A few nights ago I was out for a walk through the residential side streets of Burbank and on one street suddenly, it caught my eye. On a short block of maybe a quarter of a mile I counted no less than six paved driveways with that traditional run of grass dividing the pavement into two narrow strips. I remember hearing, but never being able to verify, stories that the grass and/or gravel strip in the middle was there to absorb the various fluids that T's often leave behind. Is this indeed the reason for the presence of that band of turf? The houses in the area were roughly built in the '20's through the 40's I'd say.
That could be a reason, but most people of the time probably put the car in the garage. I believe it was to save on concrete and also to preserve the aesthetics of a side yard. It looks nicer than a wide concrete driveway and blends into the yard better.
The Model T was not the only car that leaked oil but in the case of my family, they were just too darned cheap to spend money on the extra concrete.
Out on the farm when we do some (gravel)road "betterment" we'll often get a load of gravel that is called a "barrel lift." The gravel pit will put a block in the center of the tailgate (traditionally a barrel) of the dump truck to block the gravel. Chains let the tailgate open only 6-8" and the driver lifts the bed as he drives down the road, neatly distributing the gravel in the tire ruts and not "wasted" in the center. Why? We are frugal! We get about 1/3 more coverage that way!
The do look pretty with a long, straight driveway with a green strip down the center.
: ^ )
We had a neighbor, when I was a boy, who had a driveway like that. It must have been there before the sidewalk, because the two strips continued through the sidewalk. They also had a pit in the center of the garage where they could remove some boards and go down to work on the underside of the car!
My back hurts just looking at the double amount of edging I would have to do if I were mowing that yard!
When I was a 5-6 years old my dad was stationed in Kansas. Dad was back from Vietnam and we lived in a house that was a 103 years old in 1968. It had that same drive to a small cool old garage in the back of the house. It was dimly light and the Windows were dirty but looking back it was perfect. It was full of old car parts moto meters generators,ect . My dad went back to Vietnam and we moved back to Columbus Ga. I have thought about using that type of drive on my last building to keep my camper and my model T truck. Tim
They built driveways like that because it was cheaper.
Wow, a pit built into the garage! They probably saw it as more of a necessity than luxury back then, but today that would definitely count as a luxury and a big convenience!
House I grow up in had a driveway like that. The garage had a wood oil catch boards in the floor under under the engine location.
Friend if mine had a oil changing pit in his garage.
I think Royce has it right. Less concrete, cheaper. I was born in Burbank. My dad and I used to enjoy listening to Johnny Carson poke fun at Burbank on the tonight show.
I agree that it was a cost saving measure. If you lived in a city and had a good job and income; you could afford a nice house and a garage and driveway, but if you lived in a town without paved streets or on a farm in the country, the only driveway problem you had was trying to keep from getting stuck in the mud. Also, if you had an oil leaker it would have shown real quick. Oil doesn't act as fertilizer to grass. It is more like Round Up grass killer.
Living in Burbank a few months when I was little but being raised in new Granada Hills. I thought those driveways in the Burbank Glendale and West LA area were classy.
I live in a 1924 house, but it didn't have that kind of driveway until I bought it. It was a dirt driveway. When I added onto the garage the city made me put in a driveway, and that is the style I chose. There aren't many houses that still have them, but there are still some.
I always liked the look of these driveways. First, they look "old school", and secondly, they
offer some visual relief from an otherwise "expanse" of pavement. Not sure how easy they would
be to keep the center strip looking nice, but they do look good !
My Grand parents didn't have a driveway until the 60's the place where they lived there were two rows of houses with the detached garages in the back accessible from the alley in the rear. this was also where you put your garbage for pick up then the city claimed immanent domain and used the alleys for electric / water /sewer services. so everyone had to move the door on their garage to the other end and get a driveway to access the garage from the front they had one poured like Jerry shows.
A Google check reads that the style is called "Ribbon Driveway" and that initially driveways were placed where wagons and early cars were making ruts, and a simple fix was to fill in the ruts with stone, rock, cement, etc.
Expense was listed as one of the pros, along with less runoff, cooler temperature and other factors. One piece said this style was most popular in the 1920's.
Larry's too modest; here's a picture of his home and driveway with appropriate vehicle too!
All that needs is some blacking stain to make the concrete look
old and it would be perfect ! Oh yeah, and put a sealer on it afterward
if you live in a snow zone ... we don't want no freeze pops !
Uh, I don't think it freezes in Lomita very often. . . .
Larry doesn't even have any grease/oil stains in his grass either!!
Found this quote doing a google search of my own...
Ribbon or “Hollywood” driveways became popular in the 1920s and consist of two parallel strips of concrete, mortar-set stone or brick, or solid or turf pavers with an open, unpaved space in
between. Ribbon driveways can be incorporated into historical restoration or used to add quaint charm and character to your home. Of course, a nice looking T like Larry's sitting on top of that ribbon driveway doesn't hurt either.
I imagine the labor cost of needing twice as many forms negates the material savings nowadays, but at the time, labor was cheap and materials expensive.
Mowing lawns was a primary money maker for me as a kid. I remember these type of
driveways having been allowed to let the turf to build up over many years and the concrete
sat low, like a trough. If I edged it, it was often very overgrown and had to be cut back
a bunch to reveal the pavement. I think this is where I got my pet peeve for keeping the
turf lower than the sidewalk and driveway planes. I have torn 3-4 inches off the top of
more than one house I have owned over the years, and I marvel at some places around
town where the parking strip is 8-10 inches higher than the pavement around it, built up
by decades of sand tossed on the road during snow season, the plows then depositing it
on the parking strip, where it melts and the sand is absorbed into the grass.
Does anyone else pay attention to these details, or am I just weird, all by myself ?
Well, there is that Burger.