Paradise Lost- Where Was Yours?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Huntn, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #1
    I grew up in the DC area, back here visiting family and historic sites. Went to the Chancellorville Battleground today location of Lee's greatest Confederate victory, and where Stonewall Jackson got shot by his own men... :-/

    Anyway, my lost paradise is Northern Virginia. Massive over development, masses of humanity, traffic jams 24/7. It's been transformed into a aweful place as compared to what was here in the 50s-70s. It's so sad. :(

    If I was to pick another place as a paradise lost, even though I did not grow up there, it would be it either San Diego or San Francisco area...
     
  2. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #2
    For me, it would be more sentimental: My lost paradise is Home.

    I can describe my upbringing like this: the house I grew up in, and the house I came of age in (call it 13 years and older, where my parents currently live).

    The house I grew up in was where I was a child; the neighborhood being where I could go anywhere without the fear of being picked up, kidnapped, or feared that the worst could happen to. It was the place where I could venture out on my own for blocks and still hear my mother calling me in for dinner.

    The place where I had friends everywhere. The place where we played kickball or football in the middle of the street, and knew to get off the street when a car came by. The place where if a ball went by us, it was good exercise to chase after it. The place where if we ever had a problem or disagreement that called for a fight, we handled it the best way we could: we breakdanced. If the fight was serious, we broke out the cardboard. :D

    The place where I always had an adventure, whether it was inside or outside, and our adventures were only limited by our imagination.

    Then gangs came into the neighborhood. Friends either moved away or got involved with them, which I wasn't ever going to do (my choice). Gang violence got us out of there, which was a good thing, but a bad thing because I left the only home I had ever known at the time.

    So paradise lost? Home in Omaha, Nebraska, from 1974 - 1987. Luckily, a friend of my mother's apparently bought the house, and it still looks exactly how it was when we moved. Thank you, Google Street view. :)

    BL.
     
  3. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #3
    When I was a kid, my family had relatives in D.C., so we usually spent some time during the summer months in D.C. during the late-50s and early-60s. Passenger trains were commonplace and numerous then, so we often took a train into Union Station, then took a cab to our destination. I can't remember seeing any "bad areas" in D.C. The Smithsonian was a quaint, cluttered array of extremely amazing "stuff", and I loved the clutter. Trolley cars, with overhead wires, were still operating in parts of D.C., until about '62.

    The train ride to D.C. itself is a sort of "lost paradise" for me. Today's Amtrak trains don't compare. Then, the train had a name fitting of a train bound for D.C. -- The George Washington. A visit to the dining cars during the era was a real treat. A complete menu of freshly prepared foods served by uniformed waiters, on tables covered with real linen tablecloths, complete with real silverware, china, and crystal glassware. You could book a "roomette", that gave families a small but private combo bedroom/living room, complete with a couch and a large picture window for viewing the picturesque Virginia farmlands, with mountains rising off in the distance.

    Once Amtrak took over the train in the '70s it wasn't never the same. I road it to D.C. in the early '70s with my girlfriend, but the roomettes were gone and elegant diner car had been replace by a snack bar. The diverse menu, and the tables, china, silverware, and waiters were no more. We continued our rail journey, on past D.C. heading to NYC, in another train pulled by a couple of the remaining Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 class electric locomotives originally built in the 1930s-1940s.

    Overall, the train was kinda shopworn, but the ride was still a very cool experience, with friendly workers running the show. Somewhere past Philly, my girlfriend and I dozed off in our seats, but I soon woke up to find another passenger train was overtaking our train on a parallel track. My girlfriend also began to stir from her sleep and we found ourselves staring at the people riding on the train on the other track. A few people on the other train stared back, include a young couple sitting together on that train that looked a lot like us. It was an really odd sensation. Our train speed up briefly, so for a few seconds our "twins" on the other train were right across from us, traveling at the same speed we were, staring back at us with the same sort of perplexed look that we must have had on our faces. We all gave a nervous, feeble wave to each other, and for a few brief moments, it was like we were looking at "our twins" in a mirror-universe. The other train soon accelerated, quickly disappearing from view, leaving my still groggy girlfriend and myself wondering to each other out-loud "Did we dream that?"

