Yes, I do know who lived there 100 years ago

I was going to wait a while before posting this but the comments in Frozen Tropic’s post got me going.
You know that stupid research project that I’ve been going on and on about? I’m done. Well with the 1880 portion of it, forty more years to go. But I’ve mapped them out and I can say that I know where the black folk lived, where the Irish immigrants lived, where the Germans lived and so on with 90% accuracy. I’ll give 10% that the census taker missed some people, then there is the census taker’s handwriting that made for some confusion and there is this one house I have no idea could have existed.
What does this have to do with gentrification? Well, when speaking of gentrification we tend to take on a belief that a certain neighborhood was always a certain way and this new crop of people moving in is a new thing. It isn’t a new thing, it is a very old thing. One group replaces another group. One group puts their fingerprint on a place, and sometimes that fingerprint lasts, other times it is swept away as if it were never there. Now the middle classes are invading Shaw. Who isn’t to say that in 50 to 100 years that Shaw won’t be a working class refuge?

2 thoughts on “Yes, I do know who lived there 100 years ago”

  1. Your research is very impressive. My research on the issue of who lived in my neighborhood a while back generally consisted of trusting a (respectable) historical report published a few years back on the topic. I can’t say who lived exactly where, but I do know what groups were present. I recently attended a psa meeting where an ANC Commissioner(!) told the group that Trinidad got its name after it was settled by Trinidadians. Complete fiction. My area got its name because it was some guy’s country estate & he decided to call it Trinidad. No Caribbean roots involved. Short of doing intensive research one should at least look to credible sources.

  2. Well we have to be forgiving of well meaning folks with bad data. It makes for a good story though.

    I couldn’t of done the research I’ve done if it weren’t for the fact of working where I work. Even with that it is horribly time consuming and costly (paid cousin to cull some data, and that girl ain’t cheap). But in all I’ve learned a lot about my neighborhood. Houses come, houses go, as do people and change is the only constant.

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