Today’s photograph was taken at the intersection of Union Ave (MLK) and Washington St. The men in the middle of the intersection are repairing the sewer. In the background you can see “H. Smith Produce,” and “Whitely and Clark Co.” stores.
Archive for the ‘Union Avenue’ Category
We don’t know the “Number Man’s” name, but after some digging we do now know what he was doing and what the numbers mean. As many have suggested on this site, the numbers are related to City public works projects. In the photograph below you can see the “Number Man” holding a sign with number 234 which corresponds to NE Beech and Union. Below that is a portion of the Public Works map for the street widening project. You’ll notice his number corresponds to the map’s number for the lot at the northeast corner of the intersection. The lengthy project records for the widening of Union (MLK) from NE Going to SE Lincoln include a text description and a number for each property affected by the widening project. For major projects such as street widening, the Department of Public Works created maps showing the affected properties and gave numbers to the corresponding locations. Public Works also created many records that describe the value of each property and how the owners would be compensated for their losses.
Here we see the “number man” standing outside Nick’s Flower Home in 1929. This building was located at 4040 NE Union Avenue between NE Mason Street and Shaver Street. As most of you know, Union Ave. became Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. These building are no longer standing.
Today we find our Number Man standing on the west side of NE Union Avenue just north of Russell Street in 1929. The buildings still stand but look a bit different today. I suspect they lost a few feet of their fronts when Union was widened, the reason they were being documented here in the first place.