Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Karns Family of Julian Avenue

Grocer, Joseph E. Karns, and his wife Laura Belle Harker Karns dwelled at 5432 Julian Avenue for many years.  The Karns frequently entertained and their well-attended gatherings were often documented in the "Society" section of the Indianapolis Star.  Their daughter Kathryn enjoyed hosting events as well.  On December 26, 1913, she invited twenty-five young women to her home for a Christmas party.  She decorated the house in Christmas colors and placed holly and greenery throughout the parlor and dining room. She hosted a similar event on December 30, 1915.  The elder Karns enjoyed hosting bridge parties for relatives from Bloomington and Tipton, Indiana as well those from Rockford, Illinois.  Snippets in the local papers reveal keen insights into the day to day life of this interesting family.

Joseph Karns, a local grocer, relaxed on his front porch at 5432 Julian Avenue c.1918.

Laura Belle Harker Karns of 5432 Julian Avenue seen here in this undated photo.  

Kathryn Karns frequently made the society page for hosting and attending local Irvington events.  She posed for this photograph at the National Studio in Indianapolis likely around 1915.  

The historic images are courtesy of Phillip Karns.  The contemporary image, taken on October 5, 2012,  reveals that the Queen Anne porch is long gone and that the house has since been turned into a duplex.  The historic windows of the home were recently preserved.

5432 Julian Avenue in 2012


  1. The photo of Joseph Karns in his rocker is a real treasure. I could gaze at it for quite some time. It brings the peace and tranquility of a past that may not even have existed. I guess that's nostalgia!! Did you see the movie: Midnight in Paris? If you did, you know where I am going with this!!

  2. I completely agree! I think that is why I am drawn to most of these wonderful photographs. I would love to be able to go back in time and walk down these streets and perhaps greet Mr. Karns as he reads his book.