In what subtle (or significant) ways has your hometown changed since your childhood?

submitted by merari42

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44 Comments

squirrel

They have fiber internet now. I grew up offline, had to fight for every improvement from 56k modem to ISDN to DSL. Now their internet is faster than mine.

merari42 [OP]

A village nearby my hometown got fiber for the church and installed directed wifi antennas on the church tower to solve their internet problems

kandoh

They've reinvented confession for the modern age

merari42 [OP]

Technically you do not confess, but the Big5 internet monopolists track your every move like a vengeful god would do.

pastermil , edited

They built a tower not for God, but for the Internet? Blasphemous!

everett

Blasphabulous!

Sausagecat

We got a stop light and the gas station changed families. The stop light took me by surprise and I nearly ran it the first time.

ThrowawayPermanente

We have crackheads now

Chainweasel

It's tripled in population. We're up to about 3,000 people now.

Vanth

NYC, watch out!

FlashMobOfOne

Lots and lots and lots of empty places.

At least half of the retail space is basically dead.

My old shopping mall filled the half-empy food court with a climbing gym for kids and a massive video arcade, which is cool. It's more like a flea market than a mall now because the storefronts that are occupied are all local retailers.

Oddly enough, the old cookie shop in the mall is still going strong and making the same great stuff. Apparently that place is timeless.

Croquette

Every small outdoors place I grew up playing in have been razed to build more detached homes.

The city is originally small, with 2 main roads crossing each other. With all the new influx of people, it is impossible to get out of there in a timely manner by car or bus.

Vanth

The main drag didn't grow with the population, so traffic to get across the city is 10x worse.

A gay bar shut down for normal, boring business reasons and not because it was hate-crimed like the gay bar that closed when I was a child.

An attempt was made to make a pedestrian-friendly Entertainment District downtown. They forgot to make any changes to actually encourage and protect pedestrians though. Lots of cute little shops and restaurants packed in an area no one wants to walk through.

Fiber! And laid by the city so no one company can claim it to form a new monopoly. We have not one but competing fiber providers!

The football team is still massively popular, despite the golden years being 20+ years ago. So the change is maybe increased desperation intertwined with the neverending optimism that a new golden area is just a season or two out.

Optional

Less trees. A lot less.

HubertManne

its about half condo townhouse but when I was young I would be surprised if it was 10%. Conversely so many mcmansions. Way more businesses especially restaurants. They are like one step away from allowing bars when before it was dry. Oh man the flagship pool is basically a waterpark now. so jelly of the kids. crime certainly higher. In recent times guns have been fired in town which when I was young you never even heard of a police officer firing a gun. of course catalytic converter thefts. Muggings and carjacking has happened. Growing up some teens firing of fireworks was crime. Gas stations requiring prepay. This excersise is sorta bumming me out now.

Call me Lenny/Leni

The only change I think anyone would notice is the town got big on graffiti art. It's everywhere now.

zaph

My town let some kids go around and paint stuff where graffiti usually pops up. Zero graffiti. They do a little upkeep so it doesn't fade and I haven't seen tags in a decade.

Platypus

Gentrification and weed. When I was growing up, there were large swathes of town where you just didn't go after dark. Now they're all brand new office and lab space punctuated with dispensaries every couple of blocks.

👍Maximum Derek👍

A massive outlet mall opened, in a small city who's biggest attraction previously was WalMart. Now when people ask where I'm from, the response I get to telling them is "oh the place with the mall?"

Also, I've heard the school district is pretty good these days. Unlike when I was there and my high school had one of the lowest graduation rates west of the Rockies.

RBWells

The population has tripled, downtown is no longer dead on weekends, housing cost has increased by a factor of 25. Crime has dropped precipitously, we went from one of the toughest areas in the country to average. No improvement in public transportation so traffic is much worse. My kids did not know the boredom that leads to hanging out drinking in empty lots, there aren't many empty lots anymore.

morphballganon

Some previously wooded area is now suburb. A craft store was replaced by a thrift store. There are a few restaurants downtown that weren't there before.

There are probably others but those are the ones I noticed.

xkforce

*The population is 50 times what it was when I was a kid.

*All the cool places we used to hang out at school as kids are fenced off.

