Once upon a time there was a depressed stretch of bungalows along NW 23 ... and then something magical happened. Watch this video ... and then learn the rest of the story.
We've got a new batch of photos, courtesy of Mike Tharasena, who has won accolades for his renovation of a series of bungalows on the northside of the 700 block of NW 23. Some of the more vintage photos are associated with Everett L. Curtis - a matter we'll explore shortly.
As evidenced by the photo above, NW 23 was once a very different street, lined more with residences than businesses. It was also just two lanes wide. But that would change.
By most accounts these bungalows were built during World War I at a time when the corridor marked the suburban fringe of the city.
Photos indicate that this stretch of NW 23 remained a two-lane corridor with a mix of residential and retail, very much like the NW 16 Plaza District that remains two lanes today.
Photos also indicate this was a nice neighborhood, with lots of homes hidden behind NW 23 along alley-sized roads like Guernsey Avenue.
The house at 2418 Guernsey is perhaps the most interesting of the group, having been expanded from this simple white frame home shown above ....
... to this two-story shingle-sided house sometime after World War II....
To this final configuration, complete with a gym upstairs.
Keep reading, and you'll see what this house looks like now. But first, let's delve into the story of Curtis Realty.
We know the home where Curtis Investment was based was 727 NW 23 - now home to Cuppies and Joe.
Mike Tharasena, who has redeveloped the stretch of homes, has a batch of photos showing the homes over the years and one thing remains constant - the large metal sign that once advertised "Curtis Investment" (it's now a black sign with no lettering).
We also know that the business was still around through the 1970s with most of the adjoining bungalows converted to shops and offices. But based on various accounts provided by veteran residents, the strip spent much of the 1970s through the 1990s in a slow, steady decline. The properties themselves were sold by a Jack Curtis to Tharasena in 2001.
Is there more to this story? Of course - but I've not been able to track down Curtis, and until I do, I'll have depend on help from you, the readers.
The above photo was taken shortly before renovations were launched by Tharasena.
The above photo shows the Guernsey house - and gives us a good idea as to where the original home starts and the expansions were added. Below is what's left of the upstairs gym.