I have a vivid memory of the first time I visited Weedville, which is just north of Thunderbird Road and just east of 73rd Avenue in Peoria.
I've always been interested in history, and I collect old photos and maps, and I had seen the name Weedville in an area not far from where I live. So one day I got on my bike and decided to go looking for Weedville. I found it, and it's still there. And over the years, when the pressures of life have gotten me down, I visit there.
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Of course, you could drive past the little community of Weedville a million times, and never see it. And that's just the point of these little magical places that I have been searching for all of my life. I started doing this in Los Angeles, whenever I got the "L.A. Hee-Bee-Gee-Bees" from the crowding, the noise, the confusion.
It was an early Saturday morning, and my plan was to bike through the neighborhood, looking for Weedville. If you know that area, you know that it has been a sea of red tile roofs for many years. And as I biked past subdivision after subdivision, I just knew that I was too late to find Weedville.
But when I got to an area that looked like it might be the place on the map, I stopped my bike. It was a very quiet area, and there was a little old house with a little old porch. A dog came out to bark at me and an elderly lady asked me what I was looking for. And I thought "What the heck, I'll just ask". So I said "I'm looking for Weedville!", and she said, "Well, you found it!"
If you go looking for Weedville, don't expect to see the original 1911 settlement of Ora Weed. The houses are old, but not that old. But you can feel it. Start with the Old Paths Cemetery. Walk along the open lateral. Yes, the dogs will come out and bark at you, and people will wonder why you're there. I smile to the dogs and wave to the people.
Yes, Weedville is the dumbest name that I could possibly imagine. Even if Ora Weed couldn't have known what springs to mind nowadays when the word weed is mentioned, he must have known it wasn't what people wanted to see much of in their farms in 1911. These little communities competed with each other back then, and it looks like the more successful ones had names like Peoria, or Glendale, and especially Phoenix.
|Weedville on a Google map.|
Photo above: Ora Weed and family in 1912.