Thursday, December 29, 2011

First Year Anniversary Post: From Scheduled Weekly to Event-Driven Posts in 2012 (103)

Looking back over a year of posts on this blog, I have decided to move from a schedule of making weekly (or more) posts to one of posting mostly when ‘hood events prompt them.

I will, though, maintain a minimum of two posts a month, creating at least 25 posts in 2012--as opposed to the 103 logged this first year.

About one post each month will be on and/or by the Old North Neighborhood Association. This leaves another dozen or so that I will do that may or may not be event-driven.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The City of Davis Water Tower At 616 D Street (102)

From the later ‘10s to the early ‘70s, the water tank/tower pictured to the right (image 1) stood on the rear portion of the lot at 616 D Street.

It was easily the tallest, most conspicuous, and perhaps most dramatic structure in Davis for a very long time.

Such features may help explain why the photo of it seen in Image 1 is the face-half of a postcard, the address half of which is also reproduced in this post. (Image 2)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Faded Tomato With a Tattered Plaque at the Davis Co-op: ON Public Art Series #2 (101)

In front of the Davis Co-op on July 11, 2000, Gerald Heffernon’s sculpture “Portrait of a Plump Tomato” was dedicated by the mayor of Davis and the Davis Arts Commission. Two moments in this event are shown in images 1 and 2.*

As is also clear in images 1 and 2, the “plump tomato” sculpture was a bright and vibrant red.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The 2011 Old North Leaf Fall Begins, Nov. 19-20 (98)

The Old North is blessed with a robust “urban forest” (aka “a lot of trees”).

Our predecessors planted that forest and we bask in their legacy.

This last weekend--Saturday-Sunday Nov. 19-20--the great yearly fall “leaf fall” began in earnest.

Walking one of my dogs on some Old North streets Monday evening, November 21, I was impressed that the avalanche of leaves on sidewalks of the previous two days was by and large swept up.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The 5th Street No-Man’s-Land (95)

One of the pleasures of being a dog walker is that I ramble the Davis streets often and on foot. This means that I see close-up places some others only glimpse from a speeding car.

Because I live in the Old North, one area I see closely is the north side of Fifth Street from F to Miller.  Although almost a half mile long, it contains only ten residences. The greatest portion of it consists of three block-long stretches belonging to a church, a school district and the city government.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Turkey Trot Soft Language Masks Hard Towing Threat (94)


The November 6th flyer from the Davis Turkey Trot organizers some of us received says:
“. . . we ask that each of the residents please refrain from parking on 6th Street between C and E Street from 6:00am to 9:15am.”

Responding to the November 6th post on this event on this blog, Dan Quickert observed:
“that parking restriction appears from the wording to be optional . . . “

Well, Dan, we now know the reality.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Google Earth Finally Changes “Old Davis North” to Old North Davis (93)


Readers of this blog will recall that last April and May some of us participated in an effort to get Google Earth to change its erroneous name “Old Davis North” to the correct Old North Davis. (These postings are listed in image 2.)

Time has gone by and it looked like our efforts affected Google maps but not Google Earth.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why is the G Street Shop Strip Vacancy Rate So High? (92)


The closing of the Sweet Briar bookstore in the G Street strip of shops draws attention to the wider phenomenon of business closings there.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Davis Turkey Trot To Use Old North B, C, E Streets November 19th (91)

The flyer posted here appeared on my porch Sunday, November 6. It informs Old North people that a number of them will not be able to use the street in front of their houses for some periods on November 19th. Going by past Turkey Trot events, it also means that  out-of-town crowds will be ever-more visible over larger portions of the Old North.

Reconfigured Old North Homes Number Two: 507 F (90)

Before, View 1
This is the second in a series of posts in which I describe “historic period” Old North homes that have been “reconfigured “ (redesigned? remodeled?).  620 D was the first home in the series. It is post 40, published July 8, 2011.

507 F was built in 1917. Three views of it “before” are shown here as: Before, View 1; Before, View 2; and Before, View 3.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Refurbished 503 E Street Is Now For Rent (89)

503 E Street, the historic Asmundson home at E & 5th St. built in 1923, has recently undergone a quite significant process of refurbishment and is now ready to rent.

As a person living on 503 E’s faceblock, I am of course interested in who the new neighbors might be. I hope a notice on this blog might bring 503 E’s availability to the attention of people who are familiar with and appreciative of the Old North.

The rental posting for the house reads:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Is Old North Davis a “Walker’s Paradise?” (88)

The other day I encountered a curious and interesting website called “"--which is here:

As image 1 shows, you are invited to type in an address. In seconds it produces a “walk score” for that location.

I first tried the neutral address of 600 6th street and it popped out the score of 89, which it labeled “Very Walkable.” (Image 2)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The “Davis Neighbors Night Out” Program Preaches to the Choir & Neglects the Main Problem (85)


What follows is a copy of a letter I sent to City and UCD officials who organize the “Neigbhors Night Out” event.

