Older homeowner remembers The Avenues’ past, eyes neighborhood’s future

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By Antoine Thomas
April 1, 2015

Ann Diamond, 81, remembers waving at World War II soldiers passing through Cayce as they threw candy and gum at her as an adolescent. Diamond’s parents had moved the family into a house the same year it was built – 1945 – on what is now the 700 block of Lafayette Avenue.

Seventy years later, Diamond still lives in the same house she did when she was 12. Diamond says that after she married and lived away for a short period, she returned to take over the family house in 1960 and has been there ever since.

She remembers when The Avenues consisted of few houses, all dirt roads and acres of woods. Then, it grew into a neighborhood, paved roads came and most of the woods became the commercial strips of Knox Abbott Drive and 12th Street.

Diamond says she recalls walking to Brookland-Cayce High School by cutting through fields where State Street Baptist Church now stands.

Diamond says she loved the changes but that it has been hard to process everything that’s happened in the past few decades.

“I used to know just about every family, but now I don’t even know all the streets,” she says with a laugh.

Diamond says The Avenues has always been a good neighborhood but that she’s sad to see most of the residents like her turn elderly. She says she hopes younger couples continue moving in because she always feels more comfortable when houses aren’t vacant.

Through the years, Diamond said, one thing about The Avenues has remained − its convenience to everything.

“When we had more shopping downtown, it was short,” Diamond said. “Even now, with the interstate, we can go to all the shopping centers in 20 to 30 minutes.”

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