Looking back to childhood places

Bobbys Old House - Philly

Not long ago I was at work and found myself with a little time to kill. I was between projects and didn’t have anything to get started on before getting the answer that was holding me up. While I waited for that answer, I thought I would poke around on the web.

I wound up checking out Google Maps Street View. After looking at a few arbitrary locations, I punched in my childhood address to see what would happen. The first time I tried this, street view wasn’t available for the city block that I lived on. This time, however, I was virtually inserted into my destination.

Before long I was staring at an image of the house I grew up in, and it was depressing. Fond childhood memories became clouded by the Google images of a neighborhood that was literally falling apart. Homes were missing and my old home looked like it wasn’t too far from joining them. Some of the others homes on my block had fallen down over the fifteen years that I’ve been gone.

I moved up and down the street to see the houses of old friends. I was not surprised to see them in the same condition as my old house, if not in worse shape. The corner store that I shopped at as a kid was gone, as was the old mill down the street. All that was left were scattered empty lots surrounded by row homes.

Curious to see how other sections of the neighborhood were holding up, I virtually headed over to visit an old friends house. This one particular friend easily had the nicest house out of all the people I hung out with as a kid. I easily found the house, but it appeared to have began to fall apart when the family I knew moved away.

This house was rather unique and it quickly stood out against the other homes on the block. It was a corner house and due to the way it sat on the lot, there was a car-port just outside the back door. Above the car-port was a large deck which we used to sit out on at night as kids. Sometimes we would sneak a couple of beers up there and have a good time carrying on.

I moved on to check in on the previous homes of other friends and family members only to find them in much the same shape. The neighborhood appeared to be slowly deteriorating and it was a sad sight to see.

Before my family moved out of Philadelphia, things were getting pretty bad. Crime was running rampant and the sounds of gunshots and fighting drug dealers filled the night air. When we moved I wouldn’t accept that the neighborhood was going downhill and resented the fact that my family was exchanging their urban home for a suburban one. Looking back at it all and seeing what has become of the old neighborhood, I can easily see it was the best choice my family could have made.

The image above is what is left of a close friends house. The wooden mass above the gated area is the deck I mentioned. It looks nothing like it used to. In fact, based on my memories, the old deck would have made for a great place to sit with friends and enjoy a cigar and a beer while we got caught up on years past.

Have you ever used the Google maps Street View to see
what n house or neighborhood has become in your absence?

2 comments On Looking back to childhood places

  • I see this all the time! I never lived in a house until I was in the 7th grade, but the apartments i used to live in are now overrun with morons that we should be allowed to shoot so the gene pool doesnt get any more corrupt than it is!

    Deterioration of housing is a no brainer! We have borrowed heavily against our semi-detached house to try and get it fixed up and comfortable, but we would probably only break even if we tried to sell right now. Living in the city would have made it impossible to get a loan to remodel anything to our house due to the low values! If nobody sees what is going on and fixes this problem, there will be a LOT of towns taht turn into slums just because people can not maintain a 50-100 year old house that isnt worth enough to pay for the remodelling work!

    Mike

    memories are fun, but it seems you are doing better where you are now 😉

    • Definitely better off where I am. Seeing where some of my friends wound up in life is a little scary.

      I have no idea when the house I grew up in was built. It is an old neighborhood in Philadephia so I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised to find the houses falling down after all this time. Even so, its still a bit depressing seeing what the old house has turned into.

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