Skid row

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A skid row or skid road is a run-down or dilapidated urban area with a large, impoverished population. The term originally referred literally to a path along which workingmen skidded logs. Its current sense appears to have originated in the Pacific Northwest.[1] Examples are Pioneer Square, Seattle, Washington,[2] Skid Row in Los Angeles, San Francisco's Tenderloin District, and the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver.

Contents

Origins

The term 'skid road' dates back to the 19th century, when it referred to a corduroy road made of logs, used to skid or drag logs through woods and bog.[1] The term was in common usage in the mid-19th century and came to refer not just to the corduroy roads themselves, but to logging camps and mills all along the Pacific Coast.[3] The source of the term as an urban-landscape reference is heavily debated, and is generally identified as originating in either Vancouver or Seattle.[1]

"Skid row" is most likely a corruption coming from areas outside of the term's region of origin, perhaps from the title of John Steinbeck's book "Cannery Row".[citation needed]


Vancouver

The 100-block of East Hastings Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, the heart of that city's "skid road" neighborhood, lies on a historical skid road. The Vancouver Skid Road was part of a complex of such roads in the dense forests surrounding the Hastings Mill and adjacent to the settlement of Granville, Burrard Inlet (Gastown).[4]

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