*The big tree that shaded half the yard of the house I grew up in was cut down. The property has been split into 3 separate "apartments" for rent. Everything was repainted and the yard looks nothing like it used to.

*Everything around town has been built up. Most of the empty fields have businesses or houses on them.

*The lake my grandfather and I used to fish at is no longer publically accessible. The lake was choked to death by algae caused by farm run off pollution.

*The main road is paved, has gutters, street lights etc. and isn't a dirt road anymore like it was when I was little.

*Trains don't go through the railroad going through town. They haven't for years so no train watching.

Underwaterbob

My hometown was in Canada's top-ten communities in decline for years. These days, it's got two-thirds the population it used to, the streets are full of deer, and quite a few farmers' fields have turned into forests. Almost everyone my age that I knew moved away long ago. Going back is always shocking.

CharlesReed

Every time I visit, I know where less and less places are, because they keep closing older places and opening new ones. It really doesn't feel like my hometown anymore. Last time I wanted to visit the music shop where I would practice piano and have recitals, only to drive by to see that it had been closed for a couple years.

🇰 🔵 🇱 🇦 🇳 🇦 🇰 ℹ️ , edited

My hometown has an AM/PM and an Arby's now.

The high school I went to was open campus when I was there; it's now closed campus and has 12 foot high fences with barbed wire surrounding the entire campus. Place looks like a god damn prison now.

They removed the large parking lot in the center of the main street downtown area to make a concrete walkway/park thing that they close off for private events every chance the city council gets (and now there is nowhere to park where all the stores and services are).

Town no longer has its own police force; every single officer except for the one who reported everything was fired for corruption and the station shut down. Now my friends and I who are still around all make fun of the DARE officer we had in school *even more.*

Absolutely nobody knew about this town until a few years ago when a cop was killed (before the station shutdown) during a traffic stop and Trump, as president still, was using it to rile people up against illegal immigrants. Place was a media circus for a week.

Other than that, it's basically still the same.

kandoh

A few nicer houses, the crappy highschool is gone, many of the businesses remain unchanged.

zaph

There are 3 more casinos and about half a million fewer trees.

vortexal

I think the most notable change is that the main hospital in my hometown was moved to the outskirts of the city. It used to be closer to the center but they moved it, possibly because it's bigger now and they needed more space to work with.

They also tore down the old courthouse and replaced it with one that, at least from the outside, looks smaller. Some of the supermarkets have also move locations and there are some new stores that have taken the old locations.

Bookmeat

Everyone I know got older.

Fondots

Long before I was born, my town was a working class mill town, steel mill, tire factory, textile mills, etc. the steel mill is still there, but it's not a big feature of the town like it once was.

Even up into my lifetime, it was still essentially a working class town, nothing wrong with it, perfectly safe town, walkable, convenient to pretty much every major highway, public transportation, major shopping areas, etc. but it just had a little bit of a reputation for being kind of a slightly lower class town compared to a lot of its neighbors.

Within the last decade or so it's kind of exploded, property values have gone through the roof, lots of cool bars and restaurants, a whole bunch of new high rise apartment buildings, etc. It's attracted a lot of yuppies and priced a lot of the old families out of the area. It's also created some significant traffic and parking issues, with new apartments and such bringing in more people, and people wanting to come into town for the bars and restaurants and such the infrastructure just isn't there for that many cars.

I can't afford to live there anymore, but with my parents and relatives who still live there not getting any younger, sooner or later I should be able to snag up one of their houses, my sister already managed to snag my grandmother's house for herself.

Like all cases of gentrification it has its plusses and minuses. The bars and restaurants and other new businesses are pretty great. Getting priced out of the town my family has lived in for over a century kind of blows, even if I have a roadmap laid out in front of me to get back. Some of my favorite cheap dive bars are no longer very cheap or divey, which is a bummer. The traffic can be a nightmare when you have to deal with it. The character of the town has definitely changed, there's a definite difference in attitude between people who have deep roots there, own homes, and intend to spend the rest of their lives here and the newcomers, landlords, house flippers, renters, etc. who don't have any real attachment to the town.

