Street Furniture

It may not be an official name, but street furniture is a good name for all the items and objects which make up a city street. Do you notice the:

  • street signs
  • street lights
  • traffic barriers
  • traffic lights
  • mail boxes
  • hand rails
  • bus stops
  • phone booths
  • cigarette receptacles
  • fire hydrants
  • garbage cans
  • benches
  • bicycle racks
  • parking meters
  • sidewalks

and so many other small, old and taken for granted parts of the city streets? What can you find in your own area which has been around awhile and gone unnoticed?

The first telephone boxes, a porter’s rest from 1861 or a street lamp powered by sewage – just a few of the things we can walk past every day in London without often noticing them. Have you ever noticed the smallest Listed structures in London, the K2 phone boxes?

secret-london.co.uksecret-london.co.uksecret-london.co.uk

Source: SECRET LONDON / Trivia / Street_Furniture

Exploring Street Signs

Do you notice street signs? I do.

Likely there are the option to buy old street signs, when they are decommissioned in your area too. That would be an easier, and legitimate way to get them. Any well known streets would be expensive. You could get lucky and find the street you lived on for a bargain price.

I wonder if anyone has collected the same street name in every vintage style? That would be an interesting collection. Possibly a small collection in a small town or a very large collection in the big cities where signs are changed out often for this or that reason.

The “acorn” street-name sign is as much a Toronto icon as are City Hall or the CN Tower. Though the design has graced the streets of many municipalities across Ontario and elsewhere for nearly 70 years, it’s thoughts of our city that it conjures up for many people. Its versatility allowed neighbourhoods and business improvement […]

Source: A Short History of Toronto’s Street Signs | cityscape | Torontoist

Ontario’s Vanishing Highways

This was a link included in a list of Ontario’s roads. All but this and one other of the history links were 404 (gone) on the Internet. I don’t have permission but I am saving the contents with the original link and credit to the source.

 
Ontario’s Vanishing Highways
 
Ontario’s provincial highways are becoming a kind of endangered species these days. In a largely successful effort to get the province’s budget under control, the Ontario government has been “downloading” various expenses onto counties and municipalities, one of which is Ontario’s highway system.

If you look at a map from the early 1990s, you’ll see lots of shield symbols, which represent a King’s Highway (a primary highway designation). Since around 1994, roads have been downloaded by removing the King’s Highway designation and renaming the roadway as a county road. In some cases, the numbered shield symbol has just been replaced with a county flowerpot symbol, and the number has stayed the same. In many other cases, the numbers change.

One casualty of this cost-cutting mechanism was King’s Highway 2, which was the main east-west trunk through southern Ontario before Highway 401 was completed decades ago. Highways 2 and 401 basically ran parallel, so despite the history of the road, it was cut up into strings of county roads with different numbers. Many other highways in Southern Ontario are meeting the same fate– if they haven’t disappeared altogether, they have become discontinuous, with stretches of county-designated roads (some with different numbers) in between the King’s Highway portions… somewhat confusing.

Having lived in southwestern Ontario, I drove or rode my bicycle down many of these highways, and even though they’re just name changes, I still get a little wistful. Highway 2 used to go from Detroit to (almost) Montreal. I lived blocks away from it London, and an old girlfriend lived a block away from it near Toronto. 22, 51, 73 and 81 are gone; 4, 15, 17 and 21 are being carved up, just to name a few.

I was at a farm auction once in 1995 and I saw a group of Ontario highway signs for sale. They looked brand new, but they were a configuration I’d never seen before, with number 3 on it. That made sense, since Highway 3 is nearby, but these were very different signs. I was a student at the time, and I wish to this day I could have afforded the $40 for one. According to my information, Highway 3 (which runs from Windsor to Fort Erie) remains largely intact.

The Ontario highways up in the northern half of the province are fewer in number and more spread out, and as far as I know, they aren’t going to be changing with the times, aside from stretches of road within town limits. Most of the King’s highways, secondary highways, and tertiary highways are staying the same. That’s good news to me… I grew up riding on secondary highways 552 and 556. But as for the King’s highways down south… It’s the end of the road.

Jon Upton : The Back Bumper

Source: TRAFFIC JAM: The Back Bumper – Ontario License Plates

Historical Highways Society of Ontario 

Gone now except for the web archives. Wish I had found it sooner. They even had events when they met up. I’m not hugely social but I would have gone to at least one to see what more I could be watching for when I see road signs, bridges and such. I do notice somethings myself. No doubt the group members had more historical information and resources (photos too).
historicalhighways

About Us:
The Historical Highways Society of Ontario (H.H.S.O.) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and research of Ontario’s highway heritage. Founded in the Fall of 2003 by the current co-presidents, Josh Anderchek and Cameron Bevers, this group now boasts over twenty members from all parts of Ontario. Through research and documentation, the organization is hoping to preserve the fascinating past of our highways for future generations to enjoy. The group’s research and historical findings will be posted into this website for years to come.

Our Mission Statement:
The H.H.S.O. was created not only to preserve the history of former highways, their routings and changes over time, but to help in continuing the tradition of maintaining our highways viable presence for years to come. This includes being active parts in Public Information Centres for Highway construction, including reconstruction or realignment projects, as well as bringing public awareness to how important it is for our Province to be served with a seamless, high-quality highway system. We also work in suggesting alternatives, and supporting them, in maintaining a historical presence in a highways reconstruction, by having structures restored to there original glamour as close as possible while still maintaining a high standard of public safety.

Source: Historical Highways Society of Ontario – HHSO.ca

Rusting Street Signs

Train your eye to pay attention to broken bricks, peeling paint, untamed gardens, rusty metal… What can you find on your own?

rustysignsSource: Thomas Muther Jr.

I’ve been thinking about exploring our local area. People want to jump into urban exploration. People ask for locations of abandoned sites so they can skip the steps of exploring and finding anything on their own. That’s not urban exploring. Skipping the adventure and waving a photograph to prove you were there… is bland.

I think you can start exploring in your own town, right in your own neighbourhood. Look for old, derelict, ruined and interesting things. Look for history in man made objects. Think about simple things taken for granted, like street signs, mail boxes, doorbells, milestones, and so on.