History correspondent, Paula Schmidt, has been documenting photos and stories of southwestern Irvington for several months. In this post, she has managed to track down the Flanagan family, who had several connections to this part of the neighborhood. I am indebted to Ms. Schmidt for her excellent detective work and also for finding these wonderful historic images. WFG
Block Party: The Flanagans of South Butler Avenue
By Paula Schmidt
One of the amazing Irvington realities, to a suburban girl like me, was the number of extended families living in this neighborhood. I began writing about our home at 50 South Butler Avenue and the initial story was about the Schnorr family who built the home in 1920. As I filled in more recent history, I realized that there was another family story to be told, and it was one that spread through several generations and multiple homes on Butler and Julian. It is why "fond memories" for Irvington were mentioned by both the Schnorrs (see link below) and the Flanagans who revisited the home later in their lives.
When John P. (Jack) and Mary (Hittle) Flanagan purchased 50 South Butler Avenue in 1968, they knew the house because Mary Flanagan grew up next door at 44 South Butler Avenue. Her parents, George and Ellen Hittle, resided downstairs and her brothers lived upstairs. I was told that when Mary was growing up, Butler Avenue was a two-way street with curbside parking and her father was instrumental in converting it to a one-way street. From 1948 to 1968, John P. and Mary Flanagan owned a double at 40-42 South Butler Avenue, to the north of the Hittle's. They raised their family: John Jr., Jim, and Theresa, on one side of the double, and their Aunt Rosemary (Flanagan) Boswell lived in the other half. Between attending Our Lady of Lourdes School and managing paper routes for the Star and News, it seemed that the Hittles and Flanagans either, knew everyone in the extended neighborhood or they were related to many people in some way. Can you image the fun of having cousins next door as well as your grandparents?!
In 1968, there was a great deal of moving but the tradition of living next to family continued. When the Flanagan family purchased 50 South Butler Avenue, John Jr. purchased his grandparents' home and George Hittle moved just 50 yards away to 5251 East Julian Avenue. The entire family moved all of the furniture (including the piano) two houses south. It must have been quite an experience.
|James and Theresa Flanagan play in front of 44 South Butler Avenue in 1954|
|Easter Sunday in front of 44 South Butler Avenue in 1963. Pictured: Theresa, James, and Mary Hittle Flanagan|
|44 South Butler Avenue in 2013 (photo by Paula Schmidt)|
|Winter Fun: James, John Jr., and Theresa Flanagan play in front of 44 South Butler Avenue. Behind the kids you can see the Thormyer Home at 93 South Butler Avenue.|
|First Communion: Theresa Flanagan stands with her father, Jack Flanagan, in front of 40-42 South Butler Avenue in 1960. The Flanagans could easily walk to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.|
|40-42 South Butler Avenue in 2013 (photo by Paula Schmidt)|
|5251 East Julian Avenue in 2013 (photo by Paula Schmidt)|
|50 South Butler Avenue in 2013 (photo by Paula Schmidt)|