Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shadeland Avenue Construction--1959

The construction of Shadeland Avenue in the late 1950s changed Irvington after its completion. Businesses that operated in the neighborhood for years, moved out to the new byway. The construction of the Eastgate Mall also lured many other Irvington shop owners away from the community. Thankfully, part of East Washington Street in Irvington is experiencing a renaissance with new restaurants, gift shops, a brewery, a bookstore, coffee shops, and numerous other businesses in 2012.

In today's posts you can see Shadeland Avenue under construction in 1959. In the top photo, the photographer is facing north towards Washington Street, but he is standing on the future English Avenue interchange. If you look closely, you can see the water tower near Edmondson and East Washington Street. In the bottom picture, you will see that engineers had not completed the road south of English Avenue. Notice the peaceful woodlands and pasture land. Fifteen-year-old Bill Ferling took these shots in 1959.

Monday, February 27, 2012

World War II and Irvington

Hundreds of young Irvington residents served their country during World War II. Life magazine came to the neighborhood in the middle of the war and did a story on the widows and parents who lost a son in either the European or Pacific theater of the war. Those photos will be forthcoming.

A much happier photo will suffice for today, as a proud sailor named Tom Ferling holds his newly-born son. His wife, Evelyn Schneider Ferling, lived with her parents while her husband was away at war. He was granted leave time to visit his recently-born son, William or Bill, in April of 1944. Tom, Evelyn, and baby Bill are standing at the edge of the Schneider family home's sidewalk at 327 Poplar Road. Behind the couple, you have a nice view of 324 Poplar Road. You will note from the contemporary photograph taken in the winter of 2012, that the home behind them has been significantly changed since 1944.

Fortunately, Tom Ferling returned home safely from the war. He and his new bride eventually settled along Beechwood Avenue in Irvington. The historic image is courtesy of Bill Ferling.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Poplar Road--1937 and 1945

Previous posts revealed images of Poplar Road in the 1920s. By the 1940s, you will note that the trees had matured and that some of the same families still called the neighborhood home twenty years later. The Schneiders first moved into 327 Poplar Road in 1923. They would remain until the 1970s. By the 1940s, the Schneiders welcomed their first grandchild to Poplar Road.

In the top photo, extended family members gather along the southside of the Schneider home on Christmas Day in 1937. In the second photo, William Schneider appears to be handing something to his grandson, Bill Ferling, in April of 1945. Behind them, you can see 333, 337, and 339 Poplar Road. In the bottom photo, Bill Ferling takes a ride down Poplar Road on his tricycle. It looks like this photo was taken on the same day in April of 1945. Many houses along the east side of Poplar can be seen in this photo. The historic images are courtesy of Bill Ferling.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Poplar Road Scenes--1925/1926/1935

Poplar Road winds through the small enclave of Pleasanton in western Irvington. The street cuts through the center of the neighborhood and intersects with Maple and Norway. Although the subject of the photos is usually Evelyn Schneider of 327 Poplar Road, you can get a glimpse of several other houses north of the Schneider home. All of the homes visible in today's post are bungalows and sit at 327, 333, 337, and 339 Poplar Road.

In the top photo, Evelyn Schneider poses with her doll. Behind her, you can see the newly built house at 333 Poplar Road. In second photo, taken around 1925, Evelyn poses with a neighborhood cat after a snowfall. She is sitting in front of her childhood home at 327 Poplar Road.

In the third photo, Evelyn Schneider poses with her good friend Virginia Buddenbaum after a snowstorm. The residents along Poplar Road have already done their civic duty and shoveled the sidewalks. The photo was likely taken around 1926. Behind the girls, you can see 333, 337, and 339 Poplar Road. In the bottom photo likely shot around 1935, a taller Evelyn Schneider plays with her dog "Gobi." Behind her, you have a nice view of 333 Poplar Road. The historic images are courtesy of Bill Ferling.

Pleasanton was not originally included within Irvington's National Register boundaries in 1987, but it should have been. That oversight has been rectified and it is now included as of 2010. Dan Marshall, a Pleasanton resident, is compiling a history of the neighborhood. Drop him an e-mail if your family has lived here as he would love to hear from you. Dan may be contacted at irv1870@yahoo.com.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fun Ride With a Goat! 1925

Little Evelyn Schneider of 327 Poplar Road enjoys her ride in a wagon being pulled by a goat. An entrepreneur likely brought the goat into the neighborhood and offered families the chance to get their photo taken with the animal. Evelyn clearly enjoyed the experience. The Schneiders dwelled in a lovely bungalow in the Pleasanton section of Irvington. You may learn more about this family by clicking on the link below. The historic image is courtesy of Bill Ferling.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Two Early Views of Pleasanton--1923

These historic photographs reveal an emerging neighborhood in 1923. Pleasanton had only begun as a development only a few years prior to these snapshots. One of the earliest families to call Pleasanton home were the Schneiders. They dwelled at 327 Poplar Road for decades. The home appears to have been built by Samuel Montgomery, who also saw to the construction of two other homes along the street.

