About a year ago, when Jenna Collins looked at what was to become her home, on Ernest Street near Ninth Street in South Philadelphia, the street sign on the block was misspelled "Ernst."
"For a second, we weren't sure if we were in the right place," Collins, 30, recalled Monday with a laugh. "Even now, sometimes guests on their way to the house will call me up and say, 'Wait, is this the right street?' "
Misspellings on street signs happen, as it happens. Richard Montanez, chief traffic engineer with the Streets Department, said such mistakes are among the reasons that signs are replaced at the department's sign shop on Ramona Avenue in Juniata Park.
Signs also are replaced if they've faded over the years, or if they've been vandalized or stolen.
"I assumed these came from a machine or something," said Nyah Robinson, 16, who just started a summer job at the shop. "I didn't realize people actually made them."
Antoinette Simmons, 55, who has worked at the sign shop for 30 years, said every sign is made individually.
"We really do try not to make mistakes," she said. "But, you know, we're all people."
Montanez estimated that the city has about 200,000 street signs. The shop, he said, works on more than 100 signs a day.
It's impossible to keep track of every intersection in the city, Montanez said, so the department relies on 311 calls from residents for notification.
He said he takes spelling errors seriously.
Montanez said that each error is investigated, that mistakes can happen at any stage in the sign-making process, and that no one person is in charge of being the spell-checker.
The sign for Naudain Street at 21st Street is misspelled "Naudian," but Lauren Sweeney, 70, who has lived on the block for 16 years, never noticed.
"I'm amused that I never realized that," she said. "I usually pay attention to the street signs because I'm always directing people to this tiny block."
Fellow Naudain resident Ben Geffen, 38, also hadn't noticed the error, although his son Andre, 9, eagerly pointed out that a sign down the block reads: "No Parking in This Treet."
Leslie Grace, 35, who lives next door to Collins on Ernest, said she's known about the misspelling as long as she's lived on the block, but it doesn't bother her.
"No one knows this street exists. But one of my favorite things about it is how quiet it is," she said, adding with a laugh: "Who knows? Maybe the street sign error is part of that."