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The Selborne, or do you spell it Selbourne, saga

Opinion: Kosey Corner

July 14th, 2020 3:19 PM

By Joanne Kosey

Columnist

The summer saga of Selborne Road has finally come to an almost end. I say almost since there are a few little details to be taken care of, but we can use it and get to our driveways.

I have written about this before, but to refresh your memories or tell you something new, this is the third time since 1969 Selborne has had work done on it. It is a long street and much traveled and is even what can be termed a "cut through" street, allowing drivers to bypass Harlem Avenue traffic. 

Years -- and I mean years -- ago, a police car manned by "the Silver Fox" policeman Danny Formato would park at 629 Selborne to catch speeders or those who would 'slide' or 'blow' the stop sign at the corner of Longcommon and Harlem. 

His nickname came from his resemblance to the movie actor Jeff Chandler. The Silver Fox never gave anyone a pass, except my mother. He told her since her daughter and his son went to school together he would let her go. My mother was speeding? Shame on you, Lena.

Now with the repairs came a change in the street signs and the spelling of the road's name itself. When I was growing up, the street was spelled "Selbourne." Then with new street signs it became Selborne, without the U. I was told they (whoever they were) wanted to shorten the name. I think they just made a mistake. 

I did a little online research (I should have gone to the Riverside Museum) using the different spellings of the word. It is somehow connected to England. David Selbourne was a British political commentator and Raphael Selbourne was a British author. Selborne (without the U) is a village in East Hampshire famous for its association with the 18th century literary naturalist Gilbert White. It also is a town in Tasmania. So that's what I know so far.

My family has been on Selborne Road since 1941, and members of the family reside in two homes on the street. I have seen many changes on the block and have been encouraged to start documenting the saga of Selborne Road.

A good place to start would be the Gage farmhouse on the corner of Selborne and Longcommon, that is a story in itself. My story of Selborne Road will only cover the Street from Longcommon Road to Parkway Road and the small triangular park that played an important part to growing up on Selborne.

Riverside loves its history time to start adding to it.

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