Pouring one out for the Lutes Circle house

So, my old neighborhood is gone.

First, some back story. This past Friday, Helen and I were having some random conversation about things that are of import to eight-year-olds, and at some point she started asking about stitches – specifically, if I had ever had any. I told her I had, and told her about my largest wound that necessitated stitches – the puncture wound in my left palm from a sharp rock when I was in the second grade. She asked where it happened, so I told her about the place I lived at the time – on a corner on Lutes Circle in Fort Bliss, Texas.

Due to the power of the Internet, I told her “I can even show you exactly where I fell. We will get on Google Maps and I will show you my house and the park where I got hurt.”

It didn’t work out that way. I found the neighborhood easily enough. But every single house in it is gone. The only thing left of the entire housing development are paved roads and dirt.

I lived here.

You can see these odd marks in the dirt with residual vegetation that show you where the houses sort of used to be. Emphasis on “used to be” – they’re all gone, every single one of them. Single-family houses, some 2-3 story apartment buildings, the little convenience store in the middle where I can remember buying pens and comic books. Just gone.

I haven’t seen any of those buildings in 30 years, but it’s still a little weird to look at this picture and realize the whole thing is just… gone. You think of houses being lost to things like fires or natural disasters or something like that; my old neighborhood had a stray foundation for a house that had burned down and never been rebuilt. We used that foundation as a launching pad for bike jumps. So you just know that kind of thing can happen. But an entire neighborhood, just wiped away? That’s a little weird.

I’d really be curious to know why this happened. It looks as if the neighborhood was leveled in 2011 and is planned for replacement because the homes had basically fallen into disrepair.

It looks like the neighborhood is being replaced with this: http://www.ftblissfamilyhousing.com/

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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