Parkland Press

Saturday, June 6, 2020

NORTH WHITEHALL: Memories of Spruce Street

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 by SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press in Columns

With public events at a standstill, readers might be interested in hearing some reminiscences from the past.

Our family moved to Spruce Street, Schnecksville in the 1950s. At that time, the section from Route 309 down Spruce Street to the point where what is now Hickory, was paved.

At the lower end of the street, Spruce continues to the left and Hickory to the right.

In the 1950s, from that Y onward, everything was a dirt road off to the right. The left section was paved to the Reitz potato cellar, then also became dirt.

When I rode my bike, the unpaved portions were dusty and full of large stones which made for a very bumpy ride.

Although there were some older houses on the street from the 1920s, most others were erected after World War II.

Veterans lived in several of the newly built houses after they came back from the war, got married and had children who grew up in the Spruce Street neighborhood.

A few of the homes were “prefab” which meant most of the lumber, roofing materials and other components were delivered to the site and assembled by the homebuyer or contractor.

The street was named after a row of Spruce trees which still exist, tall and stately, between the second and third houses down from Route 309 on the south side.

The street was said to be named by the Upper Lehigh Lions Club in a project they had for community mapping after World War II.

Spruce Street was much narrower decades ago and has been widened considerably through the years.

When the 911 system was planned some years ago, officials announced Spruce Street was to receive a different name — Russet Road.

My mother wrote a letter to the 911 committee explaining Spruce Street was named for the trees which are still there. She did not think it should be changed.

A kindly gentlemen from the 911 project visited my mother and said the name could remain Spruce Street.

In the 1950s, there was so little traffic on Spruce Street, young people played badminton and other games summer evenings on the road.

Most of the children went sledding on winter days, or even nights, right in the street. Our family had a bright front porch light which illuminated the scene.

By the year 2000, a half-dozen residents had lived on the short section of Spruce Street between Route 309 and Hickory for at least 50 years, and many were the original owners of their homes.

A few of their descendants still reside in the Spruce Street neighborhood.