December 27, 2007

House numbers

This may be a boring topic, but house numbers or street addresses are important to the real estate we own, the mail we send, and the pizza we have delivered. We might prefer our own house number to be short and memorable. They are commonplace, everyday things, but there is often mystery in their assignment. The most familiar scheme for assigning is the system of block numbering, and another scheme uses distance, but the details vary. Why do numbers in Athens start at 100 but numbers in Oconee County start at 1000? Why do neighborhoods in Macon have four-digit addresses that all start with the same digit? For instance, in Sherwood Forest, where my grandparents lived, all the addresses start with a 2 followed by three more digits assigned in block style. What does the 2 mean?

These numbers communicate information, but it isn't always clear what some of the information might be.

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