Thursday, January 12, 2012

Butler University Campus Redeveloped

After Butler University moved away from Irvington in 1928, the land proved to be valuable as there was very little space to build new houses in the neighborhood because it was largely developed. In 1940, the Hall-Hottel Company (129 E. Market) purchased part of the site and built small homes along South Ohmer and Butler Avenues. Construction largely came to a halt in 1942 with the arrival of World War II, but would resume after the war.

The Westlake family purchased 234 Ohmer Avenue in 1941. For John and Dorothy Westlake it was their first home. Their daughter, Susie, fondly recalled all of her playmates who lived in the cottages around her. Her photo albums, seventy years later, are filled with pictures of children riding their bikes, playing ball, and just having fun on summer and winter days.

In the winter of 1942, Susie and her friends borrowed the family camera and snuck in the Missions Building across the street from her home. Children were not really allowed to run around in the structure, but Susie and her crew managed to get to the top floor to snap two amazing photos of the newly built homes across the street on a snowy winter day. In both photos you will see 238, 234, and 230 Ohmer Avenue. Both photos are not possible today because the Disciples of Christ added on a wing in the 1950s along Ohmer Avenue. Furthermore, she also captured two structures that have not been seen in many years.

In the bottom photo you will see 222 Ohmer Avenue at the far right of the picture. It is a two-story American Four Square. In the top photo at the far left you will see the back of 5326 University Avenue. This home was demolished to make way for the 1950s wing of the Missions Building. I also happen to think that these two photos are even more remarkable because they were taken by an eight-year-old girl. The images and stories are courtesy of Sue Westlake Thompson.

No comments:

Post a Comment