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Jill Brooks describes Asbill Court, an area that used to be between First and Second Streets.


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Submitted By:  Jill Brooks widow of the late Robert Nelson Brooks, 11-06
This entry relates to past
Category(ies) of this entry:  Neighborhoods

Our first married home was one of 12 little square cabins in Asbill Court. You will not find it on the current map; it was a strip of land between the shops on Second Street and the Sigma Nu Fraternity house on the First Street curve. Mrs. Vere Asbill, a widow by this time, was our landlady--remembered as gray of hair, and with a prominent dowager's hump.

The neighbors were an eclectic mix of married students, young couples just starting out, retirees who had downsized, the totally-absorbed university employee, and a few I never was able to meet.

The cabins, themselves, were indeed cozy: each featured a knotty-pine paneled living room; an enormous kitchen with a small stove and refrigerator; a bedroom with two windows for air circulation, as was the living room (there being no other means of cooling); and a bathroom with no tub but a shower which would have accommodated four at a time, and sufficient room for a washing machine.

Landscaping was a couple of bare patches of dirt on either side of the concrete walkway to the front door; ours sported what must have been the world's most determined quince, for it survived with no obvious means of support.

There were pyracantha bushes along the back fence, which might have gone undiscovered except for the arrival of our first child the following year. The combination of berries and blackbirds and (cloth!) diapers on the clothesline was not a happy one.

We made good friends; most have passed away. The Davis Library, which at that time was located across the street from the west end of Asbill Court, was the source of "the" definitive text on natural childbirth, which Alice Hoffman and Ruth May made sure I checked out in plenty of time. The historic building is now the Hattie Weber museum in Central park. Sigma Nu ultimately moved to its current location, and was replaced by Larry Blake's Restaurant, and the cabins found a home elsewhere when their owner died.

It was a wonderful and idyllic time, somehow more innocent--at least in retrospect. The big divisive issue at that time was whether to let Hunt's build its cannery.

This site provided with the assistance of the Davis Community Network.