Ain’t nothing more special than… house twins
September 12, 2017 6:11 AM   Subscribe

 
Amazing.

I was going to comment that my childhood home was XXXX Sierra Ave, and not three blocks away there was an XXXX Sierra St, which was endlessly confusing in those pre-google-maps days of people using city atlases to get directions, but right next door takes the cake! If someone wrote a primetime soap opera where two neighboring families had a long-running feud started over a missing package due to having the same street address, critics would call it unbelievable.
posted by muddgirl at 6:22 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


I lived in a house in Kensington, Ca (Berkeley adjacent) with an address twin less than a mile away in El Cerrito. The mail crossed from time to time (the dog and I walked a few letters and a couple of Amazon boxes over during our time there) and throughout one June, we were visited by a stream of home improvement contractors asking for Angela, who they were there to see about bidding on a project.

We moved away before Angela completed her project, but I hope it came out nice.
posted by notyou at 6:24 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


This is great. And made even greater by his little aside on The Sunk Cost Fallacy.

So… on we go then.

O, so true!
posted by chavenet at 6:27 AM on September 12 [8 favorites]


The house I live in currently shares its street address with another house about 3 km away. And both houses are in the city of Montreal (the houses were in different cities from one another before the 2002 amalgamation). So, our mailing addresses only vary by postal code, which is especially frustrating when people are coming to visit and want to put my address in their GPS.

Ever since we moved to this house, I've been mildly annoyed about the situation, but I guess now I know that it could be much worse.
posted by 256 at 6:31 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


256: "I know that it could be much worse."

Not really, at least for the GPS question. I mean, in the illustrated case you've arrived and have to choose between the house on the left or on the right. In your case a wrong arrival means your guests are 3 km away. And same goes for the post: those for you left on your neighbor's stoop are right at hand.
posted by chavenet at 6:40 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


When I moved to my city as a college dropout, I got a job painting houses right off the bat which was great but it involved finding random suburban houses in a strange area early in the mornings. I'd get a call the night before telling me to be at 112 Orchard Road in some new ex-urb development and I'll pull out my trusty county atlas and find out there there were 14 different Orchard Roads and I'd have to figure out which one I had to show up in front of at 7:00 AM the next morning and hope that I wasn't halfway across Allegheny County from the correct 112 Orchard Road. Fun.
posted by octothorpe at 6:46 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


I knew that house numbers in Britain had very little to do with the rest of the houses around them, or at least those across the street, but this is ridiculous.
posted by Hactar at 6:46 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


My childhood home had the same address as a house the next block over, except ours was on 28th Pl W and the next block was 28th Ave W. When my grandmother fell and broke her ankle on our front lawn at Thanksgiving one year, the ambulance of course went to the wrong house. I also came home from middle school one day to discover there were a bunch of dudes clambering about on the roof, and a roofing company truck out in front. My dad joked about not telling them until they'd replaced the roof, but apparently we caught their mistake just before they started tearing things up.
posted by skycrashesdown at 6:47 AM on September 12


The addresses in Atlanta all have the quadrant of the city appended, such as 449 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312.

I always thought that must have happened because in it's youth it was a sharply divided city, black and white. Nobody wanted to untangle the mess of duplicate street names, so they came up with that weird compromise. Just a theory.

But there must be a number of duplicates, or they wouldn't have gone to that trouble.
posted by bitslayer at 6:50 AM on September 12


My childhood home was, let's say 123 Blue Road. There was also a 123 Blue Court around the corner. And then there was a 123 Purple Road that was right on the corner of where Purple Road made a turn and became Blue Road. So yes, often a lot of confusion in the pre-GPS days.

I often wonder how houses are addressed and why people don't take these sorts of things into account when doing so.
posted by darksong at 6:55 AM on September 12


Here is a dupe in Atlanta. Two Grant Streets 5 miles away that don't appear to have anything to do with each other. In the same zip code, even!

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/565+Grant+St+SE,+Atlanta,+GA+30315/565+Grant+St+SW,+Atlanta,+GA+30315/
posted by bitslayer at 7:13 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


In Calgary, Alberta, the city has a rule about new developments. (I'm not sure if it's still in force but the damage has been done). If your community is called Signal Hill, then every street name in the community has to begin with the same two letters as the community name - "Si".

