05 September 2015

Ferguson's North Glenside

In my last post on Using Maps, the 1937 map I shared was the most colorful. Let's take a look at that one again:

The varying colors apply to different land subdivisions. A subdivision is exactly what it sounds like-- a much larger piece (tract) of land, usually farmland or the property of a large estate, has been divided into much smaller parcels for the purposes of development. You are probably most familiar with residential subdivisions, and you have likely seen a plethora of subdivisions get developed during your lifetime with "clever" marketing names like Willow Ridge or Regal Court. In fact, even if you own an older home, you probably live in a subdivision without even realizing it.

North Glenside (Ferguson) Subdivision

On the 1937 map, you can see the names "Ardsley Estates" (blue) and "Remlu Heights" (grey) on the left half of the map. The blue subdivision is slightly curious as it is spread out and separated into several groups throughout Remlu Heights. I am inferring that the overall Remlu Heights was subdivided first, and later a different developer came along and bought many of the still-undeveloped lots, grouping them into a new subdivision. To the right side of the map, a large pink subdivision is labeled "North Glenside (Ferguson)" (some of the text is cut-off in the image) and our subject house is located at the edge of it. This is the Spear tract of land mentioned in the last post, seen in the two older maps. Furthermore, the subdivision also has some letters and numbers after it-- "B 732 P 600".

The Deed

Remember when I said that on Day 1 I had some additional information sitting right under my nose? Let's re-examine the Deed from when the house was purchased last year. A few paragraphs in, we find this:

We now know that "B 732 P 600" on the map refers to the Deed Book and Page Number on record at the appropriate County department (in this case, the Recorder of Deeds-- the office name varies by state/county) where the original survey of the subdivision can be found. Note: sometimes Deed Books are referred to as "Volumes" and Pages are sometimes referred to as "Folios"-- it depends on the nomenclature used in your county.

So, this larger tract of land, owned in 1897 by Dr John C. Spear and in 1916 by Emma L. Spear, was officially subdivided on July 12, 1919. Whoever owned the tract at this time (Hmmm, could it be someone named Ferguson?) hired William T. Muldrew to survey the land, draw up a plat plan subdividing the land, and record it with the County. Presumably then, one of two things could happen-- the owner/developer could build homes himself and sell them individually, or he could sell the land parcels to individuals upon which they could build their own homes.

What Does This Mean?

Our very first "assumed" construction date of 1920 for the subject house may still be accurate, but further research is needed. We can now narrow the timeframe to 1919-1927 based on the date the land was subdivided (1919) and when it first shows up on a map (1927). Although one option for the subdivider would have been to build houses and sell them, a large percentage of homes in this subdivision are clearly from the 1940's and 1950's, so he instead likely sold off the individual land parcels after subdividing, most of which were not developed for some time. And, again, we have the neighbor's anecdote that the subject house was one of the first built. An interesting side note, looking again at the 1937 map, is that the new subdivision contains lots which are not as deep as those to the southwest (left of image), resulting in the residential roads being closer together in the new subdivision. This is the cause of the curve in all the roads at the point where the two subdivisions come together.

What's Next?

One thing I did do next was to order the listing for this survey from the Recorder of Deeds (noting that I wanted the listing that starts at Book 732 and Page 600). In the mail I received some photocopied sheets of the listing-- 3 pages total. Unfortunately, page 1 noted "Missing page from source documents", but pages 2-3 are portions of the plat map drawn by William Muldrew for "Ferguson's North Glenside".

Unfortunately again, the parcels where our house is located is either on the missing page 1 or just barely cut off of the left edge of page 2. However, all is not lost. At some point, I can see if it is possible to view the original Deed Book. I can also try getting in touch with a currently-practicing civil engineering firm in town which has William Muldrew's plan records, and who may even be able to tell me more details about this document and those like it. Looking at the document itself, it is dated March 26, 1918-- it is interesting to note that this may have been when the survey was started, as it would have been a lengthy job to subdivide 194 acres and likely needed to be approved by the client before recording it with the County the following year.

Although Google searches are sometimes fruitful, searches for "Ferguson's North Glenside" and similar yielded some current and recent listings of homes within the Ferguson's North Glenside subdivision, but little else of relevance. Mostly just links for comedian Craig Ferguson's upcoming show at the nearby Keswick Theatre (you're welcome Craig), or to the Ferguson Plumbing showroom over on Easton Road. The search will continue.

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