To: Davis Neighbors Night Out Organizers (DNNO): Stacey Winton, City of Davis; Michele Reynolds, City of Davis Police Department; Gary Sandy, UC Davis

From: John Lofland, 523 E Street, Davis, CA 95616

Re: DNNO Falling Short

Dear DNNO Organizers:

I write to identify a key way in which Davis Neighbors Night Out falls short and to suggest a remedial line of action.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Addendum to the 5th Street Rehab Post, #80 (84)

DavisWiki photo

Since posting a note on rehab work on 5th St (#80, October 2), someone suggested to me that the work being done at 503 E might be the ironic consequence of the fact that the place was used as a “show house” for some two decades.

That fact meant that from a few dozen to a couple of hundred people packed the place and milled about in it several times a month year-after-year.*

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Council Candidate Brett Lee Out-Front on Neighborhood Quality-Of-Life Issues (83)

1. Brett Lee neighborhood quality-of-life planks

This last week, Brett Lee became the first announced candidate for the 2012 City Council election.*

I think his initially issued eight-plank platform is especially interesting from a neighborhood quality-of-life point of view.

That interest is generated by the fact that two of the eight planks focus on those issues--and do so in a positive way to boot.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Old North "Neighbors' Night Out," This Sunday, 4-6 pm (82)

Old North “Photo Map” Now a Slide-Show On This Blog (81)

For reasons I no longer remember, after I published Old North Davis in 1999 I was moved to devise a “photo map” companion to it.

This was a set of four tabloid-size sheets  (11 by 17 inches) folded into a booklet that showed each Old North building with some additional information, such as year built (when known).

The three photos show it folded and open.

It has proven to be physically ungainly and in order to make it more accessible and useful I have chopped the four tabloid sheets into eight letter-size pages and made them into the slide-show now running in the right side-bar of this blog.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rehab Projects on 5th Street (80)


I am pleased to observe that the owner of the building at the northwest corner of D Street and the owner at the same corner of E Street have been performing quite visible rehabilitation work there recently.

The D street building--Newman House--has received a new roof as well as other carpentry work involving the windows. Some of this is shown in images 1 & 2.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is Neighbors’ Night Out a Futile, “Feel Good” Exercise? (79)

Davis Enterprise, 9-21-11

So we are coming up on the sixth year of Neighbors Night Out parties. These are, of course, those government-sponsored and organized gatherings designed to “keep the peace” between students and longer-term residents in Davis neighborhoods.

I suppose the central question about them is: Do they make any difference? It is difficult to know, of course, since properly done evaluations have not, to my knowledge, been conducted.

Lacking such evaluations, I can only report my own experience in attending these gatherings and the reports of other attendees.  My main observation is that virtually no members of the targeted population--students new to a neighborhood--actually show up.*

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Parade on Old North's C, 6th & B Streets This Friday (78)

According to press reports, the Davis Senior High School's "Homecoming Parade" will move north up our C Street, turn west on 6th, and north on B mid-day this Friday, September 23rd.
Davis Enterprise, September 21, 2011

DDBA "Blast." See DDBA's correction, after the jump

Minutes of the August, 2011 ONDNA Meeting (77)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dennis Dingemans Commended For Neighborly Spirit (75)

Davis Enterprise, 9-15-2011
The September 15th issue of the Davis Enterprise prints a letter by Old North resident Elisabeth Sherwin commending our neighbor Dennis Dingemans for his work rehabilitating bikes for Davis newcomers.  

Elisabeth reports an important aspect of Dennis’ work, but this is, in fact, but a small part of the larger picture of his civic spirit.

That larger picture is that Dennis is a virtual whirlwind of community-minded  physical contributions and participation. To mention only a few matters I know about, he is a mainstay on the Boards/core groups of the Davis Cemetery, * the Yolo County Historical Society, the Hattie Weber Museum, and the ONDNA.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Neighborhood Traffic Calming, by Steve Tracy (74)


It looks like we need to rally around one more time.  There are three things that we should speak to before the Planning Commission this week:  Traffic calming to slow down cut-through speeding in Old North Davis, selecting success/failure criteria BEFORE the project is completed, and another year of delay in construction that has the schedule slipping yet again.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Housing Bubble Comes to the Old North: A Textbook Case (73)


In looking for something else on the web, I stumbled onto a textbook example of the recent housing bubble right here in our very own Old North Davis.

Monday, August 29, 2011

City of Davis Moves on 5th Street Redesign (70)

In an e-mail addressed to “Interested Parties“ dated August 25th, City administrator Katherine Hess has announced that the Planning Commission will hold a hearing on September 14th on the next step in the process of redesigning 5th Street.

