Thursday, August 7, 2008

Then and Now: 459 Strafer Street

Things have changed in Columbia Tusculum since the days of "Edmonson Hill", when children played on Handman Avenue, the only level spot around.

Former resident Nikki Nickell, known by her family as Ruth with the maiden name of Edmonson, grew up in a frame house at 451 Strafer Street in the 1930s and 1940s.

Life on the hill was a family affair - her aunt and uncle at 459 Strafer, her grandmother at 465 Strafer, a house later bought by her parents adjacent to her grandmother's place on Handman Avenue.

That explains the name.

In 1986, the house at 451 Strafer Street burned down, and all that remains of the original "triangle" is the house at the top of the hill.

"The house at the head of the triangle was where my mom and dad lived the last twenty or so years of their lives," she says. "I was long gone by then except for trips to and from where we lived...Baltimore, Seattle and many in between. Uncle Bob and Aunt Alma lived there long enough to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary.

Nickell says that her uncle, Dick Edmonson, was in the area taking photos within the past couple of weeks.

"You live somewhere for 20 years when you go back you have to check out how it looks now," she says.

A new single-family home with a translucent garage door now stands at 459 Strafer Street, and there are likely more to come.

But what would Nickell have done with the property that holds so many memories?

"My sister and I had always envisioned buying the properties and making it a park dedicated to Grandma and Grandpa," she says.

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