I love my neighborhood.
It’s official name in Bryn Mawr, which means “high hill” in Welsh. We are almost the tallest point on Lewis Avenue; up the hill from Monte Cassino. But I always think of Bryn Mawr as really starting a few streets to the South; I informally call my little area Marysville — let me tell you why.
Before there was an expressway that cut my part of midtown Tulsa in two, my neighborhood was bounded by the Church of the Madeline on the Harvard end, and Monte Cassino/Cascia Hall on the Utica end. The houses here date from the early to mid 1930s near 22nd & Yorktown (west end) to postwar near Harvard (east).
The houses here are all a little bigger than the ones originally built just north and west — someone told me that the builders just before WWII built larger homes for the Catholic families who moved here, to be close to these churches and schools. I noticed it still when we moved here in 2000 — lots of Mary and Saint Francis statues, and houses bigger than our 1922 Swan Lake house, which was built near the old streetcar route to downtown.
Many of my neighbors have been here FOREVER. Just recently a family 2 doors away left, after almost 40 years here. And a former across-the-street neighbor was here 32 years — he was the one who told me that the mature oak tree in my neighbor’s yard was planted from an acorn from Utica Square.
One of my very first snowy commute days in late 2000 I was standing up at the bus stop at Lewis, waiting, when a guy pulled up in a pickup from my street and yelled “Where are you headed?” I told him Blue Cross and Blue Shield and he yelled “Get in then!” That was my introduction to my neighbor James, from the other end of the block. Anytime the power is out for an extended period of time, rest assured that an informal gathering will spring up in James’ front yard on the corner, with all us neighbors griping and commiserating.
I love being close enough to walk to Utica Square on Thanksgiving night to welcome Santa, work off some turkey, and begin the Christmas season in earnest.
My house and that of my west side neighbor were obviously built by the same builder — I think his name was Halsey. He may have built more around here — I see facsimiles as far away as 26th & Columbia (Bryn Mawr Proper!), and all show care has been given to them and have weathered the years very well.
We’re just now getting the inevitable transition that’s already happened on the West side of Lewis — where the facades of beautiful homes are being preserved but the back sides are being pushed up and out. It happened across the street — where Miss Pat’s 1938 home has bloated from 2,600 to over 5,000 square feet.
It’ll no doubt happen to our house, as ours is on the market now.
I’ll miss this place and my neighbors.