The numbering of houses is reported to have originated in Europe. Paris was reportedly the first city to introduce the numbering system in Pont Notre Dame in 1512. In Britain, houses began to be numbered due to the Postage Act of 1765. The odd numbered houses were typically on the left hand side of the street as seen from the center of the village or town, with the lowest numbers at the end of the steet closest to the town. In Venice houses were numbered within districts known as sestieri, resulting in just six numbers for the entire city. In some cities, like Florence and Genoa, houses and business are numbered in different colors.
On most streets in the United States and Canada, odd numbers are on one side, while even are on the other. Not all numbers will be used because the numbers assigned are usually proportional to the distance from some predetermined baseline. In cities based on grids, numbers usually increase by 100 for each cross street.
Buildings in many US rural areas use to lack numbering systems and could be referred to simply by route numbers: for instance “Rural Route 20, Box 15”. Due to the 9-1-1 system, many of these areas have now adopted numbers in addition to that of the route.
The California city of Carmel-by-the Sea lacks any numbering what so ever. Houses are referred to, as an example, “Junipero 3, SW of 10th” which means the third house on the west side of Junipero Street, south of 10th street.
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