So you end up going in search of a kijiji purchase, trying to navigate Sierra Morena Blvd, Sierra Morena Close, Sierra Vista Close, Sierra Vista Bay, Sienna Park Drive, Sienna Park View, Signal Hill View, Sidon Cresent SW. And it's a maze of curvilinear streets with nearly identical bland stucco houses.
posted by Brodiggitty at 7:13 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


"Honey, did you order a box of 14" rubber phalluses?"
"Ha! Must be for the neighbours. Us and our wacky mail mixups. Leave it, I'll take care of it."
posted by quinndexter at 7:15 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


spoiler alert: the closest house twins are A WHOLE COUNTY APART.
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:20 AM on September 12 [9 favorites]


The addresses in Atlanta all have the quadrant of the city appended

DC does, too, and it's a grid, so I have to imagine it would take very little effort to find some very close contenders.

More effort than I'm willing to put in, it turns out, but probably very little.

I did map a pair I was already aware of because one of the ends was very near an old address of mine, but the difference between the two is still nearly a mile as the crow flies.
posted by solotoro at 7:32 AM on September 12


And I thought living at 8 West Rd was troublesome for getting deliveries.

Brodiggitty: "In Calgary, Alberta, the city has a rule about new developments. (I'm not sure if it's still in force but the damage has been done). If your community is called Signal Hill, then every street name in the community has to begin with the same two letters as the community name - "Si". "

And people use it as a crutch for what neighbourhood you live in. Which means if you live on the first street in a development to be built and then the developer goes bankrupt and the developer who buys the assets doesn't like the scheme and changes it your orphan street name scheme street is impossible for people to locate in the town. It's made worse when your street is a short cresent with only a couple dozen houses total.
posted by Mitheral at 7:36 AM on September 12


If your community is called Signal Hill, then every street name in the community has to begin with the same two letters as the community name - "Si".

I guess there's a similar rule to prevent new developments from having matching prefixes? I think the logical end game for Calgary technocrats is to require new developers to take their suburb names from a what3words style geolocation system.

If you lived in Horse Battery Staple, you'd be home right now.
posted by zamboni at 7:47 AM on September 12 [9 favorites]


Out in Kenner, Louisiana (suburbs of New Orleans) there's the intersection of Loyola Dr, W Loyola Dr, and E Loyola Dr. I can find instances where W Loyola Dr and E Loyola Dr share an address (2,600 ft apart as the crow flies) but not yet any where all three share an address.

Of course that's nothing compared to the tale I heard of an Atlanta man who starved to death in a maze of Peachtrees.
posted by komara at 7:50 AM on September 12 [5 favorites]


I enjoyed the article - thanks for posting it DoctorFedora. My last address had a twin about ten miles away beyond the opposite side of Bristol - far enough distant, one would suppose, for there to be no confusion. Alas, we still got some of their post; they got some of ours. Plus, as the house number was suffixed with an 'A', we'd also get mail for our next-door neighbours when the postmen and women weren't paying full attention. Still, I feel for the residents of nos. 443 Manchester Road, for whom things must be considerably worse.
posted by misteraitch at 7:56 AM on September 12


I live in a part of Queens where the street numbering system is... confusing.

You'll walk past, say, 71st Road, 71st Street, and 71st Ave. Sometimes there's also a 71st Crescent or the like and you'll find an intersection like 144th Road and 144th Street. (It's not a patch on, say, Atlanta, and the intersection of Peachtree and Peachtree, but still.)

But that is not nearly as screwed up as the situation with Bolton and Manchester.

Wow.
posted by SansPoint at 8:04 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I always thought that must have happened because in it's youth it was a sharply divided city, black and white. Nobody wanted to untangle the mess of duplicate street names, so they came up with that weird compromise. Just a theory.

