Friday, December 30, 2011

Ellenberger Park Swim Team--1960

Prior to the purchase of Ellenberger Park in 1910 by the city of Indianapolis, this tract of land was known as Ellenberger Woods by local Irvingtonians. Over the decades, the city added trails, tennis and basketball courts, a skating rink, and a swimming pool. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of east side residents learned to swim in this pool or cool off on a hot summer afternoon. In this photo members of the Ellenberger Park Swim Team pose for a photo after winning the city championship in 1960. Dave Hines served as the swim coach. He also coached basketball at Washington High School. I am especially indebted to Nancy Hoff for not only submitting this photo, but including the names of most of the young people in the picture. They are listed below.

Ellenberger Swim Team – 1960
Standing: Coach Dave Hines
Steve Koepper, Will Lamb, Chuck Kiskaden, John Purvis, Dick Carpenter, Don ?, Linda Walton, Pat Overmeyer, Linda Gibbs, Kathy Griffin, Sharon Mosley
Leaning: Jack Hildebrant, Leda Williamson, Steve Doll, Dave Hollingsworth, Mandy Gelarden, Sarah Long, Margaret Surface, John Marlat, Mary Beth O’Brien, John Potts, Billy Argeropolis, Billy Overmeyer
On Knees: Kathy Williams, Randy Bohall, Phil Bohall, Bill Hoff, Lucy Marlatt, Pam Sparks, Sherene Personett, Nancy Hoff, Mary Murry, Jane Walden, Sandy Cherry
Squatting: Greg Macall, Greg’s friend, Sandy Doll, Mary Murry’s friend, Susie Hines, Sandy Mosley, Sue Cherry, Pete McArthur, Bill Hurrley, Craig?
Sitting: ???, Frank Lemons, ??? Red, Jerry Burk, Steve Hurrley, Cindy Cherry, 1960 Trophy Award, Theresa Hurrley, Diana Don’s sister, Michelle Mosley, ??? Potts, Karen Darling, Danny Potts, Elizabeth Murry, Kandy Doll

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity Photos c.1921

The Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity brothers lived in a large rambling Queen Anne styled home at 5342 East Washington Street. This large late-nineteenth-century house had been a private residence for years and made a perfect home for numerous Butler University students. It would later be demolished to make way for a funeral home in the mid-20th century. These exterior and interior photos reveal much about life in the house in the 1920s and you can also see the Victorian fireplaces, woodwork, and staircase still remaining at that time. I especially like the dining scene. You may learn more about this house by clicking the "Newlin Family" link below. These historic images are courtesy of Amy Friedly.

Monday, December 26, 2011

326 South Audubon Road in 1949 and 2011

Michael Hunt builds a snowman in front of his house (341 South Audubon Road) in 1949 after a snowstorm hit Irvington. Behind him sits 326 South Audubon Road, a large late-nineteenth-century home. The earliest known residents as of this writing were the Gray family who lived here from 1899 to 1914. In 1914, the Indianapolis Star advertised that it was for rent for $35 a month. For that hefty sum, you received an eight room home with a barn on a large lot. It appears that the Remington family leased the house at the time. Some of the other folks who called this dwelling home over the decades include the Isaacs, Keywans, Cassadys, Beagleys, Keiths, Weins, Schafers, Sigmonds, Sloans, and Coulters. The historic photo shows the porch as it was in the early twentieth century. The later Queen Anne styled porch was added in the late twentieth century. You will also note that the lot to the south of the home remained vacant in 1949. More research is needed on this very old and interesting house. This image is courtesy of Helen Hunt.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas in Irvington--1940

While Europe and Asia descended into war and violence, the US peacefully celebrated the holiday season in 1940. Although some Hoosier families had yet to recover from the Great Depression, others like the Hartsock family of 59 North Hawthorne Lane, seemed to be doing just fine. Mr. Hartsock practiced law and moved his family into his Gustav Stickley-designed home in the late 1920s. The Hartsocks were not the first to live in the house. A furniture salesman, Carlos Recker and his family, first moved into the house in 1908. This vivid photograph shows the Hartsock family Christmas tree. Notice the beautifully wrapped presents and ice cycle laden tree. You may learn more about this historic home by clicking on the Gustav Stickley or Hartsock family link below. This image is courtesy of Brian and Emily Mack.

Happy Holidays to the readers and followers of Vintage Irvington!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

After a Snowstorm in Irvington--1950

Two neighborhood children enjoy a day in the snow in the winter of 1950. Behind the young boys you can see 352 South Audubon Road. Eugene W. and Lois M. Ross dwelled in the house at that time. They were likely the second owners of the home as Raymond H. and Louise H. Matthius were the first to live in the home. They moved in the place in 1926 and stayed until the 1940s. The 1930 census reveals that the Matthius's had one son named Don, who was eleven at that time. Mrs. Matthius's thirty-year-old sister, Leona Rau, a bookkeeper, also lived with them.

