I love addresses. Yes, I mean postal addresses.
When I was a kid, I lived on a rural route. Old fashioned Route and Box (you know, like Route 1 Box 118).
I terribly envied kid in town not because they lived in town but because they had real live addresses, house number and street. 525 South 2nd. 615 Oak Street.
The ones I really envied lived in bigger towns with sophisticated addresses. You know, the ones like we seem to have all over the place these days, with compass directions-NE, SE, NW, SW. Those sounded good.
When I finally left the small town to move into Salem, we managed to say south of the State Street baseline. Salem's addresses carry the directional as a suffix (19th St SE, Market St NE) and due to the way Salem grew and the way the river runs, there is offically no SW. This was a disappointment, as SW is my very favorite directional.
Not officially, anyway. The Salem address grid extends throughout Marion and Polk counties from a notional origin point which is essentially where State Street and the Willamette River intersect. The NE, N, S, and SE suffixes effect throughout Marion County, but the NW directional, on the Polk county side, seems to give up approximtely at the Independence junction-where State Hwys 51 and 22 come together. The last so-suffixed road seems to be Oak Grove Road NW, which is just west of the highest-numbered street I can find on that side of the River...55th Ave NW.
In case anyone's curious, the highest numbered street on the east side of the Salem grid is in deep-eastside Marion County, some distance east of Stayton. 170th Ave SE. Going east from Salem's eastern boundary, addresses go 10 100-house number blocks to the mile...82nd Ave NE outside of Salem is about 10 miles out from the River, whilst in Portland, NE 82nd Ave is just over four miles east of the River.
Since the universal advent of 911 emergency systems, Rural Route addressing has slowly gone away. I doubt it exists anywhere anymore, at least anywhere of which I'm aware. Emergency services need to find locations quickly, and that just doesn't happen with Rural Routes. There are many ways to do it too. A future rumination on the subject will go on and on drearily about how many ways there are. Not just now tho'.
What got me going about this was thinking about Spokane. I've had a certain fascination with Spokane ever since I was a neat thing and heard they were having a World's Fair in 1974 there (Expo '74, which has left its mark on downtown Spokane in the form of a tram over the Falls and, from what I've been told, a lovely downtown park). I noticed, a long time back, that they had a different take on where the directional goes-as a suffix before the entire address, something I've not seen before and not since.
Now, the Spokane grid is a simple one, cleft in four quarters by the east-west Sprague Avenue and the north-south, aptly named Division Street. Streets and Avenues are either simply N or S or E or W depending. But, as in another town, where a notional address of 3550 on the E half of Sprague Avenue would be written:
3550 E Sprague Ave
In Spokane this would have been written
E 3550 Sprague Ave.
I thought that was so cool.
Alas, that era seems to be over. Some old-timers may still do things in that way, but most publications now use the former, "ordinary" format. Nowadays, everything interesting seems to be being conformed into sameness.
Address Nerd, out for now.