I don't think this is true (quadrants on addresses is common in a lot of cities). But I have heard that the reason that some streets change names when they cross Ponce (Briarcliff/Moreland and Monroe/Boulevard being the examples that come to mind) is because white people didn't want to live on the same street as black people.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:13 AM on September 12


The addresses in Atlanta all have the quadrant of the city appended

also the grand rapids area - i'm not sure if it's all of kent county, but a good part of it - i don't think there was any reason except that it seemed like a good idea to someone
posted by pyramid termite at 8:15 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Make this about two neighbors who get each other's mail and hate each other until they fall in love and you've got a quirky indie 1990s British comedy that will be nominated for but not win any Oscars.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:19 AM on September 12 [11 favorites]


I was pretty sure that this happens somewhere in this map - the Cambridge-Somerville line runs just south/west of Davis Square and on at least one of the streets running northeast from Mass Ave the two cities didn't get it together and there were duplicate addresses. But I can't find an example and might be imagining it.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:38 AM on September 12


There's definitely Boston-area address twins that happen on reused street names, but I don't know if I've run across any on a single street that crosses a municipal boundary. But like I've only lived here a short while and I'm not even the biggest address nerd in my social circle, so don't take my word for it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:42 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


My library is at 15 Sylvan Street in Danvers.
It was paid for by George Peabody, so it bears his name. A lot of stuff around here does, including Peabody, the next town over.
This has thrown off the Google Maps algorithm to the point that if you ask it for directions to '15 Sylvan Street Danvers' it thinks "Ah yes, the Peabody Institute Library! That's on 15 Sylvan Street! In *BZZZRT* Peabody!" and we end up with a lot of confused first time patrons calling from an ophthalmologist's office.
I've asked the ophthalmologist's if we could put up a sign in the parking lot ("Now that you can see this sign, check out the Peabody Institute Library - it's just down the road!") but they have not been interested.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:47 AM on September 12 [6 favorites]


I once lived somewhere that I think had originally been a large building addressed #1, Street Name, but which had been split up into maisonettes addressed Flat A, Flat B, etc*. But because they weren't like Flat 1A, or #1, Flat A, we had issues with getting deliveries. Delivery drivers would call us to say they didn't have our full address and we'd have to insist, no, Flat A, Street Name is the correct address. That is literally where I live. Yes I'm sure, I live here. So they'd make a note on the delivery. And then the next day a new driver would pick up the parcel and phone us to say the same thing.

*(So the street went
Flat A
Flat B
Flat C
Flat D
#2
#3
etc)

posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:53 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


If the two houses at 443 Manchester Rd were in an area (like many in the USA) where the mailboxes are at the street, they could just put up one mailbox to share, and sort the mail themselves. That way at least nothing should get lost.
posted by elizilla at 8:55 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


A+ on the title.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:56 AM on September 12


I live in a twin-cities town and when I lived on Park Street I was waiting outside for a ride to the airport, fuming at my late driver, when the driver called to tell me he'd been waiting outside my house for a while. That's when I learned that a house 1.9 km down the street had the same number - the numbering resets at the city border, in the middle of a block. Other streets in the city get E/W/N/S designators but not Park Street for some reason.

The closest pair I could find on that street is 1.2 km apart.
posted by Gortuk at 8:59 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I live at (let's say) 123 Maple Street.
Behind me is Maple Way.

For a period of time, the residents of 123 Maple Way had the same last name as me.

While we did not turn out to be long lost relatives, I did learn quite a bit about them (grad students, dog owners, drive a European car, attend art shows) despite only talking to them in passing while dropping off wayward mail.

Interestingly, the volume of mail was heavily one-sided, we got a lot more of their than they of ours.
I suppose when you are a delivery person in a hurry, "Street" is a more compelling address completion than "Way".
posted by madajb at 9:05 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Hooray for open gis and open data and living in a tiny country. The closest twins in the Netherlands are
Hoofdweg 1 ('Main road') in Slochteren / Schildwolde : 61 meters

No mixups for Dorpsstraat ('Village street') in Gouderak / Moordrecht. Just 180 meters, but mailmen don't swim
posted by Psychnic at 9:06 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I lived on W. 28 1/2 Street in Austin, which was annoying at times, as many address systems aren't set up to accept a street name with a fraction in it. The most annoying was one of the utility companies (I think electric?) insisting that my address did not exist despite the fact that it was a whole apartment building with residents who had electricity.
posted by misskaz at 9:26 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I live on Prospect Park West (or, as the post office would have it, PROSPECT PK W) in a neighborhood that also has a PROSPECT PK SW and PROSPECT PL. I get mail for those other streets all the time, but the best was when FedEx had a delivery for Prospect Park - the actual park - and they gave up and left a 10 foot long steel bike rack in my buiding's lobby.