Behind the Matthius home, you can get a glimpse of 5637 and 5635 Beechwood Avenue. Tracy R. and Nancy Elliott lived in the newer brick home at 5637 in 1950. The Elliotts built the house in 1940 and remained in it for decades. Next door, Floyd R. and Eva N. Taylor dwelled in the bungalow at 5635 Beechwood. Other families who occupied that small bungalow prior to the Taylors include Leonard Welsh, a printer and Frank Echolds, the Principal of Christian Park Elementary, and his wife Ferne. The historic image is courtesy of Helen Hunt.

The contemporary shots were taken in the summer and late autumn of 2011.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Winter in Irvington--1953 and 1978

Helen and Leroy Hunt dwelled at 341 South Audubon with their children Michael and Janet. Two of these photos show the family Christmas tree in 1953 and Mrs. Hunt working on a jigsaw puzzle. Mr. Hunt worked in a pharmacy and Mrs. Hunt stayed at home and raised the children. The bottom photo shows the Hunt bungalow as well as the two to the south of house after the Blizzard of 1978. These wonderful images are courtesy of Helen Hunt.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

215 South Butler Avenue Then and Now

With its ideal location across from the Butler University campus, the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority moved into this new dwelling at 215 South Butler Avenue in 1923. It is not known at this time whether the house was built for the organization or on speculation, but the young women lived in the house until Butler moved out of Irvington in 1928. Clarence C. and Hester Finch lived in the home for a year until 1930 when Henry Schwimmer, an electrician, and his wife Rose moved in and stayed until 1933.

Beginning in 1934, Clifford E. Wagoner, an insurance agent, and his wife Jean Brown Wagoner moved in and remained in the home until the 1980s. Mrs. Wagoner received national attention as a children's book biographer. She also became a beloved figure in the neighborhood reminding children that it was "going to be a good day!" (Interview with Sherri Wood Emmons, a former resident of 234 South Butler) You may learn more about her by clicking on the Wagoner Family link below.

The historic photos show the home shortly after it was completed in 1923. Members of the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority pose both inside and outside of their home. Note the beautiful woodwork, wall sconces, and interesting staircase. The historic images are courtesy of Amy Friedly. The contemporary image was shot in the autumn of 2011.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jean Brown Wagoner--Noted Irvington Author

Jean Brown Wagoner (1896-1996), the daughter of Hilton U. and Jennie Brown, grew up in the Brown mansion at the southwest corner of East Washington Street and Emerson Avenue. Her storied childhood was documented in 1980 and 1981 when she was interviewed by Lois Lemon at the then called Hilton U. Brown Library in Irvington. The tape and transcript of the interview may now be heard or read online in the digital collections of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library website.

One of ten children and a twin, Ms. Wagoner was a highly creative child who could recall playing in the Pleasant Run stream, sledding down her family's hill along with every other neighborhood child, and running through the family's orchard and lush gardens in the summers and autumns of her youth.

She attended School 57, Shortridge High School, and eventually graduated from Butler University, where her father was a member of the Board of Directors. She tried her hand at teaching and as a clerk for the Marion County Probate Court. In 1925, she married Clifford E. Wagoner. Her sister Jessica, an editor for the Bobbs-Merrill Printing Company in Indianapolis, encouraged Ms. Wagoner to write.

In 1943, Bobbs-Merrill published her first book, Louisa Alcott, Girl of Old Boston. It was the first of eight biographies written for children. Her books sold well to school libraries all over the country. She mainly wrote profiles of famous young women, but in the 1950s she deviated from her successful genre by writing biblical biographies for young people. Her books are still highly sought out today and many are still checked out from libraries all across the country. Other books by Ms. Wagoner include: Jane Addams, Little Lame Girl (1944); Martha Washington, Girl of Old Virginia (1947); Abigail Adams, A Girl of Colonial Days (1949); The Shepherd Lad, A Story of David of Bethlehem (1953); The Captive Lad, The Story of Daniel, the Lionhearted (1954); Jessie Fremont, A Girl of Capitol Hill (1960); and Julia Ward Howe, Girl of Old New York (1962).

The historic image shows Ms. Wagoner (upper far left) sitting on her son's (Philip Wagoner) front porch with numerous neighborhood children, including her own grandchildren at 221 South Butler Avenue. She dwelled next door at 215 South Butler Avenue. Several of John and Anna Cannaday's children from 223 South Butler and the Wood children from 234 South Butler pose with "Gray Granny" as the neighborhood affectionally called her. Ms. Wagoner's daughter-in-law, Mary, may be seen (upper right) holding one of the Wagoner children.

Sherri Wood Emmons, now an author herself (Prayers and Lies-2011), is in the front row and next to her sisters. The photo was likely taken in 1963 and perfectly captures Ms. Wagoner's love of children. Ms. Emmons reports that Ms. Wagoner frequently hosted teas for the young ladies along the avenue and used real silver. She was a highly creative person and turned a fallen tree into a pirate ship for the neighborhood children to play on and pretend. Ms.Emmons recalled that on each birthday, Ms. Wagoner gave her one of her books.

