— Eric Fischer (@enf) June 5, 2013
In addition to proving that La Lengua has always been part of the Dominion of Bernalwood, the map showed a certain lack of creativity among those who took it upon themselves to name the streets in those days.
On this 1889 map, present-day Coleridge, Mirabel, Shotwell, Esmeralda (from today’s park eastward), Peralta (north of Esmeralda), and Holladay were all called California Avenue. There are even three places where one California Avenue intersects another California Avenue.
It’s also a reminder of the tendency of planners to try to impose street grids onto terrain that makes building straight-line streets impossible — a folly which has resulted in the disconnected un-streets seen in another recent Bernalwood post.
I wrote about that phenomenon’s effect on Peralta Avenue last year, and I happen to live at one of the former intersections of California and California (Peralta and Esmeralda).These “paper streets” were a persistent feature on old maps, even as the names of the aspirational streets changed.
In this 1924 map,
California Esmeralda goes over the top of Bernal Hill:
Despite the lines on the map, that part of Esmeralda remained wisely unbuilt when Harrison Ryker took aerial photos of Bernal Heights in 1938:
By 1948, unbuilt “paper streets” (map via Eric Fischer again) were shown as dotted lines:
Such visionary views of Bernal Heights are always good for a few knowing chuckles and “what-ifs.” Yet if you think it’s hard trying to get a cab or order a pizza today if you live on an odd stretch of Esmeralda, just imagine how much worse it would have been if you had to give directions that involved a delivery to the intersection of California and California.