I’ve been going down memory lane lately – and right now, that “lane” is the 4th Street/Prater Lane Corridor in Reno and Sparks.
This all started with a writing prompt in a memoir class, which asked me to write about “Where I’m From.” A few days later, I came across the 4th Street/Prater Way History Project on-line. This coincidence resulted in a poem, a poetry contest, and some other writing I will share later.
It’s funny how some places feel central to a part of yourself, and how the change in a place can sometimes mirror your own changes. Although I’ve moved away and don’t hang out on 4th Street anymore, I can see the same progression as the street in myself. Starting out strong, being bypassed, and (hopefully) experiencing a renaissance.
I didn’t spend a lot of time on 4th Street, but I usually lived close to the corridor during my twenties. I really only hung out at the diner in the poem, the coffee shop at the El Rancho Motel on 4th, and occasionally a bar at Lake and 4th. When I lived in Sparks, Deer Park was a great place to have a picnic when it was too hot in the house. That was a long time ago, but those years shaped me in many ways. Those years helped lead me on the crooked path to where I am today.
The History Project tells the story of the changes on this corridor, the old Highway 40, through town. The website breaks this story up into different eras. Each era is described in an essay, pictures, and the oral histories of some of the people who lived and worked there. Many of the people in these stories are there now, holding on to the old places or building new lives.
The corridor today is a place of art and business, new colors and old faded ones, that make such a wonderful collage. Take a look at all the wonderful work that went into this project.
Which streets, lanes, and paths, are important to your personal history? What made them so? Let us know in the comments. Better yet, write the story, the poem, paint the picture, take the photo. Send your idea to Nevada Narratives and we’ll work on publishing it here. The poetry contest ends February 26th.