Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Neighborhood

I live in the East End of a North West city.  It's an original neighborhood, platted in the 1860s, when our city was a warehouse/garden community for one of our much wealthier, gold-mining cities.  So the blocks are short and the trees are old.  Downtown is 10 minutes away if you are driving, 15 minutes if you are walking.  That proximity makes our land values on the high side.

We are eight blocks from the river, a block and a half from the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains.  You can see the tree line on the mountains, the dividing line between the mountains and the Great Basin, which is mostly dessert, stretching from here to Baja.  So do the mountains.

There was real money to be made here, and some of that is still evident.  Our movie theater downtown is an  art deco treasure.  It was a town of churches and a synagogue and women, which beget a lively, artsy social life, a civilizing factor.  Although the downtown tour guides will point out which blocks housed the brothels. Our city hall is on one of them.  We're sorta proud of that wayward history.

Some parts of our neighborhood have sidewalks, some of it doesn't.  I was really impressed with a guy who planted  his whole back yard in cherry trees, green beans, and squash until I ran into a garden this morning that occupied the whole front yard.

The architecture varies.  We have really modern pieces,  all angles and glass, some houses with Frank Lloyd Wright influences, a lot of bungalows, and a few very large suburban homes now.  We also have a handlful of those half-lot wide, lot-long houses, constructed for new families and retirees. Those are beautifully kept, painted rust brown, olive green, and brick red.  There are roses everywhere. I walked by one family home, a tiny, turn-of-the century cottage where the quarter-block garden was spent, except for the black-eyed  Susans.  Another charming cottage down the block was renovated with beautiful shingles and siding that were varying shades of taupe, right next to a vintage home, that was keenly in need of a similar update.  You sorta get the picture.

We're a community of thinkers, with more liberal notions.  There are lots of musicians, singers,
writers, community leaders, athletes, world travelers,  and people who know their way around a computer.  We walk and cycle every day.  There are families,  lots and lots of families.


  1. Great post! Compelling neighborhood "snapshot". Enjoyed the history, too, to put things in context.

  2. Thanks, Mary. Your birthday lunch was fun. Hope all is well with you and Norm. B.

  3. It was a fun birthday lunch! Thank you so much for everything! xxoo
    Mr. N and I are doing fine. We will, however, be better when the temps cool down a little. Hope you had a wonderful Sunday :-)

  4. It was a good day. Our new pastor is turning out to be a keeper. Fondly, Barb