Streets and Numbers and Municipal Identity

P1050246_1024Have you ever thought about street numbers and how they came to be? If so, check out this article from Preservation in Print’s October 2012 issue, “Addressing Urban Disorder” by Richard Campanella:

The number on your door may seem like a minor part of your municipal identity, but in it are clues to centuries of urban geography and decades of modern city planning. The seemingly simple task of enumerating houses in a consistent and inversally recognized manner took the better part of two centuries for New Orleans to master–and that’s a pretty good record compared to other cities which grapple with it to this day.

Read the rest on page 16.

I guess I’m old school because I prefer cities where street numbers didn’t go through that 911 re-numbering that places like Biloxi did, where they eliminated the West and East and North and South from streets and just started at one end of town and numbered up and up until they hit the other end of town. Jackson’s street numbers work pretty well, and I hope no city planner gets the idea that we need new numbers any time soon.

Categories: Historic Preservation

9 replies

  1. Sounds like it would be interesting…but I’m having trouble navigating it.


  2. Hummm…having trouble as well….per Catherine Tolliver


  3. Can you tell me a little more about what the problem is? Is the link not working or can you not navigate once you get there? Mine is working fine, and I’ve tried it on all three browsers I’ve got: Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.


  4. On the other hand, it doesn’t work on my iPad because the Preservation in Print archives is built on Flash, which Apple refuses to use. Sorry if this is the problem.


  5. No problem navigating the linked document. On the link, up comes a document. At bottom is the to turn the pages. Get to a page, then click on it to zoom in. Then click and drag (hold down left mouse button and move the mouse around) to move the page around to look at it. IE9 used.


  6. If you are having difficulty reading the article click this link. I’ve uploaded the article as a .PDF to this site.


  7. I so agree with the sad renumbering – did they think 7284658 Broad St. was easier to remember than 64 West Broad St?? alas.


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