    Our visit to NYC was another yet another chapter in "Paradise Lost." We hung out with my girlfriend's sister, who got me high as hell in her apartment in Greenwich Village, while she told tales of hanging out with Bob Dylan and other well-known musicians of the era. Within a few days, the general ambience of the city and the "vibe" from the people, combined with the advice of most of those I'd met had me almost convinced to drop out of college and move to NYC. But for some reason I didn't. Although I returned several times, with each visit the times and some of the coolest places seemed to be changing, more and more. I still like going to NYC, but it's not the same, even tho' I have a lot more money in my pockets to spend than I did back then. Maybe I've just lost my innocence. Simple things and interactions with people seemed somehow to be "magical" back then, but maybe time has just romanticized my memories. Dunno... ;)

    Overall, I think a lot of people's early childhood years are the closest we'll get to living in "an almost perfect world." After all, you don't really have to worry about much of anything -- your parents take care of you and provide you with everything you need.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #4
    I guess, for me, it was my home town.
    A small suburb outside of Boston. It was more suburb and less urban when I was growing up, now the place is full of malls, and strip malls. Traffic going through the town is a nightmare and it seemed to have lost the small town atmosphere.
     
  5. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #5
    We had a summer house when I was a kid in the late 60 to mid 70s in Mahopac, NY, about 70 miles north of NYC. Was a sleepy, small town with a lake. Back then, it was considered the country. Was driving past the area about 5 years ago and now it's just another suburb of NYC with strip malls and big box stores. The town has lost all its charm.
     
  6. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #6
    I forgot to mention why N.virginia was a paradise (duh), beautiful rolling hills, and valleys, horse farms. We used to drive out route 50 to West Virginia from DC and before the beltway, before Dulles airport, but for reference, once outside the space that is now the beltway, you were in the country. I grew up on the Maryland side.

    In 1967 (I was 14), we moved to Upper Marlboro a quaint little town, the seat of Prince George's County and lived in the country in a very small sub division surrounded by farms. That area has been just about completely swallowed by housing. And when a new sub-division came in, what was forest, all the trees came down. That song- They Paved Paradise and Put Up A Parking Lot has always hit me hard.

    After living in the Twin Cities for 20+ years, a metropolitan area of under 2 million, and then moving to Houston about 5 years ago, a metro area of 5+ million, I've hated the "big city", traffic is a pain, and I believe larger, and more population, than the DC, Maryland, Northern Va area, yet after exploring the Northern VA area, I have to adjust my view of Houston traffic, which seems relatively easier to get around than in Northern Va.

    I'll warn anyone not familiar with the area that Interstate 95 Fredericksburg North to DC is often a parking lot. I95 has been a mess since the 80s because the interstate corridor is used by both interstate traffic and local commuters.

    My wife's parents lived in a Saugus, Mass for several years. I love that area except for all the congestion. I imagine it has gone through the same kind of development cycle as every desirable place "near civilization" has undergone in the last half century. Name a good place near any large population area in the US and you'll see the "develop every square foot" planning model at work.

    This is one reason why I envy Europe (yes a generalization). You can go to many large cities (my experience has been primarily in UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, and I have not seen the kind of sprawl that is happening on the East Coast of the US. If there is a way to make money, it WILL be developed.

    Several decades ago, National Geographic published an article comparing Chicago to Paris. At the time both cities had approx the same populations, but Paris was about 20 square miles in size while Chicago was 200 sm. Granted we have a lot more land to work with, but still, in this regard, I wish we were more like Europe.
     
  7. Huntn, Oct 13, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014

    Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #7
    iOS 8 is really pissing me off using my iPad. Working in forum posts like this, I have to be very careful when erasing. I don't know if it is Safari or this forum that is the issue, but if I tap the erase button it tends to freeze and then I lose my post. Holding the erase button down seems to work better than tapping it. Why am I mentioning this? It's because this is my 3rd attempt to get this reply finished and I've had to start over each time. :mad:

    Anyway, I agree with the nostalgia factor, such as bradl's post, but I think the concentrations of populations in large metro areas is the killer of the character of beautiful areas irrevocably for the future.

