Sunday, May 12, 2013

A House That Used to Be

The houses that once surrounded Promenade Hill have become the stuff of legend. We read the descriptions of them in the 1970 National Register nomination. We see them in the background of old photographs of the historic park. We catch glimpses of them in the 1959 film Odds Against Tomorrow, as the character played by Ed Begley waits impatiently on Promenade Hill for his carefully planned bank heist to go down. Until recently, this 1970 photograph provided the clearest documentation--to Gossips' knowledge, at least--of the houses along the north edge of Promenade Hill.

Last week, Pamela Mixa-Cranna sent Gossips this amazing picture, from a family collection of photographs, of the house that stood at the west end of this row of houses--right out on the bluff overlooking the river.

The National Register of Historic Places nomination describes the house, which had the address 16-18 West Prison Alley, in this way:
Two and three-story wood dwelling, flat roof, bay windows, bracketed cornice, peaked roof over tower, bracketed entranceways.
Mixa-Cranna describes it in this way:
The house belonged to Mrs. Pula; she lived on the top right floor. My grandparents and aunts and uncles (Himmel) lived in the bottom right apartment. When my father and mother married (Mixa), they moved into the bottom left apartment. The car belonged to my Uncle Ray.

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