One of my readers and fellow PHV Army brat, Susan, was gracious enough to send some pictures she had of Patrick Henry Village in the 1960s, so here they are along with my observations and comments on each (you can click on any of them to get a larger view):
This first picture is 4465 Little Big Horn Street. The view is facing south. You can locate the building on this Google satellite view as the 3rd of 5 buildings on the south side of Little Big Horn, in between South Gettysburg and South Lexington. There’s a lot to talk about in this picture. First off, I was surprised to see the buildings painted dark green! I’m pretty sure they were white when I lived there in roughly 1977-1981, just as they are in the satellite view I linked. In the stairwell furthest from the camera, on the first floor, is where Mrs. Taylor had sort of a daycare/babysitting service in her apartment. So I used to walk to this very building every day from the elementary school!
That flat slab of concrete where the kids are playing is where I remember the dumpsters typically being, as I described in a previous entry detailing a typical apartment building. This picture reminds me that in cases like this where two buildings essentially shared the same parking lot, the dumpsters could sometimes be found in between them at the end of the street. You can see these dumpsters at the far left of the picture. In fact, I can remember pulling some big cardboard boxes out of these very dumpsters during our stays with Mrs. Taylor and playing the “tank tread” game with them, where you lay the box on its side and open at both ends, then 3 or 4 kids lie down inside and all start rolling in the same direction so that the box travels along the ground like a tank tread.
Behind the kids, along the low part of that northern wall, are a few interesting features. They’re a little hard to make out clearly, but clicking the picture to enlarge it will help. I think one of them, perhaps the white rectangle to the right, is the hatch I mentioned in the aforemented entry where, if you found it unlocked, you could crawl down into the room full of coal. On the left side of that same wall is something I’d completely forgotten about until Susan mentioned it. You can see a rectangular area cordoned off by a two-rung metal fence. As best as we can recall, this was actually an elevator leading down to the coal room! I think most of the time it was covered up by a metal trap door, so you could just walk around on it and it’d make banging noises. I think we kids also used to perch on that railing when just hanging out.
Along the south edge of the building, not visible in this shot, was one of the dirt marble courts I decribed in my very first blog entry. And just beyond that would be the big playground I exhaustively detailed in my playgrounds entry. In fact, the picture of the girl in that post features the south side of this same building in the background.
Look at all the old cars! What I find interesting is that there are two Volkswagen Beetles in the picture, because in our last year in PHV over a decade after this picture was taken, we had one too!
This next picture is a closeup of one of the cars from the first photo, but there are some things in the background I find more interesting. First, you can clearly see the stairs descending to the basement door in the back of that next building. As I described elsewhere, each building had one set of these stairs on each end. I remember there being a flat slab of concrete with poles for air drying laundry at the top of these stairs, but either this picture was taken before those were installed or else maybe not every building had them. Also, on the edge of that building you can clearly see the metal railing around the coal elevator which I mentioned above. Finally, you can see a hedge along that building which I suspect might be the same one Susan recently mentioned in the comments for my previous entry about the hedge tunnel.
Here’s another shot of some PHV buildings. Susan and I put our heads together and determined, largely by the large grassy areas, that this shot is probably of San Juan Hill street, looking north. The building from the first two pictures is also in this shot, in the background where you can see a sidewalk leading to the playground area and then to that building. For my last year in PHV, I lived on San Juan Hill street! My building is off camera to the right, though — you can just barely see a small bit of its roof peeking through. I see at least 3 more VW Beetles in this picture!
Here’s a shot of PHV with a rainbow in the background, but I’m not sure exactly where this shot was taken. The wide open area in the right foreground and clues like building placement makes me think perhaps this might have been taken from the intersection of San Juan Hill and South Lexington, but that’s just a guess.
This shot shows the interior of one of the stairwells I’ve mentioned in a few posts, like the one about Halloween in PHV which this shot exemplifies. On the right is the railing where we’d climb to the top and then try to spit all the way down to the basement. I don’t remember the walls being painted two different colors, but who knows, maybe they were like that during my time at PHV too. Also, I do vaguely recognize the square fuse box doors along the back wall, but I don’t remember if they were still in use in my day. It seems like sometimes we’d come across one of these doors just hanging wide open, but it was a bit too high for us kids so I don’t remember poking around in there at all.
Finally, Susan sent some pictures of Tompkins Barracks which was briefly mentioned in a recent post where I talked about an aerial picture of PHV which had been mistakenly credited as Tompkins. The architecture at Tompkins is clearly different than PHV, though. Although I recognize the name Tompkins Barracks, perhaps from signs pointing that way, I don’t really have any memory of ever visiting this facility. However, the last picture showing what I presume is the front gate does seem a bit familiar, but if so the memory is very hazy.