Ms. Hess' email is reproduced after the jump, along with the City's web site text on this matter as it appeared at the time of this post. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Three Car Crash At 5th & B, Sunday, Aug. 28 (69)

Approaching 5th St. on B at about 4:30 pm Sunday, August 28, I observed that B was closed on the north side of 5th and that three cars were crashed into one another at the curb on the west side of B near 5th.

Three of the photos I took are posted here. This is the 16th crash involving 5th St near my home on E St. I have photographed. 

The City of Davis Invented Old North Davis In 1996 (68)

This is the first of two or more posts that seek to understand why there is as yet  no Old North Davis symbol or logo. This post develops background for addressing this and related puzzles.

As far as I can tell, the idea that the land bounded by 5th & 7th and B & the tracks is a coherent area requiring a special name was conceived in the spring of 1996.

Before that spring, several zoning and code formulations seemed bent on developing different portions of that land in varied ways. A summary of these schemes--including some deep partitions--appear in image 1.*

Friday, August 26, 2011

Our Dangerous 5th & E Intersection Used on the PBS Newshour (67)


Watching PBS’s  Newshour on August 25, it was hard to believe that I was suddenly viewing a video of Dr. Herbert Bauer driving a car past my house on E Street toward  5th. He whisks by the Granucci and Tingus homes and stops at the  5th & E corner as a taxicab looms and zooms by (images 1 through 5).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

An Old North Dog’s Tell-All Autobiography (64)

Browsing in a used bookstore, my eye caught this title on the spine of a skinny book:

The Life and Travels of a Law Office Dog

Puzzled, I took the book in hand and viewed the cover you see after the jump. This is strange, I thought.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Problem House on Notre Dame Drive & Lessons for Neighbor Action (63)

Davis Enterprise, August, 12, 2011

The Davis Enterprise has published a very useful account of long-standing neighborhood problems caused by people involved with 1413 Notre Dame Drive in Davis.*

Let me summarize those problems and the actions Notre Dame neighbors took.  Then I will suggest four “lessons” about dealing with “out of control” homes we might draw from this case and other experiences.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fifth Street Safety Troubles Are Not New (62)

Excerpt from a 1982 Enterprise photo of a collision
 at 5th and D streets. The full picture is after the jump.
I have just received a photo of a 1982 Fifth & D car collision that helps dramatize the point that  safety on that street is a long-standing (and building) problem.
      Beverly Wilcox sent me this picture and I thank her very much. An excerpt is to the right and the full picture is after the jump.
      Is it possible that other people have photos from newspapers or other sources that they could send along and I could also post them? If so, simply zap them to me by email attachment at

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Photo-Essays on Collisions at 5th and E (61)

The note on dangerous intersections I just posted (#60) prompts me to recall my photo-essays on accidents near where I live, the intersection of 5th and E.
      Over a period of years, when I have heard collision crashes I have sometimes gone out with a camera and photographed the events.
      About a year ago, I noticed I had accumulated 15 of these “photo-essays.” Most are at the 5th and E intersection, but a few are at 5th & F and 5th & D.

Dangerous Intersections Along Fifth Street--The Never-Ending Foot-Dragging (60)

The new news organization The Davis Patch ran a story this week on “dangerous intersections” in Davis as computed from 2009 data. Of course, Fifth Street between A and L shows up prominently.

I reproduce the Patch’s “interactive map” of high-collision intersections after the jump.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Minutes of the ONDNA June 5, 2011 “Annual General” Meeting (59)

The minutes of the June 5 ONDNA meeting are posted after the jump. They are reproduced from the ONDNA flyer left at Old North front doors the afternoon of July 26, 2011.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

512 D Street Renovation (58)

512 D, 2003
The renovation reportedly planned at 512 D Street might trigger “preservation” concerns among a handful of people.
     If that is true, then it is perhaps relevant to know the assessment made by the preservation firm Roland-Nawi Associates in their 2003 survey of the Old North as a possible historic district.
     I have posted their report on 512 D after the jump.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Barry Family Home at 516 G Is For Sale (57)

1. From the left: 516, 512, 506 G, March 20, 1942
516 G Street was built in 1939 & has been the Barry family home.  Lucille Barry died at age 95 in 2004 and Clarence Barry died in the home at age 90 in 2007. Their daughter, Jane Ellen Barry, kept the house as a rental, but has now put it up for sale.
In one sense, the Barry Home has had only one owner.

This post on the Barry Home is in two parts: 1) some recollections of Mr. Barry, 2) Jane Barry’s heartrending report on aging at 516 G.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Retrospective on the Fissell Home Now at 516 D (56)

1. Fissel Home at 516 D, 2011 (realtor photo)
The Victorian/Early Craftsman home now at 516 D (photo 1) is for sale. 

That fact prompts a brief retrospective on the structure’s “life and times.”

The 516 D lot is the third place the building has sat.