Recently I was doing some family history research on Ancestry.com to help the family establish entitlement to shares in the estate of a departed relative, who died without a will. My mother's side of the family is a bit complicated inasmuch as her mother was divorced six times, and her father was divorced four times, and they each had kids by various spouses. And their spouses all had kids by still more spouses. (Good thing there was no same-sex marriage back in the 1920s and 1930s to mess up their stable family life!) So it was not all that easy to track down the birth certificates and death certificates and marriage licenses of all these people, which were required by the court (in New York for godssake!). I didn't even know in what city or what year some of these people were born / married / died! So, it was $22.95 for a month of Ancestry.com to track them down. This is what happens when you are the only lawyer in the family.
While I was doing a search on my grandfather, a 1914 Cal grad and 1917 grad of Boalt Hall, discovered he was listed in the 1912 Berkeley City Directory. These city directories seem to be something cities had before telephone directories were commonly produced. His address was listed as 2550 Haste Street. So I pulled up a map of Berkeley and, lo and behold, that address appears to be right in the middle of People's Park. Who would have thought? He appears to have moved to Smart Alec's in 1913. I'm just glad he got out of People's Park.
This reminded me of how, when we used to drive down to Fresno to visit the relatives, my dad would always inform us of the moment when we drove over the spot where he was born, the family home having been torn down to make room for Highway 99. And also of when my parents learned that the church where they got married -- the First Baptist Church of Bakersfield -- had become a restaurant called The Petroleum Pit (with the name "First Baptist Church" still nicely engraved in the stone over the doorway). At least the place they had their first date is still a football stadium!
So, have there been places in your life or the lives of your family members that have been turned to strange or unexpected uses?