    Look at this link: http://www.peakbagger.com/pbgeog/histmetropop.aspx

    Interesting info. Since 1960, the DC area has doubled in size. NYC has ballooned from 14 to 20M and Boston has almost doubled. I think one of the reasons I love the Minneapolis/St. Paul area is that it approximates what DC was in the 1960s.

    Par for the course? Of interest we also visited West Va on this trip, a very beautiful area that seems to be depressed. Great scenery, but relatively, few jobs. I'm thinking it takes a lack of economic activity to save a beautiful place, but then how do you live? :confused:
     
  8. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #8
    Having lived in NVA for 10 years I say just go up to I-270 until Frederick MD and it turns into US15 after I-70. It turns into a four lane parkway and go 20 miles north in Pennsylvania until you reach Gettysburg. You can see the Eisenhower tower from 15.
     
  9. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #9
    Another bit of paradise lost for me.

    Ever since 1998, I've really been into aviation. I'd go to the airport and watch planes land and depart, listen to ATC, and watch the concert you actually see with how they keep landing, departing, and keep it all in time and aircraft separate from eachother.

    However, some places I remember going, somehow just aren't there anymore.. That lead me to this site:

    http://www.airfields-freeman.com

    Someone took it upon himself to get some friends together and not only map out every closed, little known, or abandoned airport/airfield in the US and territories, but to interview people about the history of each field.

    For example, in Las Vegas, I didn't know that someone who stayed at the Sahara Hotel/Casino, or went into the Apple Store at Fashion Show mall, was actually walking on a former airport. A street I would walk down all the time at my grandparent's place was actually the original airport for that town (until a new one was built). Hell, even where I am at in Sacramento, a block from me is one former airport, while I can look my window towards Sacramento Int'l Airport and see another abandoned airport 3 blocks from me.

    So like a kid sitting on Andy Devine Avenue in Kingman, Arizona or coming up from Oatman, Arizona on Route 66 (don't get me started on that paradise lost! :) ), I'd sit at some of these and imagine what things were like in their heyday, because thanks to progress and no-one wanting to spend the time, money, or real effort to preserve them, we'll never see them again.

    BL.
     
  10. olup macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I spent some time living in Rockville, MD in the Nineties, it was nearly impossible to get anywhere near I 270 from 370 within 20 minutes. There was a vast corn field/farm, King's Farm that was turned into a huge townhouse settlement. I haven't been back in over 11 years now, but things have gotten a lot worse in that town as far as development is concerned.
     
  11. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #11
    Fire up your maps and you will see the newer MD County Connector.
     
  12. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #12
    For me it’s quite close to home, the Biesbosch, an area of nature were the rivers Rhine and the Maas met.

    Over the years the whole area has been made into a tourist area paths have been laid, rush banks have been cut. It is still a place of beauty and wonder, but it has lost it’s wilderness, just after the war up until the 1970’s you could stay all day and never see another human.

    http://www.np-debiesbosch.nl/documents/home.xml?lang=en
     
  13. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #13
    Sad to hear. I've watched forests be cut down to put up housing tracks. Very disheartening. :(

    ----------

    I focused on N.Va but the entire DC area has been trashed in the last 40 years.
     
  14. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #14
    Yea a friend once should me how some towns (like Springfield or Woodbridge) were seperate towns before the sprawl overtook them. They now look like a cookie cutter suburbs now. However each NVA counties have good parkways installed that run north/south, the Fairfax County and the Prince William County Parkway, route 28 all pretty good.
     
  15. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #15
    My grandparent's summer cottage near Mackinaw City. We could see the lights of the bridge from the meadow. Uncle Carl would walk around smoking skunk-weed joints almost a foot long. There were smaller cabins where the kids and cousins could stay. We had grand times there.

    My grandparents are gone, Uncle Carl is gone, and the cottage passed to other owners and eventually burned to the ground.

    Still, the memories of those endless summers remain.
     
  16. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #16
    Another one for me, and I didn't realize it until years after I had moved away from it, then closer to it, then away from it again. And I can thank Cars for this.

