I’ve been in touch with Dick Taylor, who grew up in Alameda during the 1930s. He’s one of the men whose brain I’ve been picking for details on the “old man” who I’ve heard stories about. Dick grew up on Shaver between NE 34th and NE 35th.
A few weeks back I sent him a copy of the Sanborn map of that vicinity from 1924. He kindly added some detail showing who lived where in the 1930s, and where the “old man” lived. Check out the annotated version of the map he sent me back, drawn from memory.
A couple of observations here: Note that the property on the south side of Shaver Street was a victory garden during the 1940s. Interesting too to point out there was an old brick house in the far southeast corner of Wilshire Park that Dick says was torn down. Have a look at his annotated map:
Click on the map for a larger image.
Here’s what Dick says about the “old man:”
He was the neighborhood character and had a reputation for starting fires. Almost everytime we would hear a fire engine, we knew the old man was up to starting a fire. He would always help extinguish it with a large gunny sack he always carried draped over his shoulder. As kids we used to play a game he taught us called “duck on the rock.”
Interesting to ponder the many interesting souls who have walked these streets…
We lived in the house at 4310 NE 33rd in 1947 – 1948.
I remember watching trees being planted in Wilshire Park along 33rd Ave. They would be at least 60 years old now.
I also remember a guy with a tractor made to look like a railroad locomotive. He used to take kids on rides around the neighborhood on an attached trailer. Am I the only one who remembers that?
Hi John. Maybe the trees you saw planted are the maples that line the west end of the park there by 33rd. They’re going strong today. Haven’t heard about the tractor/locomotive. Tell us some more…
I wish I could tell you more about the tractor/locomotive, but I was only four years old at the time. It seems to me that it was painted black with a shaft and piston like arrangement attached to the large back wheel that went back and forth like a locomotive. I think it also had a smokestack and a cab built over the seat to help it resemble a locomotive. The trailer was the coal car. It looked like great fun, but I never got to ride it. My older sisters, whom I asked think I am nuts! They don’t remember this at all.
We are new to 35th Ave. but longtime neighbors told us that the “old Mans place” (the big, 3 story yellow house that recently sold on 33rd) had orchards behind it. Thats why there are 1950s/60s ranch houses on the south side of Shaver from 33rd to 35th Pl. That long plot behind the big yellow house was not developed until much later. You can also spot a number of very old fruit trees around this area. Thanks, great stories!