RBWells

The biggest problem I have with the gentrification here is that if all the housing is expensive, the city will suck because the people who work here can't live here. We still have all the little places for now, all the restaurants and coffee shops and the pay is not good here (for all jobs) compared to similar sized cities elsewhere. Like, do we really want cops to not live where they work? Do we expect people to commute to work at the fast food places and grocery stores, the bodegas and botanicas?

Bearlydave

I grew up in Fort McMurray, home of the Canadian oilsands.

I remember this being a small place and the local newspaper running the story that the place moved from "town" to "City" status.

In the early 2000s this place boomed. Went from about 35000 population to 90000 (there was talk of about 140000 in the region, many people flying in and working out of campus).

During this time, we were getting lots of bad press... The media running stories of rampant drugs in the area and that sort of thing. They used footage from outside the seediest bar in town at 3 a.m. of you go to any town or city and hang out at the lowlife bar at 3 a.m. you can claim how horrible the place is. In reality, this place is filled with young working families. Sure, we have some problems but then any place in earth.

The 2008 financial crisis was kind of a break. By this, I mean that this place was so busy that this slightly impact to the region meant that, for the first time in about 5 years, I had an opportunity to hire some semi-qualified people. In the past 5 years, some of the interviews I had with people (this is for IT jobs) were just ridiculously bad.

2014 saw the price of oil crash. That definitely slowed things down here, moving it from a boom town to a normal place.

2016 brought the wildfires. You may have seen it on the news. 88000 people evacuated from the city.

In 2020, a flood struck our downtown area. Folks from that area were evacuated to other areas.

Currently, we have another wildfire in the region. About 6000 people are currently evacuated but as I understand it, the fire still a ways away and it has been raining a bit over the last couple of days, so I am not overly concerned for the homes of evacuees.

So, my home town has gone through lots of chance and challenges over the years. It was built on a real pioneering spirit and I'm proud of the that the people have demonstrated through the hard times.

RizzRustbolt

Even more brutalist buildings.

Drusas

All the grocery stores have closed.

Justas🇱🇹

Loads of renovated parks and buildings, parts that used to be sketchy have mostly improved, the town center has become richer, while a lot of people who grew up here have moved to the suburbs.

son_named_bort

No more Blockbuster

hardcoreufo

In a lot of ways not much. No zoning for mulit unit lots so population probably has stayed about the same. The area around has become a lot more developed with a biotech boom. There used to be a forest across the street and now it's been turned into a whole foods and business park. The college town nearby has exploded and taken over every square inch in apartments. You can walk around town though and it looks mostly the same but hippies and college professors have been replaced by yuppy tech bro families that like their gardens much more manicured instead of lush and wild.

Gestrid

Well, they finally finished the shopping center they were building for like 15 years.

Some company bought some land and had it all setup for construction (giant mounds of red clay and everything). Then they ran out of money. And it sat there for years, visible to everyone who drove by. A few years back, some company bought the and created a shopping center.

HobbitFoot

In-N-Out arrived.

😈MedicPig🐷BabySaver😈

We had a pretty cheap NFL stadium. Then, a new owner built a Biggie! With lots of retail and restaurants around it. The team went on to win 6 Super Bowls! It's a great benefit to the town's budget.

Luckily, that whole complex is away from the center/downtown area. It has stayed very New England village like. Really nice central park and plenty of small businesses. A community theater and a new brewpub that went into the old fire station.

There are countless people that have visited town for the football games and have never seen the town center. Of course, that's a double edge sword, not inundated with people, but, lose out on more $$ for the small businesses.

BonesOfTheMoon

It was kind of a dying former factory small city for a long time, only notable for producing a pair of famous serial killers of all things, and in the last ten years it got an arts centre and suddenly the downtown is thriving. I wouldn't want to live there again but I'm glad for the city that it has some rejuvenation.

uhmbah

Small town Canada: rampant drug use

captainlezbian

Higher car theft per capita than Chicago these days. Turns out financial conservatism creates desperate people

TheIndonesianRichGirl

I’m currently living at home in Tangerang. It’s a commercial city in the local metropolitan area of Jakarta. My city went from rice fields and factories to modern office buildings for major international businesses.

They usually say that in Tangerang, everyday they build something new. It could be just about anything. It could be a shopping mall, an apartment building, or a place of recreation. I’ll never get bored in here.