In the top photo, little Evelyn Schneider enjoys the snow. Behind her sit vacant lots that would later host several homes along Poplar Road and Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. The two houses visible in the background are 341 Poplar (built by Samuel Montgomery) and 5246 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. I have included that same view in 2012. I have also included a contemporary view of the stately brick American Four Square at 5246 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive.

In the second historic photo, you will see Evelyn standing in front of her home at 327 Poplar Road with her mother, Myrtle Schneider, and aunt looking on. The two houses behind the women are the rear views of 5224 and 5228 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1923. Although the rooflines are different, you will note that the houses are surprisingly similar. I have included a street view of those two homes in 2012 so that you can see the same is true of the front of the dwellings as well. The main entrance to both homes is on the south side away from the street. The historic images are courtesy of Bill Ferling.

Dan Marshall, a Pleasanton resident, is compiling a history of the neighborhood. If you have any interesting stories or photos please contact him at irv1870@yahoo.com . (You can clearly see that he is an Irvington historian with this e-mail!) More photos of this charming section of Irvington will be forthcoming.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Welcome to Pleasanton!

One of the best kept secrets in Irvington is the beautiful little enclave of Pleasanton located east of Emerson and south of Michigan Street. Platted in 1915 by William Alexander Ketchum, the neighborhood has recently been added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. Ketchum's plat mirrored Irvington's street design with curving avenues and the planting of shade trees. The housing stock is quite diverse with American Four Squares, bungalows, and various revival styles. Most of the housing went up in the early and mid-1920s. Today the neighborhood is fortunate to have reproduction street lights that add to the charm. In the coming days, you shall see several historic views of this interesting neighborhood. Dan Marshall, a Pleasanton resident, has begun to document the history of the neighborhood. More details on that project will also be posted.

The only historic image for today is that of Evelyn Schneider, who is standing in front of her childhood at 327 Poplar Road in 1925. The Schneiders lived in that bungalow for decades. The historic image is courtesy of Bill Ferling.

The contemporary images were taken on February 20, 2012.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Victorian Cottage--1900

Mary Huber proudly stands in front of her beautiful Queen Anne cottage at 141 South Hawthorne Lane. The photo was taken sometime between 1899 and 1902. Mrs. Huber was the widow of John Huber, the former town marshall of Irvington. Her daughter, Cora, lived next door at 145 South Hawthorne.

There are so many things I enjoy about this photo. Notice that the house was painted at least two and possibly three colors. Current or future owners will have a gem if they decide to restore the porch and remove the aluminum siding that currently encases the home. Mrs. Huber was clearly in love with her yard. Morning glories are growing up the porch and on the side of the house. The front yard is filled with flowers and yucca plants. Some young trees are starting to grow. Can you image how this scene would have looked had it been a color photo? It is all so lush!

The contemporary photo shows the same house in 2011. Much of the charm of the Victorian cottage is gone, but it could easily return. You may learn more about the Huber family by clicking on the "Huber Family" link below or the "Hawthorne Lane" link. The historic image is courtesy of Don Rouse.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bosart Avenue--1925/1946/2012

Bosart Avenue is five blocks west of Emerson Avenue. North of Michigan Street, the avenue is considered part of Emerson Heights. South it seems to be a part of Bosart Heirs. The Bosart family still lived in the area in 1925 when the top photo was taken. Behind the boys you can see the west side of the street north of 320 North Bosart. In 2012, I stood on the same sidewalk where the boys gathered and captured the same houses today. You will note that much has changed since 1925. In the second photo, a very young Bill Ferling goes for a drive in his sleek new toy car in 1946. Bill is parked in nearly the same spot as the young boys of the previous photo twenty-one years later. Bosart looks very peaceful and quiet in this photo. The historic images are courtesy of Bill Ferling.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Birthday Party--1923

Nine-year old Thomas Ferling proudly stands next to his friends on the occasion of his birthday party on September 2, 1923. The Ferlings dwelled at 311 North Bosart Avenue although you can really see the charming bungalow at 315 N. Bosart Avenue behind the kids better than the Ferling home. Notice how dressed up the children are and some of them appear to be holding gifts or toys. Many of the children in the photo lived in nearby homes.

