Thursday, June 16, 2011

151 S. Downey Avenue--1923/2011

This beautiful craftsman bungalow has stood in Irvington since at least 1910. William W. Knapp and his wife Lillian Schofield Knapp were the first to call the place home. Mr. Knapp worked as a real estate agent, abstractor for a title company, and as a contractor. The couple were married on June 25, 1904, and soon thereafter employed architect Walker Weesner to design their dream home. According to Paul Diebold's Greater Irvington, the boulders came from Pogue's Run, a small stream in Center Township. The Knapps had five children.

Although it appears that the Knapps still owned the house, they moved out of it by 1915 and lived on Linwood Avenue. The Delta Delta Delta Sorority occupied the home throughout the 1920s. Tragedy struck the family upon the passing of Mr. Knapp, who was nineteen years older than his wife. The 1930 census reveals that the family returned to the Downey Avenue home with 48 year-old Mrs. Knapp listed as the head of the household. Her 25 year-old son Allen B. worked as a salesman for General Electric Co. and her 22 year-old son David G. worked for the power company. Wallace, Gertrude, and Mary attended school. To help with expenses, Floyd Bedgley, a waiter in a cafe, rented a room. She also leased a room to Guy and Evalyn Johnston and their twelve year old son Walter.

Its position next to the Pennsylvania Railroad and Butler University likely made it an exciting place for a child. Today, the railroad has been removed and Butler moved to its current location in 1928. The older photo shows the home in 1923 when the Delta Delta Delta Sorority members lived in it. I have also included a photo of the matriarch of the family, Lillian Schofield Knapp (1881-1976). The contemporary photo was taken in March of 2011. The current owners can be seen in that photo.

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