Before and After

I’ve returned, in a sense. The decompression lasted a little over two months and I’m ready to start posting occasional articles again. However, the old Twelve Mile Circle remains firmly in the past where it belongs. I don’t want to go back in time although I do miss interacting with the wonderful readers of 12MC. New posts will happen sporadically whenever I have something worthwhile to share.

Moving On

I’ve been busy these few weeks, really busy. The Twelve Mile Circle site looks a lot different than the last time anyone dropped by. A new design reflects an interesting realization, that something like sixty percent of visitors arrived here using mobile phones. The old theme couldn’t handle small screens well. I focused on improvements like that with the extra time I didn’t spend writing articles.

A worthy successor also appeared on the scene. I hope everyone got a chance to read Mapping Americana. The author, Aaron O’Neill, followed 12MC for several years and decided to give it a try when I called it quits. Mapping Americana picked up where 12MC left off. I read every article. It’s nice to sit on the receiving end of good geo-oddity content.

The extra time also let me enjoy pursuits that maybe fell farther down on my list during the previous decade. I renewed my love of reading, I ran a half-marathon, I visited several new breweries. The historian in me that often made guest appearances in 12MC came to the forefront. I spent a lot more time on my personal family history, my long-neglected genealogy pursuits, and I made great progress on projects long neglected. A couple of work trips took me out of town and then the holidays kept me busy. Those following my Twitter feed learned much of this already. Surprisingly, I even picked up a handful of new Twitter followers unrelated to 12MC.


Introspection

I wandered around the neighborhood a lot too, either while running for exercise or during long contemplative walks. Several years ago I walked over to a house where my dad’s cousins once lived. The address had appeared in the 1930 Census. However, Arlington County changed most of its street names later that decade to create an alphanumeric grid. I actually had to go down to the county library’s local history room to cross-reference the address so I could find the house.


The Vacant Lot

I did find it and I sent a few photos to the cousins who hadn’t thought about their old home in years. Some of the cousins stopped by the house a couple of years later and found a vacant lot. It had been bulldozed. Unfortunately that seemed to be a common characteristic in my neighborhood recently. Perfectly functional, architecturally distinct homes seemed to be less desirable than big boxes with modern amenities and sheer square footage. The dirt beneath the old homes became too valuable to justify their continuing existence in they eyes of many people hoping to move there.

Anyway, with more time on my hands I could better discern the rapid replacement of historic homes as I explored my way down different streets. I also spent a bunch of time on Google Street View and I could actually catalog a lot of the changes. Here were a couple of examples found near my home.


McMansion

This imposing behemoth replaced a simple frame house.


Modern House

I wasn’t even sure how to categorize this other thing. It looked almost like a small office building although it served as a single family residence. Someday many years from now my own home will probably face a similar fate. The economics of this close-in area no longer support older homes of modest proportions. I may shed a little tear when that happens while I pocket a pile of cash that will help fuel my eventual retirement.


More Plans

Future articles will have an actual focus and maybe even make a point. This time, I think, the only real purpose was to let everyone know I was still out here assuming anyone might have wondered. I have some major travel plans over the next several months that should result in a series of articles. I may finish counting all of the counties in one or more states. Also, I want to start coloring in more of the interior of the nation. Finally, I hope to take a trip to a foreign destination this summer although I’m not quite ready to reveal the location.

Stay tuned. It may take a little while longer before I post additional content although the new era of Twelve Mile Circle has begun.