Monday, January 16, 2012

Lost Irvington--222 Ohmer Avenue

This lovely American Four Square used to sit at 222 Ohmer Avenue across from the Christian Women's Board of Missions. The intended object of this photo was not the house, but rather Don Ward (238 Ohmer Avenue), who was playing ball next door at 230 Ohmer Avenue at the Pflueger home in 1945. Behind him looms the ghost of the house not seen in Irvington in over thirty years.

The house used to sit along the alley connecting Butler Avenue and essentially Butler University. In 1909, Harry Wilfred Ballard and his family dwelled here. He was the president of the Indianapolis Engraving Company. Curiously, three other engravers lived in the neighborhood during this time including Harry Simpson (5743 Oak Avenue), S.Turney Downs (5803 Oak Avenue), and Charles Hackleman (34 North Ritter Avenue).

By 1912, the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity moved in and remained in the house until 1919. The home's location next to campus undoubtedly made it highly desirable for Butler students. The dwelling's position across the street from the Missions Building also made it attractive to the Reverend Oscar W. Wiley and his wife Ida. The Wileys set up housekeeping here in 1921 and remained well into the 1940s. In the 1950s, Ada M. Mosher, a librarian, lived at 222. By the early 1960s, another minister named Spencer P. Austin and his wife Margaret called the place home. The house remained listed in both the 1970 and 1980 directory, but vanished from record shortly thereafter. Perhaps some of our astute readers will be able to tell us what became of the house. In more recent times, a small home has been constructed on the site.


  1. Rev. Spencer Austin was/is still well known in the Disciples of Christ church as an official of the United Christian Missionary Society (UCMS) which replaced the Christian Women's Board of Missions (and had its HQ in Irvington on South Downey Street for many years (in part occupying buildings vacated by Butler University - I think). Rev. Austin and two dozen other UCMS ministers were members of Downey Avenue Christian Church, as was I as a child. His son, Jack Austin, and I graduated from PS 57 in 1951 and from Howe HS in 1955. He Attended Phillips University in Enid, OK, also became a Disciples minister, and had churches in Falls Church and Norfolk, VA, the last I knew of him. Probably retired by now. I remember playing with Jack (and later working on class projects) in the house in the photo. -- Ted Lollis, Knoxville, TN,

  2. Thanks for your memories, Ed!!

  3. Thanks for your memories, Ed!!