Pictured from left to right are: Mary Margaret Flarey, Oscar Bosart, Jim Crawford, Jane Bosart, Constance Bailey, Robert Ferling, Charles Miller, Josephine Geis, and Thomas Ferling. Both houses are still standing although the lovely bungalow pictured has been greatly altered since 1923. The historic image is courtesy of Bill Ferling.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Tharp Investments, which owns 5502 EastWashington Street, will be asking for permission to demolish the former Irvington Post Office and Hook's Drug Store. Tharp Investments has been responsible for the destruction of several historic buildings along Washington Street and Ritter Avenue over the years. The community has been able to thwart the company's desire for more demolition since Irvington is now a protected district. Most Irvington residents know the building for its most recent use as a blood plasma center. The corner has been the most unpopular in the neighborhood for decades. In 2002, the plasma center moved into a new building in the same block. Tharp Investments has done little to no maintenance on the vacant building for over a decade. The ravages of time are beginning to show.

Tharp Investments will appear before the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission on March 7, 2012, at 5:30PM to ask permission to demolish a piece of Irvington history. If you are concerned about this potentially staggering loss contact the Irvington Development Corporation, the Irvington Community Council, and plan to be present at the meeting to make your voice heard. More information will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Summer House, A Fish Pond, and Beautiful Landscaping

George and Rae Ferling dwelled at 311 North Bosart Avenue for several decades. Over the years, they planted and built stunning gardens in the backyard. In 1934, the Ferling men built a summer house complete with an open fireplace for grilling out. They also put in a large fish pond next to their garage. Throughout the years, the family planted beautiful tree, shrub, and flower specimens and transformed the small city lot into an oasis. The following historic images reveal this small paradise.

In the top image, George Ferling builds the stone fireplace while his two sons, Tom and Bob, work on the rest of the summer house in 1934. In the second photo, Tom Ferling proudly sits in his Adirondack chair in the completed summer house shortly after its construction. Note the lovely stone fireplace behind him. In the third photo, you can see the summer home as it appeared in 1941. Note the vines growing over the structure, the lovely spruce tree, the stone pathway, and the gorgeous flowers along the property line and garage. Louise Ferling, a grandchild, can be seen on the swing.

In the bottom photo, four generations of Ferlings gather in the rear of the backyard near the fish pond and garage. The elderly woman sitting in the metal chair was Jettie Thomas, the mother of Rae Ferling, who is holding her new grandson, Bill Ferling. The proud father, Tom Ferling, kneels behind the group. This photo was likely taken in September of 1943 shortly after the birth of young Bill.

Little remains of this Eden today. The summer home appears to have been enclosed and perhaps used for storage in 2012. The historic images are courtesy of Bill Ferling.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Ferling Home, 311 North Bosart Avenue, 1921/1949/1954/2012

George W. Ferling and his wife Rae moved into their Arts and Crafts era bungalow at 311 North Bosart Avenue around 1919. They would remain in the home for the next several decades. The Ferlings certainly must have been very proud of their home with its dark stained clapboard siding, large overhanging rafters with brackets, and brick front porch. Later photos will reveal that the couple also had an eye for stunning landscaping.

Mr. Ferling graduated from Purdue University and started working with the Big Four Railroad in 1910. He would remain with that company for the next 39 years retiring in 1949. He later served as a consultant for electrical and engineering companies. The Ferlings had two sons named Robert and Thomas, who would be reared in the Bosart Avenue home. The boys attended school nearby at the Ralph Waldo Emerson School (Number 58).

As their sons grew up and married, the older Ferlings invited the young couples to live in the upstairs of the home. The Ferlings eventually turned the second floor into an apartment. In 1933, disaster struck the family home when a fire started in the attic. Smoke filled the neighborhood, and a large crowd of neighbors watched as firemen extinguished the blaze that caused $1500 in damage. Dining room furniture being stored the attic was completely destroyed and there was smoke damage throughout the home. Mrs. Ferling, her son Thomas, and a grandchild had to flee the home. Thankfully, firemen from House 25 saved the structure from burning down.

In the top photo, Rae Ferling poses with her two young sons, Thomas and Robert in front of the two-year old home in 1921. Note that the family had not enclosed part of the front porch yet. It also appears that everyone is squinting from the bright sun overhead. I am curious about what appears to be some kind of cross on one of the brick porch columns. One Ferling family member thought it might have been an emblem for the fire department. It does not appear in subsequent photos.

The next two photos were both taken in the summer of 1949. In the second photo, a very young Bill Ferling, the son of Tom and Evelyn Schneider Ferling poses in the front yard of 311 North Bosart. Notice that his grandparents have enclosed part of the front porch by this time. They also rented out the upstairs to family members. In the third photo, Evelyn Schneider Ferling stands with her children, Jean and Bill, along the south side of the home. You can see that the home was meticulously maintained.

In the fourth photo, Doloris (a cousin), Jean, and Bill Ferling pose for a photo in 1954. Notice that the Ferlings have added awnings, a runner for the stairs, and a handrail.

The contemporary image shows the home in February of 2012. Notice, that residents after the Ferlings moved away, sheathed the home in pink rock (likely in the 1960s) in sharp contrast to the earthy Arts and Crafts colors. Aluminum siding now covers both the wood siding and soffits. Metal awnings have replaced the cloth structures. You will note that the home is now officially known as 309-311 North Bosart Avenue.

