Regular readers will remember our recent post about the mystery of Crane Street, that interesting short and narrow road that disappears weirdly into a fence along the eastern curb line of NE 21st Avenue, and then re-emerges briefly in vestigial pieces a few blocks east on NE 24th. It’s a fascinating story of dueling subdivision plats, activist neighbors and the redrawing of maps.
Recently, we heard from neighbors along the street who knew something interesting must have happened, but weren’t quite sure what. Here’s a note from Joel Schipper on NE 24th:
We were thrilled to see your story on Crane Street — that’s our driveway/curb in the two pictures in the blog. We’ve seen the writing in the concrete before, and in the four years we’ve lived in this house, we’ve discovered the remaining bit of Crane street over between 19th and 21st. But we never knew the whole story — so thank you!
As a bit of ‘extra info,’ when we moved in, we found that this driveway shared with our neighbor, was essentially useless in that neither of could drive an SUV, sedan, or truck up it without scraping on the bottom, unless we essentially went up at a 45 degree ‘sideways’ angle. So the ‘newish’ looking concrete in the picture is our collaborative hiring of a contractor to re-contour the driveway — after how many years? Since 1924, which would be soon after this portion of Crane Street disappeared? Both of us then had to rebuild our side walls — ours is pictured, and we hope this Spring to cover it from the bottom up with a climbing ‘native’ plant (Yarrow?), and with a spilling native — Kinickinick is already planted.
One last tidbit … two years ago on “National Night Out” in August, we hosted a block gathering on what was billed as the “Ghost of Crane Street,” a BBQ in the wide driveway. We had neighbors who had lived on the block nearly 30 years and had never met each other! And most were unaware of the Crane Street “driveway.”
We think it’s so cool how history has brought these neighbors together like never before, and that the ghost of Crane Street is alive in imaginations.
Right now we’re working on the mystery of Laura Avenue, the street that disappeared from use after Elwood Wiles and Company had already set the name in stone in the grid of Alameda street names. What was all that about? Who was Laura? Who suggested Edgehill?
Inquiring minds want to know.