. The north side of Main Street is one long connected set of storefronts. Only a very few roads go north from main, at least until you reach the much newer part of town. There is one exception, and that is the land that now holds the high school and athletic fields. Perhaps this space, years ago also held onto the custom of alleyways. I suppose, if I want to really delve into this towns infrastructure, then I’m going to have to do some research on what was situated on the land that now holds this school complex.
It is pretty clear though that this community was created around a central street of commerce and for unknown reasons at this point, grew southward originally. I suspect, knowing what I do about this general area, that anything farther south, the area that now holds all the ramblers, was likely farm land, and perhaps that is what the northern side of Main was utilized for as well, although that side is much farther from the river. The alleyways were an integral part of the early development, but by the time the farmland was being developed, alleyways had likely become a thing of the past.
Anyway, I promised pictures, and I did take a few, but as it turned out each alleyway I traveled was much like the previous or the next. They tend to follow that pattern of gravel laden access for the garbage service. I did run into one rather unique sight, but unfortunately that involved a human person and I really didn’t think they would appreciate my blatantly snapping a picture. Try to imagine a wooden deck, very large, that had been built onto the back of one of those Craftsmen homes. It looked rickety at best, but sitting up on it, and it was probably 20 feet off the ground, was a lady who was lounging and reading. Not too odd, until you notice the very large gargoyle statue perched next to her. We exchanged hello’s and I moved on, but that has to be a story of interest.
So, a few things I saw as I wandered:
The typical look of the alleyways I encountered. About 1/2 and 1/2 as far as fenced off versus open to back yards. There were a lot of stand alone garages as well, many desperately in need of repair-
Then a few slightly more interesting ways to keep one’s privacy intact: a mammoth laurel hedge, and just a small part of what I estimate to be roughly 20 feet of very natural bamboo “fencing”-
A small peak into someone’s garden, and no- this picture does nothing to show you the detail. I was pretty impressed with their agricultural skills. I wasn’t willing to risk getting caught, but they had some pretty impressive carrots growing close to the fence just to the left of this picture…
A few random flowers-
And finally, way up there-perched on the wire, a pair of mourning doves. I hear these doves calling every morning, “Coo-ooo…coo, Coo-oo…coo” Every time that I tried to get closer to get a better picture, off they would fly farther down the alley.
I realized after all this that my apartment site was once the site of a home. the very old, original driveway entrance is still visible along the front avenue. Everyone living on either side of this building, including our tenants, all put their trash out along what once would have been an alleyway, but what now adjoins a public parking lot and the back of the municipal building.
I wonder what my alleyway was like, years ago. I’m going to imagine that it was the grandest one in the entire town.