Ladies of Highland Avenue research their homes for 100 year celebration

When you’ve lived on your street for nearly 40 years, you are its history. But if you’re long-term residents like Nancy Shea and Jeanne Baldwin of Highland Avenue you crave to know more about the history of houses on your street than just the years you’ve lived there.

Thus was born during the Covid years, the ladies of Highland Avenue and their regular get-togethers to piece together the history of their homes. Unique in Curtis Park, Highland Avenue is just one block long. Historically, it’s been a street of close friends, block parties and kids playing outside together.

“None of us really knew the original dates of our houses,” said Shea.

Having noted the stamped 1923 date on the lamp posts on their street, the women became curious as to the age of their own houses. For the last two years they have been collectively piecing together their house histories, where many of the houses are period revival styles of the 1920’s.

“We started with the current long-term residents and what they knew about former residents,” said Shea. “In essence, we worked from the end toward the beginning.”

“But we could only go back so far and we knew our houses were much older.”

Next they turned to the old City Directories (equivalent of old phone books) to date their individual homes. They are thrilled to now have located the origin dates for most of the houses on their block.

As it happens, SCNA is hoping to have a 100 Year Celebration in conjunction with the centennial of Sierra School, the home of Sierra 2 and SCNA. The Highland Avenue project can serve as a model for other streets wanting to tie in to the celebration by dating their homes.

Shea and Baldwin had the benefit of being active genealogists. “We want our children to understand the history of their families but also the history of the street where they grew up,” said Shea.

In addition to Shea and Baldwin, other women contributing to the history project on Highland Avenue are Carol Spurgeon, Kate Williams (a newer member of the block), Annie Cook, Gail Miller, and Amy O’Neill (one of the younger members).

The vast majority of homes in Curtis Park will turn 100 years old this year. To be part of the excitement and celebration, consider starting a group on your street to research your home histories.

“We think it’s a great idea for a neighborhood as stable as Curtis Park to know it’s history,” said Shea. “I love this neighborhood and I’m happy to share what we are doing.”

You can reach Nancy Shea with information about Highland Avenue or to ask about their research project.

For more information on how to research your house history, Dan Murphy has put together this handy guide.

Contact SCNA’s Executive Director Terri Shettle to enlist your street or individual participation in the 100 Year Celebration.

Share this post



  • Mon-Thur 8am-10pm
  • Fri-Sat 8am-11pm
  • Sun 9am-7pm (Mar-Sept)
  • Sun 9am-5pm (Oct-Feb)

Privacy Statement | Terms Of Use | Copyright 2023 by Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association