To learn more about Jean Brown Wagoner be sure to visit the public library's website and listen to her interviews. She tells much about the early history of Irvington. The historic image is courtesy of Sherri Wood Emmons. The contemporary photos show the same house today at 221 South Butler Avenue and Ms. Wagoner's home at 215 South Butler Avenue.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

307 South Audubon--Another View

Some houses in Irvington are better documented than others. Earlier this year, Vintage Irvington profiled images of 307 South Audubon Road taken in the 1920s. One of our readers recently stumbled upon those photos and sent images of that same house shot in the 1970s. Charles Germaine, spent the first ten years of his life in that tall home. His parents, Richard and Linda Germaine, purchased the house in 1969.

Charles reports that he had a happy childhood in the neighborhood. He played with the neighborhood children and he loved to walk down to the neighborhood market in the 200 block of South Audubon Road. His brothers all had paper routes near the home. By the 1970s, the house had seen better days. His family eventually moved away in 1978 so that his father would not have the long drive to Allison's Transmission on the west side of the city.

In 2006, the home went on the market. Charles had the opportunity to frequent an open house in his old haunt. He noted that the home had changed some from his childhood. After being completely renovated in the 1990s, the hardwood floors, woodwork, and fireplace gleamed. The porch had also been altered. His photos show the original historic porch and a hedge that used to grow along the front sidewalk.

In the top photo, a very young Charles Germain stands in the rear yard of his home around 1976. Behind him sits the small detached garage that belonged to 275 South Audubon Road, and the back of the large double at 261-263 South Audubon Road.

In the second photo, Paul Sexson, the brother Charles Germain, opens one of his Christmas presents in 1975. Note the beautiful mantel behind him. In the 1990s all of the paint was removed from the fireplace and the woodwork on the lower level of the home.

The third photo shows the the house when it was put on the market in 1978 for the listing price of $27, 500. Ludlow Realtors advertised it as, Large Rooms--Irvington area off Audubon Circle. Needs decorating. Partially floored attic, large garage--only six years old, has a basketball goal. Fireplace blocked off. Gas budget $44.00/month. (Stove, dishwasher, swag lamp and smoke alarm do not stay)

The bottom photo shows the home during the winter of 2010. The historic images and stories are courtesy of Charles Germaine. To learn more about this house click on the Buddenbaum link below.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Memories of the Attack Upon Pearl Harbor--70 Years Later

Ann Hart (Stewart), one of our contributors to Vintage Irvington, recalled where she was seventy years ago on this date, December 7, 1941. The day began as all of her Sundays had with a trip to the Irvington Presbyterian Church. After lunch, she was allowed to go over and play with her friend Alice Hunt, who lived just north of Washington Street on Arlington Avenue. It was not long before her Mother came over and walked her back across the street to her childhood home at 5930 East Washington Street. As soon as they walked into the house, her mother burst into tears and began to tell Ann about the Pearl Harbor attack.

Ann wondered and worried about many things on that day including the fate of her Uncle Roger Ruhsenberger, who was in military service. (He made it through the war and had a successful career with the US Navy.) There is no question that life changed for Irvington families after that "day of infamy," but Ann recalls wonderful memories of planting Victory Gardens and canning vegetables. The family was so efficient that Ann remarked that they ate the last of the canned tomatoes in 1958! Irvington families made the best of the war shortages. Ann noted that when a Christmas lightbulb burned out, it was not replaced. People made do with the rations. Since her father was a doctor, they were allowed extra gas rations. She also noted that her father went hunting and brought home quail and rabbit to supplement the family meals. Patients who could not pay her father cash for the medical calls frequently rewarded him with butter, cream, and farm raised chickens. Ann's mother went back to teaching as labor was scarce in many sectors of the economy.

Seventy years later that day is still a vivid memory for Ann Hart Stewart. She can even recall walking through the back gate and into her childhood home. Thanks to her descriptive note, we too, are walking through that gate and into the past.

The historic image was taken of Ann Hart (Stewart) and her cousin Roger Ruhsenberger in 1937, four years before the attacks on Pearl Harbor. I am indebted to Ann for her memories of that fateful moment in US History.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bruckman Ice & Coal Company--203 Good Avenue

Bruckman Ice & Coal Company served the east side of Indianapolis for 35 years. Housed at 203 Good Avenue, John D. Bruckman, Sr. bought an existing coal delivery company from the Coons Family in 1928 and operated on the site until 1963. Strategically situated along the Pennsylvania Railroad, Mr. Bruckman paid $100 for a spur so that the coal and ice could be delivered and the empty containers picked up via rail.

It was a family business as Mrs. Bruckman kept the books in the office and one son, John R. Bruckman, Jr. took over the business and added oil as part of the delivery service. Most homes in Irvington were fired by coal so business remained steady until many residents started to install natural gas furnaces.

The top photo shows Edward Leak, John D. Bruckman, Sr., and John R. Bruckman, Jr. taken around 1950. Mr. Leak was the only non-family member to receive a salary from the company. The contemporary photos show the site in 2011. The historic image is courtesy of Don Rouse.