    Route 66. The easiest route from Omaha to anything in Oklahoma that is not a 2-lane road is to take I-29 to Kansas City, then US-71 south to Joplin, then I-44 into Oklahoma. I was way too young at the time to know what it was, but I didn't realize that from Joplin into OKC, I was on Route 66, if not parts of it all the way down. Being on the interstate, it was always a straight, nonstop run from town to town, where the actual Route weaved around and under the freeway at various exits. But all of the towns and nostalgia was still there.

    When I moved to Las Vegas, I took the southern route (primarily to escape the snow storm coming from the Rockies), taking me through Joplin, Baxter Springs, Miami, Vinita, Tulsa, Sepaulpa, Oklahoma City, Tucumcari, Amarillo, Gallup, Winslow, and every other town you hear in the song up until Kingman.

    And living in Vegas, I didn't realize also how close to it I was. Then moving again to Sacramento, and having the in-laws living in Kingman still didn't have me realizing it. It wasn't until they took us through this revitalized ghost town called Oatman. Lots of history there, from it being a mining town to how it's one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Mohave. But you can drive old Route 66 through the mountains all the way back to Kingman, as it moves and weaves with the scenery (like how it was described in Cars) instead of missing out on the scenery around you while driving on the interstate, saving time. You get to see the old cars, the old classic gas station pumps, the entire lot.

    I'd love to drive the whole thing from Lake Shore Drive to Santa Monica, like it was also said in the movie, I'd love to see what it was like in its heyday.

    BL.
     
  17. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #17
    Recently drove from Centreville, Va to Mt Vernon by way of Fairfax Parkway, which was a godsend. :)

    In The 1960s owe drove up to the Northern pinnensula of Michigan to friends who had a cabin on the North shore of whatever Great Lake that is (Huron?) that they had built in the 1930s. Building supplies were brought in by boat. I have find memories of that trip and wonder how much the character of the Northern pinnesula has changed since then.

    We driven a little of Route 66 out around Albuquerque. I've always felt more connected to the countryside on a highway versus an interstate.:) What really tears me up is the destruction of cherished places. :(
     
  18. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #18
    You should see the Route1 Belvoir construction. They are expanding the four lanes to six lanes to Mount Verion Road from Faifax County Parkway. It will be good in 2016 but is a mess now.
     
  19. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #19
    We drove on a little of Richmond Hwy (Route 1?) too! ;)
     
  20. satcomer, Oct 17, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014

    satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #20
    Yea the change in Route one is the Government screwup of the decade. Once the new Belvoir Hospital was completed in 2005 they did make turn lane's for it on Route 1. Then almost ten years later they finally are expanding lanes for the Hospital as it is the Replacement for Walter Reed (the giant Hospital is right up on Route 1through Belvoir). Seems like they should have expanded the turn lanes before they opened the Hospital!
     
  21. DUCKofD3ATH Suspended

    DUCKofD3ATH

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    #21
    I grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Woodland Hills, Calif. Lovely place to live then because the wilderness was literally across the street. Course it's all been developed since the 70s.
     
  22. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #22
    The basis of the OP is a generational issue.

    Children, through their innocence (ignorance?) don't know about these flaws or recognize them as much as adults do.

    Besides, the world you once interpreted as paradise was already lost to someone from a previous generation.

    And people born today will experience what you see as lost, as paradise.
     
  23. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #23
    I agree that everything is relative and it's based on personal perspective, however that does not mitigate the fact that children in N.Va grow up today in a developmental morass and as adults will lament the fact that they used to be able to achieve an average 25mph on the highways. ;)

    I'll submit that areas people describe as paradises possess a natural beauty and its lost forever once that beauty is destroyed by excessive human development. Instead of calling it generational, I'd call it a universal perception.
     
  24. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #24
    That's a value judgement. Your "developmental morass" is someone's paradise.

    I understand how you see it that way, but I simply see it as primarily a reaction against change, against things as you once knew them. But at no point before you experienced your paradise or after was there a condition that was set, and optimal. It's always been changing, humans have always been encroaching and developing, and yet despite that constant interference, people have been able to experience paradise.

    It's not lost. It just changed. And it's still available to anyone open to seeing it.
     
  25. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #25
    Are there really that many people who see urban sprawl, congestion, traffic jams, and unplanned growth as "paradise?"
     

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