Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Westlakes Arrive in Irvington--1941

John and Dorothy Westlake purchased their first home at 234 Ohmer Avenue in 1941. The house was brand new and had been built on speculation in the previous year on the grounds of the former Butler University campus. The college had been gone for over a decade and the buildings fell into disrepair, eventually succumbing to the wrecking ball by the end of the 1930s. The site provided a chance for many local families to build or buy a slice of the American dream.

John Westlake (1907-1976) began as a bellhop for the Claypool Hotel in downtown Indianapolis and eventually worked his way up to becoming the night auditor. His wife Dorothy Westlake (1908-1984) worked across the street for the Christian Women's Board of Missions. Their daughter Susie found plenty of friends in the area as most of the people who lived around her had young children.

The historic photos reveal Susie Westlake on her new bike in 1941. In the background you can see the Missions Building before a major addition was put on in the 1950s along Ohmer Avenue. The middle photo shows 234 Ohmer Avenue when the Westlakes purchased it in 1941. The bottom photo is of John and Dorothy Westlake proudly standing in front of their Ohmer Avenue home in 1945. These images are courtesy of Sue (Susie) Westlake Thompson. More of this interesting part of the neighborhood will be forthcoming!

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