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.

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