Tag Archives: google maps

Exploring the past with Google Earth & Google Street View

Did you know?

I think it was the movie Logan’s Run where the camera pans the city and we see that McDonald’s has bought everything—McDonald’s Auto Dealership, McDonald’s Groceries, McDonald’s Drug Store, McDonald’s Gas Station, and, of course, a McDonald’s burger palace….

If I were to lay odds on something like that happening within the next fifty years, I would go 2 to 1 on Google, and 3 to 1 on Apple (Apple’s problems with the iPhone 6 might cause me to redo those odds….).

I didn’t jump on the Google bandwagon until 2008 when I started blogging. Previously, I was MapQuest instead of Google Maps, Yahoo! search instead of Google search….

Zoey the Cool CatTwo really cool Google programs that I discovered a couple of years ago when I started blogging at WordPress are Google Street View and Google Earth. Using both of those programs, from the comfort of my home with Zoey the Cool Cat resting comfortably on the printer, I was able to visit all the places I had ever lived. I didn’t remember all the addresses, but with Street View, I didn’t have to. I just had to remember what streets led where.

Here are the places where I lived for the first 18 years of life on Earth:

802 West Alice Avenue; Kingsville, Texas; 1955-1956
This was my maternal grandparents’ house and where we were living when I was born. Both of these grandparents were teachers, and I had my grandmother for English in ninth grade. One of the reasons I chose not to go to Texas A&I University in Kingsville was because, by that time, my grandmother was teaching required freshman English at A&I, and my granddad was teaching required physical education. After my experience in ninth grade, I was pretty determined never to have a relative as a teacher again….
802 West Alice Avenue, Kingsville Texas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

728 Santa Barbara Drive; Kingsville, Texas; 1956-1959
This was the first home I remember, although all I remember is that the birds used to fly into the windows (barely visible) under the roof eaves at the front right. I felt so sorry every time I found a dead bird. They did get a proper funeral from this little boy.
728 Santa Barbara Drive, Kingsville Texas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

302 Inwood Drive; Palestine Texas; 1960-1961
My dad got a promotion with Missouri Pacific Railroad, but it required us to move from Kingsville to Palestine. I remember that I used to love running up and down the front steps to the street.
This was the house we were living in when my dad killed himself because of my mom’s indiscretions. I spent 43 years looking for this house and finally found the address in 2012 on my dad’s death certificate, available online at ancestry.com. No one could (would) tell me the address because I had been lied to all my life about my dad’s death. I suppose they thought that if I found the address, I would find out the truth about my dad’s death.
302 Inwood Drive Palestine Texas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

185 S 100 W; Brigham City, Utah; 1961-1963
This was where we moved after my dad’s death. (This is the current address; I don’t know if it was the address when we lived there.) Mom’s family were Mormons living in northern Utah and southern Idaho.
This house was directly behind Food Town grocery store, which became Food King and is now named Smith’s Food King. Food Town/Food King is where my juvenile crime career started.
Mom turned to alcohol to deal with my dad’s death, which meant that we three children got neither love nor discipline, much less food. I stole lots of food from Food Town/Food King. Back in 1979, when I went to a family reunion in Utah, I went by and made restitution to the best of my recollection.
185 S 100 W Brigham City Utah

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

626 S 600 W; Brigham City, Utah; 1963
After mom remarried, we moved into the house where my stepdad and his family had lived for several years. We stayed only a few months before moving to a new home that was big enough for two adults and seven children.
I don’t remember much about this home other than it used to have a big, beautiful tree out front where I used to sit and read—Charlotte’s Web, The Boxcar Children, The Secret Garden.
626 S 600 W, Brigham City Utah

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

301 Englewood Drive; Brigham City, Utah; 1963-1965
This is where we moved after mom remarried. My stepdad also was an alcoholic, so life wasn’t any better as far as love, discipline, and food went. My oldest stepsister and I were physically and verbally abused—endlessly—and I can’t say that I was unhappy to leave the family when my wise old grandmother adopted me in December 1965.
301 Englewood Drive, Brigham City Utah

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

420 West Alice Avenue; Kingsville, Texas; 1965-1973
Back to Kingsville, and just four blocks from where my family was living when I was born.
My wise old grandmotherThis was my wise old grandmother’s house. Granddad worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad several hundred miles away in Taylor, Texas. He came home every other weekend, so it was up to my wise old grandmother to give me love, discipline, and food, and turn me from my juvenile ways. I think she succeeded.
The house still has the storm shutters (hurricane country) which my granddad and I installed in 1968 after Hurricane Beulah blew Kingsville apart in September 1967.
I also planted the two oak trees in the front yard at the same time because Beulah destroyed our mesquite, ash, and hackberry trees. I chose oak because oak and palm trees were the only trees to survive Beulah, and I disliked palm trees (still do).
420 West Alice Avenue, Kingsville Texas

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All of the pictures are from Google Street View. You have to admit that they are decent pictures for historical purposes!

Google Earth is a free program and a lot of fun.

Google Street View is simply part of Google Maps, so when you go to Google Maps, after entering an address, simply click on the picture that shows up under the address; the picture has “Street View” in the lower left corner to help.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Google Maps Street View is kind of neat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Did you know?


When I first discovered Google Maps’ Street View, I was not impressed. I saw it as an invasion of privacy. Still do. However, that has not prevented me from using it for my own personal needs. Hypocritical? Probably. Nonetheless. It’s the world we live in. lol

I recently endeavoured to find all the homes that I had ever lived in. What an interesting project.

The following is the home that my parents were living in, in 1955 when I was born. It was my mom’s parents’ home in Kingsville, Texas, all the way up to the mid-1990s:

802 West Alice Avenue, Kingsville, Texas


This is the home in Kingsville, Texas, that we lived in ca. 1956 to 1960. At the right side of the house you see a somewhat pointed roof. That’s the living room, and there is a row of windows under the eaves. Birds would always fly into those windows, cracking the windows and killing themselves in the process.

728 Santa Barbara Drive, Kingsville, Texas


When my dad got a promotion with Missouri Pacific Railroad, we moved to Palestine, Texas, ca. 1959. This is where we lived until my dad killed himself in January 1961. It took me forever to find this home because no one remembered the address. I finally found a death certificate online which had the address of the home. Imagine 55 years of not knowing the address where you lived when your dad died.

302 Inwood Drive, Palestine, Texas


The following is where we lived in Brigham City, Utah, after my mom remarried. I lived here until December 1965 when I was shipped off to Kingsville, Texas, to live with my paternal grandparents.

301 Englewood Drive, Brigham City, Utah


My wise old grandmother’s house in Kingsville, Texas. I lived here from December 1965 to August 1973 when I went off to college at Texas A&M University:

420 West Alice Avenue, Kingsville, Texas


I helped plant those two Texas live oaks in the Spring of 1967. Nice to see that they are still there. You can see storm shutters on the windows. Granddad and I installed those after Hurricane Beulah had destroyed Kingsville in September 1967. Our house escaped with just shingles torn off the roof, although we lost the two trees that my Great Horned Owl and the Screech Owls lived in. I was so sad. Granddad built that house in 1937, and I can assure you that they don’t build them like that nowadays. By the way, I intensely disliked mowing that lawn twice a week. Explains why I’ve never had a grass lawn.


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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos