Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Memory Tour of Huntsville (1)

In July 2018 my brother Richard and I did a "memory tour" of Huntsville places we remembered from growing up in the city. These included previous homes, schools and other sites. We drove around for several hours on a Saturday and Sunday. Mom went along on the first day. Details are below and in a second blog post.

Of course, some of the old haunts are gone: El Palacio, The Mall, Heart of Huntsville Mall, Shoney's, A Good Book Store, etc, etc....Well, a LOT of the old haunts are probably gone...You can find information and photos of most of those places at the wonderful rabbit hole, Huntsville Rewound

You can read the second post about this tour here.

So, forward to the past...

This house is located at the corner of Lincoln Street and Eustis Avenue, facing Lincoln, in downtown Huntsville. In 1954 when dad got a job as a civilian employee with the U.S. Army at Redstone Arsenal, he moved from Gadsden to Huntsville and boarded in this house for several months until mom and I joined him. 

The house has been nicely restored like so many in this part of the city.

When we moved to Huntsville in 1954, the town was booming. For about a year or so we lived in Redstone Park in Farley, which was a housing project built for use in World War II. In January 1956 the Army purchased the property for $8,911.50 and returned it to military use. We moved into the new development around Cloverdale Drive in 1955.  

We went by the Cloverdale house on Saturday, so mom was along for that portion of the tour. When we stopped in front of the house, a young man in his twenties must have seen us and came out to check on us. We explained we had once lived in the house and were just driving through the old neighborhood. He said his family had been there since 2000 and asked when we lived there. We told him from 1955 until about 1960. His response? "Wow!"

Some time back I did a post on the subscription to children's magazine Jack and Jill that we had while living on Cloverdale. Going through a batch of these I noticed two different address numbers for the house over the years. You can read the details at "Cloverdale Drive, 'Jack & Jill' & Me"

Here I am with dad holding younger brother Richard in the front yard of the Cloverdale Drive house in 1959. The neighborhood has changed a lot from this time when there were only a few shrubs and small trees around the houses. You can see more photos here, and my blog post on the great February 1958 snowfall is here

When we lived on Cloverdale Drive I attended Morris Elementary School, which is now Morris P-8

On Sunday Richard and I headed out for part two of the tour. We started in our old neighborhood of Lakewood in northwest Huntsville just off Memorial Parkway. 

In the 1960's I went to Cub & Boy Scouts at what was then a Presbyterian church just up the hill from our house. To the right behind the big tree you can see one end of a long building. 

Our house was on Lakeview Drive on the left as you start down the hill. A gentleman was sitting on the porch, so we didn't want to be too intrusive. 

We moved to 4606 Lakeview Drive in 1960; here's what the house looked like about that time. You can see some family photos taken inside the house and one of the back in the early days here

Here's the view today down Lakeview Drive just past our old house. I sure don't remember all those trees when we were riding bikes down that hill!

The field of dreams below our old elementary school doesn't seem to have changed much. 

Here are the front entrance and sign for Lakewood Elementary School at 3501 Kenwood Drive NW. Gee, I wonder how many times I went through those doors? Richard did that even more times than I did. I didn't start here until third grade, but he did all of elementary school in this building. You can read a history of the school which opened in September 1959 here

When I was in the 5th grade at Lakewood I was one of the "patrol boys" who helped young students on and off buses and out of other vehicles to make sure they made it through the front door. We got to wear helmets and sashes and thought we looked pretty cool.

A perk of this program was the free movies. The downtown Lyric Theatre would let us in for free on Friday after school, so we watched about any movie playing. Oddly, the only one I remember at the moment is the Jack Lemmon and Carol Lynley vehicle, Under the Yum Yum Tree. We probably didn't appreciate much of this "sex comedy" based on a Broadway play. 

Sadly, the Lyric closed in December 1978 and burned in January 1982.   

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