Porto Rico Avenue 1902-1971

Porto Rico Avenue, with five, empty boarded-up houses. Racine Journal-Times, February 5, 1971
Sanborn map showing Porto Rico Avenue, 9th Street, and Center Street. Notice especially 809 and 813 Center Street which still exist in 2023. The flats at 831 833 835 and 837 Center Street are long gone.
Porto Rico Avenue and inhabitants from the 1964 Racine City Directory. No mention of 921 Porto Rico Avenue.
Satellite view of 9th Street and Center Street with an overlay from the Sanborn map. It is easy to see the four houses of Porto Rico Avenue in a line facing the old railroad track right-of-way. All that is left to mark the vanished Porto Rico Avenue is the beginning of a driveway that goes nowhere. Rumors that Porto Rico Avenue had been renamed Elm Street were incorrect. In 1971, the City of Racine instructed the Traffic Engineer to remove the Porto Rico street signs and to block off the street.
Resolution No. 463: By Ald. Henes who moved its adoption. WHEREAS, what purports to be Porto Rico Avenue has never been dedicated as a public street, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Traffic Engineer is hereby authorized and directed to remove the existing street sign of Porto Rico Avenue. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Commissioner of Public Works is hereby authorized and directed to erect a barricade across what purports to be Porto Rico Avenue and erect a sign on said barricade to the effect that this is not a public street. Adopted. (Racine Journal Times, March 8, 1971)

From Bluepages, the global historical directory

The name “Porto Rico Avenue” first appears in city records around 1902, suggesting that the name was directly inspired by the United States’ annexation of Puerto Rico, which occurred in 1898.

By the 1960s, all five houses along the street were vacant and had been condemned, and the Brill Real Estate Agency, which owned the property, went bankrupt in 1967. In January 1971, Felix G. Rosa, the director of the Puerto Rican Society of Racine, asked the city to rename the street, saying that the condition of the street was “degrading to our island name.” Rosa suggested that it should be renamed “‘X’ Street or Avenue”. A Racine Journal Times editorial argued that the name should be changed in recognition of the fact that “the Puerto Rican… is an American citizen, but all too often a second-class citizen.” Upon investigation, the city council found that the supposed “Porto Rico Avenue” was never a public street, but a private alleyway, and its name had never been officially recognized by the city. In March, it ordered the public works department to remove the “Porto Rico Avenue” street sign and barricade the entrance to the alley, to make clear that it was not a public street.

The houses were later demolished, and the only surviving remnant of the alley is an overgrown driveway at 9th Street.

Bert E. Burdick, Jr., at 905 Porto Rico Avenue, was an amateur radio operator with 250 watts transmitter power using the callsign 9DLD