More historic photos of the rear of this property will be forthcoming. What awaits you? A goldfish pond, a summer house, and beautiful landscaping! Stay tuned. The historic photos are courtesy of Bill Ferling.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

First Day of School--1920

Bob and Tom Ferling posed for their mother in September of 1920, before going off to school at School #58. The boys were the sons of George and Rae Ferling, who dwelled at 311 North Bosart Avenue. The home seen behind the kids is across the street at 308 North Bosart. The Bosart family owned quite a lot of land just west of Irvington. The Bosart Family farmstead is still standing at the northeast corner of East Washington Street and Bosart Avenue. Much of their land was redeveloped in the early twentieth century for these homes. The Russell family lived across the street at 308 North Bosart Avenue in 1920. The contemporary photograph shows the same image in 2012. The house has been altered since the historic photo was taken. The historic image is courtesy of Bill Ferling.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Irvington Train Wreck--1960

On June 1, 1960, a passenger train bound for St. Louis, Missouri and originating in New York City derailed in Irvington along the Pennsylvania Line. The sixteen-car train crossed Arlington Avenue and as it headed towards Audubon Road, it ran over a faulty rail at Good Avenue. The four rear railcars slipped off the tracks, but did not overturn. Twenty passengers were tossed about, but suffered no injuries. Sixteen-year-old Bill Ferling, an Irvington resident, learned of the crash, grabbed his camera, and raced to the scene. He took these four images of the derailment. In the top photo, you can see the Bruckman Coal building at 203 Good Avenue. The remaining three images show the accident scene. It took several hours to clean up. Passengers from the rear cars were moved to the front twelve cars and went on to St. Louis. The Pennsylvania Line is no longer in operation, but the city of Indianapolis has plans for a bike trail to replace it sometime in 2013 or 2014. The historic images are courtesy of Bill Ferling.

Source: "4 of 16 Pennsy Passenger Cars Leaves Tracks in City; None Hurt," Indianapolis Star, June 2, 1960, 4.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Patrol Boy in Irvington--1947

Patrol Boy, David Weir, helped to protect children as they crossed busy East Washington Street at Ritter Avenue on their way to School #57. In this photo, taken in 1947, David stands ready to help. Notice the busy traffic behind him. The Hook's Drug Store in the photo sat at the northeast corner of East Washington Street and Ritter Ave. That building stands in 2012, but is in deplorable shape. It has largely been abandoned by its owners and slowly falls back to the earth. This late nineteenth-century structure has seen many uses including as the Irvington Post Office in 1910. In more recent times, it served as a blood plasma center until a newer building was constructed nearby. This image is courtesy of Sue Thompson.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Emerson Avenue Baptist Church Groups

The Emerson Avenue Baptist Church has been a part of the Irvington area since 1913 and on the northwest corner of Emerson Avenue and East New York Street since 1921. The current structure at 306 N. Emerson was remodeled in 1958. All of the photos posted today are images of various Sunday school groups from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. If you recognize any of the folks in the photos, drop us a note so that we can identify them!

In the top photo, a group of Sunday School kids pose for a photo in 1921. The only child identified in this photo is Evelyn Schneider, who is the third child from the left in the bottom row.

In the middle photo, a women's group affiliated with the church, pose in the backyard of someone's home. The photo was likely taken around 1930. The only person identified is Myrtle Schneider, who is seated on the ground in the front row and at the left. It is possible that she was hosting the event at 327 Poplar Road.

In the bottom photo, members of a graduating Sunday School class pause for a photo in October of 1949. Note that the church used to be brick. Today it is clad in stone. A very young Bill Ferling stands in the top row of the photo. Mr. Ferling also graciously loaned the photos for this post.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Life Along Beechwood Avenue--1950s

Tom and Evelyn Schneider Ferling purchased 5823 Beechwood Avenue in 1952 from Robert W. and Kathryn Wetzel Ferling, Tom's brother and sister-in-law. Members of the family would remain in the bungalow for the next forty years. Tom was an accountant for the Internal Revenue Service. The couple raised their two children, Bill and Jean, in the house. Their photo collection is filled with scenes of the neighborhood children.

In the top photo, the Ferling family gather in the front yard for a photo in July of 1954. Behind them and across the street, you can see 5820 Beechwood Avenue. That same house appears behind Mike Blaisdell, Bill Ferling's good friend, who lived along Oak Avenue. It is likely that Mike rode up just after the family photo was taken.

In the third photo, Bill Ferling poses with his beloved beagle, "Spottie" in the summer of 1954. Behind him you can see three bungalows across the street at 5828, 5832, and 5836 Beechwood Avenue. The contemporary images show the same views in 2012. The historic photos are courtesy of Bill Ferling.