Adventures while walking about Auburn, Alabama and its environs...
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15 May 2021
Chisholm Drive FinaleGranted, this "Offbeat Auburn" blog is pretty much only of interest to me, but today I have an entry that very well may mark the "Holy Grail" discovery of my wanderings. One of my quirky memories of Auburn that led to my creation of this website was that of a concrete signpost marking the intersection at Shawnee Street and Chisholm Drive. Such a signpost does not stand today, but I had such a clear mental image of it that I was sure it had stood there in the past even though, evidently, "Chisholm Drive", as a street, does not even exist anymore. I wrote about all of this back in February of 2019 and allayed my fears that I had imagined the whole "Chisholm Drive road".
But today I did something even better than study old street maps or talk to city employees about Chisholm Drive. Today I actually found the original concrete signpost that had haunted my memories for all these decades.
While walking about town this morning, I stopped by an estate sale that was occurring in the Burke Place subdivision. Burke Place is a neighborhood that was developed just to the east of the Stage Road subdivision where I grew up (when we were kids the whole area was completely wooded, but I think they began building houses in that area in the early 1990s or so). It turned out that the house where the estate sale was happening was right behind the short dead end road that used to be labeled "Chisholm Drive". Here is a picture looking west; you can just see the old asphalt through the shaded landscape (beyond the storage shed and pickup truck):
After perusing the estate sale (I did not but anything), I decided to walk up the little creek (in the southeast corner of the pic above) that headed toward that old road spur. Technically this property is now privately owned (when Chisholm Drive was abandoned, the road was deeded back to the two adjacent property owners), but it was a very short walk, and I could quickly reach Shawnee Street without significantly intruding upon the owners' lands.
The simple creek bed I was walking along had had its banks bolstered with old bricks and concrete blocks to help prevent erosion. When I was stepping out of the creek, just a couple of yards from the asphalt of the now defunct Chisholm Drive, I looked down and spotted this embedded in the eastern bank of the creek:
That was it! That. was. it. That was the very signpost I had seen as a child decades ago. Not a picture of it, not someone else agreeing that it had existed, that was the actual signpost. The white paint had long ago eroded off (as had the black paint used to highlight the letters), but there is no doubt that that is the signpost that once stood at the intersection a few hundred feet away.
Back in 2019 I was satisfied that I had "laid this mystery to rest", but today's discovery was beyond exhilirating. Very few of these concrete signposts exist anymore, so it was awesome to not only add another one to my catalog, but add one that was so significant to my exploration of my fading memories of Auburn.
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