From the strange-but-true file: a Kansas town has a P.E.I.-themed subdivision with old-fashioned street lamps, houses trimmed with wooden gingerbread and street names that include Prince Edward Island Street, Charlotte Town Road and Cavendish Trail.
- Anne of Green Gables stained glass piece by P.E.I. artist sold to U.S. pediatric clinic
- Green Gables-style homes a hit in Japan
The Brittany Yesteryear subdivision was built in the town of Olathe near Kansas City in the late 1980s by developers Don and Faith Bell. The Bells visited P.E.I. in the early 1980s, and one of Mrs. Bell's favourite books became — you guessed it — Anne of Green Gables.
"We just thought it would be interesting," recalls Faith Bell, now in her 80s, from her home in Olathe.
Other streets in the subdivision refer to P.E.I.'s most famous author: Lucy Maud Montgomery Way, Marilla Lane, Green Gables Street and Anne Shirley Drive.
"We saw those different names [on our trip to P.E.I.] and I got some books and I got a beautiful photograph — in fact, several."
The subdivision was one of eight the Bells built over 25 years in the development business.
They wanted this one to have a nostalgic look and feel of P.E.I., Faith Bell said, so they added gingerbread trim and steep gables to some of the houses, installed replica vintage street lamps and even put a wishing well at the entrance.
"The Bells liked to research the names and give unique character to their subdivisions," said Mary Jo O'Brien, a member of the Olathe Historical Society who lives in the subdivision next door.
When the streets were named for P.E.I. and L.M. Montgomery, O'Brien said "I just felt it was charming." She's not sure most residents recognize the origins of the street names, however.
The subdivision is still popular with young families, she added, and with mature trees the area is "very pretty."
O'Brien, a former librarian, loved the Anne of Green Gables books as a child and said "they are still a popular series" at local libraries.
Olathe was founded in 1857, and now has a population close to that of Prince Edward Island, at 135,000.
Faith Bell gets a kick out of the fact that people are still taking note of the unusually-themed subdivision.
"I think it's wonderful," she said with a laugh.