Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mary Louise Neier--Kindergarten Teacher for Irvington

Mary Louise Neier operated a private kindergarten out of her home at 5506 University Avenue through much of the mid-twentieth century.  A high percentage of the families living in the neighborhood insisted on the early education of their children.  The state of Indiana did not require kindergarten (it still does not in 2012) so families had to find a school.  There were several choices in the community including the Hibben Kindergarten on Pleasant Run Parkway.  Miss Neier operated the pre-school with the support of her mother Bertha and the financial backing of her father, Dr. Oliver C. Neier.  Students entered through a side door on the eastern side of the house and were not allowed in certain rooms.  Graduates of the school now entering their elder years report that Miss Neier made school fun, but she was also strict.

Mary Louise, Bertha, and Dr. Oliver C. Neier c. 1945 by Walls Studio (4018 E. Michigan St.)

Mary Louise Neier, "Queen for a Day," December 14, 1945

Mary Louise Neier was named "Queen for a Day" in December of 1945 by WIBC, a local radio station.  She was chosen because of her work with children.  They sat her on a "glittering" throne and then started handing out gifts.  All of this was done for the Save the Children Foundation.  Miss Neier was flown to Chicago where she was treated to a dinner and a show.  She also received dancing lessons and several fun gag gifts.  Then, representatives presented her with several nice items like hats, dresses, a purse, gloves, and a makeup kit.  The Indianapolis News featured her royal highness prominently on December 14, 1945.

Undated early Polaroid of 5506 University Avenue

5506 University in 2012

The photo above is an undated early Polaroid of the house.  The home was extensively remodeled by the Fogleman family in 1985.  They removed the original front porch perhaps due to deterioration.  They also collected much of the history that we now know about the Neiers.

The historic images are courtesy of William and Jamidawn Jensen.

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