Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Long Forgotten Home Reappears Along Arlington Avenue

When archaeologists uncovered Pompeii, I can only imagine the sheer joy that they must have felt with the unearthing of each new artifact.  That is exactly how I felt when I examined this fun photograph taken of Wilda Lee McCleery in 1953.  She posed on a tricycle and was about to perform a trick with some yarn.  Behind her, you could clearly see both 314 and 316 South Arlington Avenue.  The photo revealed what the front porches used to look like on both bungalows.  I studied these dwellings and kept on looking into the photograph towards IPS #85.  At that moment, it hit me.  There is a house!  Can you see it?  It is a two-story nineteenth-century Queen Anne formerly located at 342 South Arlington Avenue.  The footprint of the old home can be viewed on a map of Irvington in 1889.  It was torn down in the mid-twentieth century for an addition to the school.  Because I am not a long-time Irvingtonian, I had no idea it existed. I immediately wondered, who lived there?  Cursory research showed that Addison and Ella Porter set up housekeeping in the place as early as 1903.  They would raise four sons and one daughter there.  Mr. Porter worked as a pressman in a print shop as did his son, John. The 1910 Census revealed that another son, sixteen-year-old Cecil P., worked as a mill hand.  Over the years the house had multiple addresses including 478 and 380.  By the 1940s, the Hibner family lived at 342.  William Hibner worked as an elevator operator for an auto and tube factory.  His wife, Bertha, kept house, and their daughter, Ruth, was employed as a telephone operator.  The 1940 Census revealed the value of the property to be at $5,000, the highest of all of the residential properties along this part of the street.  Sadly, many homes in Irvington close to commercial areas, schools, churches, and lodges have been lost over the years to parking lots and additions.  Thankfully, Wilda Lee McCleery decided to get on this tricycle on a cool spring day in 1953 and ham it up for a photograph.  What other missing structures sit in dusty scrapbooks and shoeboxes?

Wilda Lee McCleery posed for this fun photograph in front of 314 and 316 South Arlington Avenue in 1953. Behind her you can see IPS #85 and 342 South Arlington Avenue.  (Click on the photo to make it larger)
  This historic image is courtesy of Chuck McCleery.  

No comments:

Post a Comment