Fun fact: on my part of Prospect Park West, even and odd numbers are on the same side of the street, except for number 95, which is the park's hq. Whenever I see a despairing pizza delivery guy looking bewildered at the place where 94 and 99 are next door to each other, I point them across the street.
posted by moonmilk at 10:06 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


Here is 1 Cork Road and 1, The Mews, Cork Road, directly next door to one another and both having the same postcode.

Considering that a lot of UK services now use "house number and postcode" to look up your address in their database, this can cause a lot of confusion!
posted by quacks like a duck at 10:52 AM on September 12


The house next door to me is called Ardenlee, and the house next door to that is called Ardenlea. Confusion is (usually) avoided due to the Scottish tradition of having a little plaque on the front door with your surname on it.
posted by PippinJack at 11:31 AM on September 12


House numbering around here is based off a coordinate system. But that leads to an odd quirk when you have street the curves from East/West to North/South and back. Not only do the numbers switch from odds to evens and back. Instead of being only a couple houses between 5405 and 5431 there are 11. (5431, 5926, 5938, 5950, 5964, 5978, 5990, 6002, 6012, 6022, 6034, 6042, 5405)
posted by zinon at 11:56 AM on September 12


I moved into my townhouse at 209 West Foo Street 17 years ago.

Shortly thereafter, the lots a bit to the east of us, and on the other side of a slight dogleg, were subdivided into townhouses as well, and so 209 Foo Street was born.

We share a zip.

That's not QUITE a dupe, but the first dumbass who moved in over there took note of the near-duplicate address and filled out his change of address paperwork so that it said his new address was "209 WEST FOO NOT FOO," ie he was not just wrong but AGGRESSIVELY wrong.

Weirdly, he was also super grouchy to me when, after a few months, I suggested that he'd have to start coming to get his mail, as I was tired of dropping it off. It didn't ultimately get fixed until he moved about 18 months later.
posted by uberchet at 1:01 PM on September 12


Pfah, dilettantes. Try addressing a package to "200 Washington Street, Boston, MA" with no zip code, and tell me what happens. There are five places matching the address within 3 miles of where I sit. Map software notoriously can't handle our egregious street name reuse, and since July I've personally fielded two confused tourists who thought they were downtown when they were in fact in the southern fringe of the city.
posted by Mayor West at 1:03 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


I suspect streets that cross municipal lines in cities with "regular" street numbering are likely to be offenders here. In Oakland street addresses increase as you head west (towards the bay) and in Berkeley they increase as you head east (towards the hills). So Alcatraz Avenue, which runs roughly along the border and crosses between the two cities multiple times, has numbering that just makes no sense. I checked at one point and there are no duplicates, but that's just dumb luck.
posted by madcaptenor at 2:26 PM on September 12


That's what's weird about my "Foo" street situation. Neither street is long or highly populated. When the land east of us was set up as residential, it ought to have been trivial to impose addresses without overlap with the West Foo homes.

But no.
posted by uberchet at 2:38 PM on September 12


This was terrific! But when I think of the amount of work that this guy did, I can't help but feel like he should have ponied up the £399 to get the Royal Mail house address data.
posted by crazy with stars at 2:48 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Map software notoriously can't handle our egregious street name reuse

Oh, is THAT why I so often run across people using coordinates instead of addresses in Google maps?
posted by solotoro at 2:58 PM on September 12


> Out in Kenner, Louisiana (suburbs of New Orleans) there's the intersection of Loyola Dr, W Loyola Dr, and E Loyola Dr. I can find instances where W Loyola Dr and E Loyola Dr share an address (2,600 ft apart as the crow flies) but not yet any where all three share an address.

Weirdly enough, Pittsburgh tends to have the opposite problem: There are, for example, a Liberty Ave, a West Liberty Ave, and an East Liberty Blvd, but they're unrelated and nowhere near each other, so at least they don't intersect. There's also a Main Street (which is hilariously not at all Main), and a South Main Street, which are literally miles apart. North Main Street is another borough entirely.

In fact, since very few roads cross the origin point for the east-west numbering (the Point, where the rivers meet), almost any set of {East, West} Streetname pairs are unrelated, with a number of exceptions that can be counted on your fingers and toes.

