Sunday, February 02, 2014

Building the Plat

From Google Maps, 2012
Building the Plat

As you read in a previous post, the keeping of the important papers yielded the facts of the beginnings of "The Plat". By the time the development was complete, the plat had a real name but the sign did not go up at one entrance for many years. Believe it or not, the sign you see here is the same one that was erected when I was a child. The base and the bricks have evolved over time, but the rustic 1950s sign remains the same. "The Plat" is really named OakHill Terrace but we called it "The Plat. I wonder what the people who live here today think as they pass by this sign.

A company called Waterman Engineering Company drew up the plans in August 1946. My parents married that next December. My grandparents put the down payment on the finished house at 60 Hill Top Drive sometime in the Spring, probably when they saw an advertisement and when my parents announced they were going to have me. It looks like 18 March, 1947 was the date that the house was put up for sale.

It is recorded in the Land Evidence Records of Cranston in Deed Book 256 on page 299. I may never need to know that but it did remind me that I needed to know more about this type of thing about the house/condo that I now occupy. (I don't own the land here!)

With more research, I discovered the the man who was the contractor of building for my neighborhood changed the name of his business from RI Home Builders, Inc. to Garden City Builders, Inc. sometime after he built "The Plat". 

So, the next step was for me to write down the names of all of the streets around the neighborhood. As you can see from the above graphic collage, I experimented with modern day Google Maps and compared those names with the two earliest city directories (1948 and 1950). This was a fun exercise in geography but, using Google Maps is so fascinating. I kept stopping to look at houses on each street. I took notes about what I couldn't remember. It took a whole weekend.

Try doing this for the house or area where you grew up. Try not to laugh but I didn't remember the cemetery in my neighborhood. I found out why. It wasn't there. It is a relocated cemetery. In RI, the dead move around a lot.


Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

The little house I grew up in is still in our family [since 1952] and my nephew now lives there with his wife & 2 small children.

Midge Frazel said...

I am enjoying the writing and research of my childhood home. I've wanted to do this for a long time. I'd like to writ about my grandparents next but it is exhausting!

Anonymous said...

Hi Midge, I sometimes use Google Earth to look at the neighborhood in Los Angeles where I grew up. In fact, I googled my old address and found that it is for sale (the single home was torn down and condo's built and one of the many units there is for sale). My late grandparent's home is still standing but was remodeled into a commercial building.