Friday, December 6, 2013

Lost Irvington--the Layman and Buck Homes

During the first fifty years of Irvington's existence, it became very fashionable to build tasteful homes along the National Road.  Washington Street became Irvington's "Main Street" with commercial buildings and streetcar transport.  Local middle class families built large Queen Ann houses near American Four Squares and Italianate villas all along the busy stretch.  With the advent of the automobile and the expansion of commerce, developers bought many of the homes along highway and razed them for commercial interests and parking lots.  This photo, taken c1930, shows the Layman home (5731 East Washington Street) on the left and the Buck home (5723 East Washington Street) on the right.  In the background you can also see the rear of the Audubon Court Apartments.

J. Thompson Layman, who might be the gentleman seen resting on the porch of 5731 East Washington Street, helped to run the family hardware business.  His parents dwelled in the large villa where he grew up around the corner on South Audubon Road.  Mrs. Carra Layman, an active clubwoman, helped to raise the couple's two daughters, Marion and Isabelle in the home.  Note the tall maple shading the house and the proper hedge in front.  The front porch gable also appears to have some ornamental bas relief on it as well.  Next door at 5723 East Washington Street dwelled, George and Anna Buck with their two sons.  Mr. Buck was the principal of Shortridge High School from 1910 until 1940.  Numerous graduates of that famed school went on to prominence including Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (class of 1940).  If you look closely, you can see stained glass windows on the east side of the home.  

The Layman family developed the Audubon Court Apartments in 1914, the first such development in Irvington.  Many others would build apartments along the street necessitating the removal of even more older homes.  Both of the houses pictured were gone by the 1950s.  The historic image is courtesy of Isabelle Layman Troyer.  

5731 and 5723 East Washington Street c1930

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