When you're lost and running late, the city's grid of streets provides order. But if you want to just stroll — that is, walk off a hearty dinner, reflect, relax — then repair to the curvaceous and leafy roads of Compton Heights, an elegant old subdivision nestled under the juncture of Grand Boulevard and I-44. The neighborhood's two main streets, Longfellow and Hawthorne boulevards, are named after literary giants. They were laid out in the late 1800s by the Prussian-born planner Julius Pitzman, who viewed "nature as neighbor, not as an enemy to be subjugated by some rectilinear grid." Under giant oaks you can gape at the heavy brick and stone mansions here, many built around the time of the 1904 World's Fair by wealthy German businessmen (the cone-roofed turrets display the castle style they preferred). Don't leave without visiting Compton Hill Reservoir Park. Its majestic 179-foot tower, built in 1898, used to be popular with citizens wanting a good view of downtown. Even today you can climb up and walk around the walls of the former reservoir and catch a glimpse of the city skyline.
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