There's also a handful of roads called North Streetname, because they're north of the Allegheny River, in what used to be the independent city of Allegheny, and when Allegheny City was annexed there was already a Streetname in Pittsburgh, so rather than be renamed entirely (which also happened a lot), they got to just be North Streetname. For example, there already was a Taylor Street in Bloomfield, so the one in the Mexican War Streets is North Taylor. There is no South Taylor St (that I'm aware of).

And that's without even getting into Pittsburgh's three unrelated sets of numbered streets, two of which intersect (but not at right angles, not Pittsburgh, oh no).
posted by FlyingMonkey at 3:32 PM on September 12


The addresses in Atlanta all have the quadrant of the city appended

In PDX we have that too. I don't think it has to do with segregation though as it's common throughout the PNW. How else would you distinguish the N side of 1st Ave E and the N side of 1st Ave W? It always seemed to me that that notation seems to have been maintained on non-duplicated streets for consistency.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 3:40 PM on September 12


How else would you distinguish the N side of 1st Ave E and the N side of 1st Ave W?

This is not a problem we have in Atlanta. All our streets are named Peachtree. We're really bad at numbered streets.
posted by madcaptenor at 3:53 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


"In Calgary, Alberta, the city has a rule about new developments. (I'm not sure if it's still in force but the damage has been done). If your community is called Signal Hill, then every street name in the community has to begin with the same two letters as the community name - "Si". "

Behold the greatest set of developer-created street names I have ever seen: The main road through the subdivision is "Liberty Drive." Branching off it are Supreme Ct., District Ct., Appellate Ct., and Circuit Ct. (The rest of the neighborhood streets are named things like Constitution Dr, Justice Dr, Freedom Trail, Revere Dr., etc., and one named for the developer's daughter.) But OH MY GOD, "Appellate Court" is such a great street name I wanted to actually move there.

One of my law professors, new to Durham that year, complained about street names in Durham. He was like, "I can't FIND anything! Every road is named Chapel Hill -- Road! Street! Boulevard! It's like they went drilling for words and came up dry!" This was quite true in North Carolina, plus the irritating tendency of the road to change names when you were halfway along it, because it was named by what it was going towards, so you'd be driving out of Durham on "Wake Forest Highway" or some shit like that and when you were closer to Wake Forest than Durham, suddenly it's "Durham Drive." VERY CONFUSING.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:19 PM on September 12


of course, in PDX we actually have five quadrants, not four. This is perfectly logical, and not to be trifled with.

(It is seriously hard to get lost on the east side, which is mostly flattish and grid system, and very easy to get lost on the hilly west side's wealth of dead ends)
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 5:52 PM on September 12


I favorited this post purely based on the title
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:20 PM on September 12 [1 favorite]


After almost 3 years here I still don't really know my way around Portland, OR, but I've always lived in NW and really really appreciate the alphabetical street names.
posted by bendy at 7:24 PM on September 12


of course, in PDX we actually have five quadrants, not four. This is perfectly logical, and not to be trifled with.

Speaking as a pentant pedant, I don't find myself entirely agreeing with you.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:03 PM on September 12


komara, don't forget State Street, State Street Drive, Louisiana Avenue, Louisiana Avenue Parkway, Audubon Blvd, Audubon Place, and Audubon Street.
posted by Night_owl at 10:23 PM on September 12


We used to live a few kilometers from a street with one letter difference. The matching number was a mechanic who only worked on old Citroens, and we'd occasionally get mail or packages delivered from us. Mostly letters and small boxes which we'd forward on, but once got a full door wrapped in brown paper left on the front porch.
posted by markr at 10:34 PM on September 12


The addresses in Atlanta all have the quadrant of the city appended

Ditto for the city that I live in in Northwest Georgia.

And I thought living at 8 West Rd was troublesome for getting deliveries.

When I lived in Oklahoma, I lived on xxx N Boulevard St.
posted by dhens at 11:05 PM on September 12


When I lived in Oklahoma, I lived on xxx N Boulevard St.

In Atlanta there is a street that's just called "Boulevard".
posted by madcaptenor at 7:12 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


West Hartford has a just-plain-Boulevard, too!
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:28 PM on September 13


in PDX we actually have five quadrants, not four.

Not nine? Surely that's more logical. (And also easier to make sure that 101 N 85th St. is across the street from 101 NW 85th St. Yes, these are Seattle addresses.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:23 AM on September 14


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