The histories of our streets reveal aspects of the neighborhood, such as who built it, where the money came from, and how it was developed later.
The names give a wealth of clues about the capitalist men who had a stake in the real estate speculation project that was the beginning of the neighborhood in 1890. Some of these clues have been lost, as the City changed several of the names in the years that followed. Those new names have stories of their own. I am telling these stories in detail in a series of articles on Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project:
- The Streets of Sunnyside, Part One: Melrose, McCarthy, and the L.A. Connection
- The Streets of Sunnyside, Part Two: From Baden to Hamburg – A Neighborhood Built on German Beer
- Yet to come: Tales of Joost, Flood, Edna, and the wilds of Acadia and Congo.
Street Number Changes
On the long (east-west) blocks in Sunnyside, numbering has changed significantly over the decades, sometimes more than once. When the blocks were first laid out in 1891, the numbering of houses was begun in the assumption that there would be numbers X00 to X50 per block (now it is X00 to X99). The builders of those few houses in the early decades appeared to have chosen their own numbers. To clarify what happened see maps below–note numbers of highlighted houses.
The biggest overhaul of numbering happened during a massive tidying up of numbers and names that the City instituted in 1909. Here is a report on this event.
So in our neighborhood original numbers can be markedly different from the current ones. In the post on the first provisional school I noted how the address of the cottage where the school was housed was originally 115 Flood Ave, but was then changed to 143. Without taking this phenomenon into account, and checking property maps for the actual position of lots and houses, it is quite possible to make mistakes about who lived in which house during the early years when doing research.
In addition this, there was a serious lag between changes that the City made and people actually adopting the new name or number. On the 1900 Census some people on Hearst Avenue are still using its old name, Moulton Avenue, five years after the City had changed it, while others had adopted the new name. Even though Sunnyside Avenue was changed by fiat to Monterey Blvd in 1920 by the City, various people living on that street still used the old name for years to come. (It was not a popular change amongst Sunnysiders.)