Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Geislers of Colorado Avenue

Where is Irvington? This might seem like a simple question, but you can ask five different people and receive five different responses. Purists quote the National Register nomination completed in late 1980s as the definitive source. However, it might come as news for folks who live on the east side of Arlington and the westside of Emerson that they are not in Irvington. So where do we do draw the line? Many people who lived far from Emerson or Arlington considered themselves Irvingtonians. They attended Irvington churches, shopped in Irvington businesses, and attended schools in the area. I prefer, what one writer from the early twentieth century penned, when he stated that Irvington was a "state of mind."

Colorado Avenue is generally not considered Irvington by purists, but that might have come as a surprise to the Geisler Family, who lived along this street in the 1940s. Ed and Isabelle Geisler, both natives of Louisville, Kentucky moved to Colorado Avenue with their three talented daughters Fannie, Martha, and Carol. The young women became well known in the city of Indianapolis for their beautiful voices. All three of them sang in the Messiah at the Irvington Methodist Church in the 1940s. Ed and Isabelle were friends with the Ruhsenberger Family of 5930 East Washington. Mrs. Geisler and Mrs. Ruhsenberger were best friends. On January 16, 1942, Mrs. Geisler asked Mrs. Ruhsenberger if she would like to go with her to hear a presentation by Carol Lombard, the famous Hollywood actress. Ms. Lombard was in town to encourage her fellow Hoosiers to buy war bonds. Mrs. Ruhsenberger was not able to go, but Mrs. Geisler went on to the event. Later both families learned of the actress's death in a plane crash. Mrs. Geisler was devastated by the news. The Geislers and Ruhsenbergers remained close for many years even playing matchmaker for some of their children and friends.

In this historic picture, the Geislers gather for a photo in front of their home at 529 North Colorado Avenue. Pictured: (L to R) Fannie, Martha, Carol, Ed, and Isabelle Geisler. Both homes seen in this photo are still standing although somewhat altered. The stories and historic images are courtesy of Ann Hart Stewart.

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