Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ready for a Ride? A Family With Cars!

Members of the McCleery family dwelled along South Arlington, Beechwood, and Downey Avenues. Like many of us, they documented each new or used car with a photograph. These wonderful images not only show beautiful automobiles, but also scenes along these three streets.  Here is just a small sampling of the McCleery family collection.

There is no doubt that Wilda Lee McCleery, the oldest child of Lee and Jane McCleery, had exceptional taste.  This gorgeous 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner must have turned a few heads when it was seen cruising through Irvington.  Notice the tailfins and the retractable roof.  In these two photos, the car is parked in front of or next to the McCleery family home at 5949 Beechwood Avenue. The picture was likely taken in 1959 or 1960.  

Shortly after trading in her Ford Fairlane, Wilda Lee McCleery opted for another convertible, a 1962 Chevrolet Nova.  She parked her car next to the family home at 5949 Beechwood Avenue around 1964.  

The McCleery family had just moved into 5949 Beechwood Avenue in 1957 when this photograph was snapped.  The car, a 1956 Oldsmobile, was comfortable and useful for hauling items. Across the street from the car, you can see the bungalows on the north side of the 5900 block of Beechwood Avenue.  The bungalow at the far left was owned by the Gray family.  Mrs. Gray had her stuccoed home painted pink.  She also drove a pink Cadillac.  

Chuck McCleery has owned many cars in his life.  He first restored a 1936 Roadster and has been restoring or driving classic cars ever since.  In 1966, he moved out of his house and rented from the McLean family at 266 South Downey Avenue.  In these photos, he documented his 1964 Pontiac Bonneville.   In the top photo, this boat of a car, was parked in the driveway of 266. You can also see a fantastic view of the neighboring home at 270 South Downey Avenue.   In the bottom photo, you can see his car back in the driveway at 266 South Downey Avenue.  He is facing south so you can see the gorgeous treelined street.  

In 1966, Chuck McCleery posed next to this 1957 Chevrolet in the driveway of 266 South Downey Avenue.   Across the street you can see some of the smaller mid-twentieth-century homes on the east side of the 200 bock of the street.  

Doug McLean, a friend of Chuck McCleery, (266 Downey Avenue) posed next to the same 1957 Chevrolet in 1966.  A clear view of the homes in the 200 block of South Downey Avenue can be seen behind Mr. McLean.  

These incredible images are courtesy of Chuck McCleery.  Some of the color photographs were restored by Larry Muncie.

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