Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Suburb Expands

Irvington began its life as a suburb of Indianapolis in 1870.  Eventually, the city annexed the community in 1902, but the neighborhood retained its suburban feel.  To the west, Emerson Heights began as a streetcar community in the early twentieth century.  About that same time, developers constructed homes in Irvington Terrace just to the east of the neighborhood. During the 1920s and beyond, speculators built beautiful Tudor and Colonial styled homes north of Pleasant Run Parkway.  By the 1930s, there were very few lots in the Irvington vicinity, so homebuilders expanded beyond Tenth Street and Kitley Avenue.

By the late 1920s and into the 1930s, contractors were hard at work erecting homes along the new streets of Pasadena, Irwin, Elizabeth, and Edmondson just east of Irvington.  Most of the homes constructed were modest and reflected the leaner times of the 1930s and the war years of the 1940s.  63 North Irwin Avenue has stood on the same lot since 1937 when two widows named Coza Day and Elizabeth B. Miller moved in.  The Redmon family occupied the place throughout the 1940s, and by 1952 Harold and Thelma Crook dwelled in the small brick house.

The Crooks both had an artistic side.  Mr. Crook was an amateur photographer while Mrs. Crook was an amazing artist, who actually exhibited with the Hoosier Salon.  She was a graduate of the Herron School of Art.  Mr. Crook worked at the P.R. Mallory Company on East Washington Street.  The home was already twenty years old when Mr. Crook took these two photos.

In the top photo, a portrait, Mr. and Mrs. Crook paused on a winter's day in 1958 to have their photo taken.  Mr. Crook likely took the photo with some kind of device or timer.  There are so many wonderful things to notice in this picture.  The house is meticulously clean with the magazines stacked appropriately on the bottom shelf of the end table.  Mrs. Crook, bedecked in an elegant dress, is holding a copy of Good Housekeeping.  Her decor is sparse but tasteful.  Mr. Crook, smiles as he looks into the camera, his shadow looms largely behind him and over the mother-in-law's tongue.  Outside a snow has fallen along Irwin Avenue.

In the second photo, likely taken around 1953, Mr. Crook has documented a heavy snowfall upon the home and the family car.  The Crooks would live in the house for the remainder of the 1950s and into the early 1960s.

These wonderful images are courtesy of Don and Lisa Flick.  Mrs. Flick is the granddaughter of Harold and Thelma Crook.

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