The Ancestral Home on 46th & Ulloa was on a 2996 sq ft lot - or 0.0687787 acre. That would be roughly 43 houses per square block, which seems about right. Our modest 2000 sq ft ranch home outside of Philadelphia was on .62 acre - that would make almost 5 houses per block - and we didn't have sidewalks. (After the first year, we paid someone to mow the lawn...)
It really puts wasted space into perspective.
Loved the stories about digging in the backyards... My parents bought their first house in South San Francisco in 1957 - on the street that leads up to sign hill. On moving day - we lived at 19th & Ortega at the time - my mom sent my brother and me out back to get out of the way - I was 5, Mike was 8. My mom was upstairs packing with my 3 year old sister and the 3 month old twins - who had chickenpox. (Pop was a fireman and was required to live in the city back then. He got caught and in 1958 we moved out to 46th...)
ANYWAY - to make a long story longer, we decided to dig a hole to China or some such nonsense. I would get in and out of the hole to measure how deep we had dug, when, Mike decided to fill in the hole with me standing in it. My head was above ground, but I started to have trouble beathing. It seems the wet sand was compacting around my diaphragm.
Mike runs upstairs to tell my mom - pop was in South City with a load of furniture and stuff - and she ended up having to call the Fire Department to dig me out. He definitely got a ribbing from the other firemen when they found out about it. AND I was in the paper! Sadly, I don't have a copy - not even sure what paper it was - but I do remember seeing my picture and feeling pretty cool when kindergarten started a couple of weeks later!