Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Big House and the Little House: A Tale of Two Families

Hawthorne Lane used to be called Dillon Avenue. In 1892, Cora Huber purchased a lot from Harry Milligan along the Pennsylvania Railroad on Dillon. The home was likely completed in December of that year. Cora worked as a seamstress at the Indianapolis Shirt Factory and invited her parents to go in on the nine room home with her. Within two years, John Huber passed away in the new home leaving his wife, Mary and daughter, Cora as the primary bread winners for the family. Mr. Huber had been well known in Irvington as he served as the town marshall for several terms. After his death, the women pulled themselves together and set up housekeeping of what would become 145 South Hawthorne Lane. By 1899, all of the Huber children had grown up and moved away.

Around 1899, it was decided that Mary needed a smaller dwelling so the family purchased the lot to the north of the home and built the "small" house at 141 South Hawthorne Lane. The Hubers rented the "large" house for years to Butler students. Mary also kept boarders in her own small cottage as well. Eventually, each room in the house had a door leading outside so that Butler students could come and go without disturbing anyone. One resident of the home, Julia Florence Huber Van Cleave, the granddaughter of John and Mary Huber, remembered that as a child they waited for the lamplighter to come around each night to light the street lights. She and other children would gather the discarded wicks and use them to draw hopscotch squares on the sidewalk.

The Bruckmans, who were related to the Hubers, acquired 141 South Hawthorne Lane in 1926. Surprisingly, the house had no indoor plumbing and only a Franklin Stove for central heating. Needless to say, the Bruckmans had their work cut out for them as they also dug out a basement. The home used to have a large barn in the rear of the yard but it burned in 1927.

The Bruckmans became a fixture in the neighborhood and dwelled in the home for decades. 145 passed to other families including the Twymans, who the Indianapolis Star featured because of their lush Victory Garden planted during World War II.

Two houses side by side with a story that could have been forgotten or lost to the ages, but thankfully has been brought to our attention by Don Rouse. His great aunt, Charlotte Huber Timmerman, compiled much of this information for a family history project she completed in 1979.

About the photos:
The top photo shows the big house (145 S. Hawthorne Lane) and little house (141 South Hawthorne Lane) in 2011. You will note that 145 has been restored.

The second photo shows the small house (141 South Hawthorne Lane) in 1951. Note the fish scale shingles in the upper gable! Pictured in this image: (left to right) John R. Bruckman, Mildred Bruckman, Joan Bennett, Gene Bennett, John D. Bruckman, Christine Bruckman, Virginia Bruckman, and George R. Bruckman

The third photo shows John and Mary Huber. Mr. Huber passed away in 1894 leaving Mary a widow and fending for herself. She moved into 145 South Hawthorne Lane first and then into 141.

The bottom photo is a photograph of John Huber's town marshall badge.

These historic images are courtesy of Don Rouse. More on the Bruckmans will be forthcoming.

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