Monday, April 2, 2012

The McVeys of Good Avenue

William Thomas McVey (1866-1922) grew up on a farm along the National Road near Franklin Road. His mother's people, the Askrens, were some of the first white settlers in the area. As a young man, he began working for the Krumrine (also spelled Krumarine) family, who ran a drugstore along Bonna Avenue in Irvington. While working there, he took note of Grace Krumrine (1869-1947), the daughter of the shop owner. They were married on February 27, 1887.

William became a carpenter and he eventually built a small gray cottage at 207 Good Avenue (sometimes known as 209) around 1890 near a coal yard. The couple raised seven children in the tiny home before William eventually built 211 Good Avenue next door in 1901 for $900. Five more children would be born in that home!

Little is known at this time of Grace, but William was a finish carpenter and he helped to complete the Christian Women's Board of Missions Building on University Avenue in 1910. He also helped to build several central Indiana schools including one in Zionsville. Sadly, he developed Bright's Disease and died at the young age of 56 leaving his widow Grace alone to raise the remaining children. City directories reveal that the McVeys moved out of 211 Good Avenue shortly after William's death in 1922. By 1930, the younger children and Mrs. McVey moved in with the older siblings along Dewey Avenue. The youngest daughter Grace, born in 1913, later became a teacher.

The historic images reveal the McVeys in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most of the photos were likely taken at the first home at 207 Good Avenue. This home burned in 1913 and eventually became part of a double lot for 211 Good Avenue.

In the top photo, William and Grace McVey pose with their oldest children in the yard of 207 Good Avenue. The image was likely taken around 1895. Note the bicycle behind the family.

In the second photo, a young girl sits on a tree stump behind the McVey home. A workshop of some kind or perhaps the first McVey house sits behind her.

The third photo is a portrait of William Thomas McVey taken around 1890. The bottom picture shows Mr. McVey with his tuba. He was part of a small Irvington band and in this picture he stands on the steps of the Bona Thompson Library.

The photos have been handed down from one homeowner to the next. Lori Malander kindly donated copies to the Irvington Historical Society so they could be preserved.

I would encourage every resident of Irvington to join the Irvington Historical Society. This wonderful organization is preserving photos, documents, and art related to the history of the neighborhood. To join go to

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