1. Missoula, Mont., is a city in western Montana with a little something magical.
2. One of its neighborhoods, Windsor Park, is home to four Harry Potter-themed streets, and some of its residents even lovingly refer to it as “Potterville.”
3. You can live on Potter Park Loop, Hermione Lane, Muggle Lane, or Diagon Lane (not Alley?!?).
When the developers looked to name the streets of the neighborhood in its beginning stages 10 years ago, they wanted “something different, something unique,” said Collin Bangs, a broker and the owner of real estate firm Prudential Missoula Properties, which co-developed Windsor Park. “We wanted something outside of the standard names you hear all over the place, and someone said, ‘Well, the Harry Potter books have interesting names.’ And that hit a key right away.”
To find that “something different,” developers turned to the children and grandkids of the people involved in the project: “‘We gotta have a Muggle in there somewhere,’ they said,” Bangs told BuzzFeed, laughing. “After they gave us a few suggestions, we had to go back and figure out what everything meant, and then we narrowed it down from there.”
An overview of Windsor Park, featuring Potter Park Loop, Hermione Lane, Muggle Lane, and Diagon Lane.
5. The neighborhood features about 200 mid-priced family homes, ranging from around $150,000 to $250,000, as well as two large parks.
6. Stay-at-home mom Jennifer Piippo is a Harry Potter fan who has lived in the neighborhood on Potter Park Loop for eight and a half years with her family.
“It was a new neighborhood with a good school district, and when we started building our house — I’ll be honest — we hadn’t even looked at the names,” Piippo told BuzzFeed. “Now it’s a fun little neighborhood with homes that we love. There’s a lot of us here who all kind of laugh about it and just smile.”
It’s been up to Piippo (a former fourth-grade teacher who introduced her students to the books) and other residents, she said, to teach Missoula about Harry Potter. “My house faces Hermione Lane, and when we first moved in, the city had spelled it wrong on the sign,” she said. “We laughed that our own city didn’t know their Harry Potter lore.”
While Piippo said she doesn’t know of anyone who has moved to the neighborhood just to be able to brag about its magical street names, there are a lot of tourists who come to visit: “We definitely see people stopping to look at the street signs, and we have people come knock on our doors, asking if we’ll take their photo.”
7. Next year, when the development is complete, Piippo said the homeowners’ association hopes to throw a neighborhood birthday party for Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling.
8. Let’s hope they have enough Cauldron Cakes!