Real Numbers

When we lived in our first suburban house in Columbus, on a street with about 30 other houses, our address was a four-digit number.  When we moved to another street in the same suburb that also had about 30 houses, our house number was an even higher number up in the thousands.

But the most ridiculous example of suburban address creation came when we moved to New Albany, where we lived on a stubby street that was a small cul-de-sac with only eight houses — and our house had the highest four-digit number of all.

Why do so many suburban houses have such absurdly high house numbers that bear no relation whatsoever to the length of the street, the number of houses, or any other discernible objective fact?  Did some property developer do a study at some point that found that houses with totally arbitrary four-digit numbers are somehow much more attractive to potential buyers and fetch higher prices?  Or are house numbers assigned by some crazed urban planner who has a weird fetish for meaningless four-digit numbers?

I’m happy to say that Stonington doesn’t go in for such nonsense.  The house numbers on streets start at 1, and on most streets don’t get higher than the low double digits.  And the house numbers seem to relate to an actual count of the number of property parcels that have been platted out on the street.  In short, the house numbers have some basis in objective fact, and the numbers do what numbers were originally created to do — keep count.

It’s refreshing, and actually kind of cool, to see real house numbers. 

1 thought on “Real Numbers

  1. i’ve often wondered about this myself, it makes absolutely no sense to me. working with young children, it’s very hard for them to even memorize their addresses, to keep in mind if they’re ever lost.


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