Fun on Google Maps

Have you ever sat and looked up old places that you lived or worked on Google Maps? It’s pretty addictive.  When I was very tiny I lived in Detroit, Michigan. My dad worked at one of the big car companies for most of my life, so Detroit was always home. I have lots of memories of the little brick house I lived in from the time I was a toddler until I went to Kindergarten. In my mind it was a nice big house. Of course I was two feet tall at the time, so probably everything seemed nice and big. But after finding it on Google Maps, it was quite the opposite.

Holy cow! It’s teensy! The funniest thing was that the tree in the front yard was very small when we lived there. The trunk was maybe 2-3″ across. I loved to hold on to the trunk and walk around and around. I loved the bumpy feeling of the bark on my hand.  I also used to ride my tricycle around the block as fast as I could. I don’t know whether that was  a normal think for a parent to do: let their child ride around the block without paying any attention to them. Or maybe it was my mom being permissive. That is also entirely probable. We were allowed to go pretty much anywhere alone when I was growing up. (Remind me to tell you about the time I was 11 and decided to ride my bike to the mall . . . on the freeway.)

There was also a store a short walk away. My mom used to send me there to buy milk or bread sometimes. If you want to know how old I am, that right there should tell you. It was at a time when there were still corner stores on lots of blocks. And none of them featured the numbers 7 or 11. And parents would send kids to buy stuff for them. I remember loving this because my mother would also give me a nickel so that I could buy a pretzel stick from the jar next to the register.

Being in Detroit, I remember the store having metal bars on the window. All stores where I grew up did (what can I say, Detroit is a classy place). And like every corner store where I lived they were all liquor stores that also sold a few grocery items. In Detroit these are called Party Stores. Here’s what the store looks like today:

Like I said, classy.

The really fun part of Google Maps is looking at old buildings that are part of family history lore. Now that I’m getting old and more interested in genealogy, I managed to find the address of the house my grandmother grew up in the Finger Lakes area of New York. I searched for it and there it still is!

My grandmother used to tell us how she and her brother would roller skate around the attic and that seemed a little far-fetched until I saw this picture and realized the house has a mansard roof. Pretty cool.

What about you? Have you found any cool things on Google Maps? Do tell!

3 thoughts on “Fun on Google Maps

  1. I’m glad you found our old house. It was actually IN Detroit, a few blocks north of Dearborn! And while you were riding around the block and going to the store, I was sneaking along behind you to make sure you were safe.

  2. I was an exchange student for my senior year of HS in Belgium. On a whim recently, I looked up houses, schools, roads and all sorts of other memories from the tiny towns I lived in on Google maps. Whoa! It was like slowly putting things back together from 25 years ago. So trippy.

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