The internet doth giveth, but sometimes you need to turn over some rocks. And get lucky. Today I saw the house my grandparents lived in around 1940… with some help from Google Streetview.

I’d mentioned in yesterday’s winded post on amazing stories about how a blog post about a friend of my grandmother whose paintings I cherished drew a number of comments from Mrs Hammer’s surviving family members. It was one comment that got my cogs moving during lunch today. Her daughter Phyllis wrote

Wonderful! Wonderful! Given more time, I think my mother might have gained some fame. My husband and I loved your sensitive blog about Nanny (Gert). Our parents were neighbors on Barrington Rd across from Garrison Jr. High school .

I vaguely remember my Mom referring to “the house on Barrington”) as one where my Dad grew up, having moved to Baltimore from New Jersey. In my Mom’s audio story where she retold how she met him, I heard her say he came from his home on “Garrison Avenue” but I recall that was a later home his family lived in.

I had been thinking it would be easy to find Garrison Jr High School in Google Maps and wondered about seeing the houses on Barrington Road. And there it all is:

My Dad’s Neighborhood?

Indeed, Barrington Road is right across the street for the school. And maybe it was the house my Mom referred to, as Barrington Road is just off of Garrison Blvd, a major thoroughfare, and likely how she referred to the location. I can also see it’s close to Forest Park High School where maybe they both attended (Dad was maybe 3 years ahead).

But could I find the exact house? I went down Barrington Road in Google Street view and saw the houses across the street from the school. Quite a few.

I went back to the Google and tried to find references to my Grandfather (Abraham H Levine and Barrington) but came up short. The closes was a 1940 census record (which had his name and my grandmother’s name) of which you only see a portion for free because its locked behind Ancestry.com. I once before paid for that a few months, and remembered that I saved some family documents I had found.

I had the address all the time, as I had found there a copy of my Grandfather’s draft card!

My Grandfather’s draft card

The timing suggests Abraham filled out this card in 1940, likely with the Essex Street address where they lived in Newark. In another audio clip of my grandmother’s stories she mentioned they moved to Baltimore in September, 1941 because the construction company her husband worked for (the Aufderheide-Aragona, Co, only web remnants are case law references) got a contract to build the Fort Howard Hospital in Baltimore (most web references are to listings as abandoned places, but it does have a long history as a strategic fort, Douglas MacArthur was based there for a while). Still I did find anything in granny’s stories that mentioned this address, but there on the card, it has been written likely because the family had moved to Baltimore, but they were unsure if they would stay?

There is a bit of voice in the machine as I am looking at my grandfather’s hand writing on the card. And a bit sobering to think at age 35 he had to register for the WWII draft (he was not called).

So there is the exact address of where they lived– 4013 Barrington Road, Baltimore (map link). He gave me the address! Then I was able to find the exact house in Street View:

The house in Baltimore where my Dad grew up

These are good sized homes and look (from what I can see) like they are in okay shape. I cannot see more than from the street.

For a bit more not really related interest, from previous experience I know you can see photos from different time periods- not that from 2007 to 2019, the same red truck is parked in front of the house. That tells me (or I want to hear) someone is taking good care of it.

I can see this home my Dad’s family lived in, but I don’t have much more. I mean, it was fun to play internet detective, but given that all the people who know the story are gone, well I have just ghosts of a story.


Featured Image:

Seeking Something
Seeking Something flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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