Sunday, December 28, 2014

Neighbor to Neighbor Holiday Greetings--1915

William E. M. and Pearl Hackleman first moved into their beautiful home at 5438 Lowell Avenue in 1908.  Mr. Hackleman had earned his fortune by writing Christian hymns.  Two doors down at 5452 Lowell Avenue lived a good friend, the Reverend Ennis Barney and his wife, Effie.  Mr. Hackleman and Mr. Barney were of like minds on many issues especially Prohibition.  The Reverend Barney was Superintendent of the Indianapolis Anti-Saloon League.  Mr. Hackleman sat on the board of the same organization.  Both men could breath easily in Irvington in 1915 because the town fathers had decreed in 1870 that Irvington would be a "dry" community.  (a covenant until 2000!)   The two men fought heavily for a constitutional ban on alcohol in the United States and eventually won.  It is likely that many of their Irvington neighbors agreed with their stance although these men likely noted that the parishioners of the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church allowed alcohol at their festivals!

On December 23, 1915, William Edward Michael Hackleman pulled up a chair somewhere in his beautiful home and sat down to write his friends and associates holiday notes.  One of those recipients was his neighbor, the Reverend Ennis M. Barney.  He could have dropped the card off at his house but that would have not been considered proper in 1915. At some point, a member of the Barney family would have stopped by the Irvington Post Office (5501 East Washington Street) to pick up the mail and  among their other holiday cards they would have found this nice note from Mr. Hackleman.  To learn more about the biography William E. M. Hackleman, click on the link below.

William E. M. Hackleman and his wife and family dwelled at 5438 Lowell Avenue in 1915.  This is the house as it appeared in a Butler University yearbook in 1924

Prohibitionist, Christian Hymn composer, and pillar in Irvington, William E. M. Hackleman died in a car crash in 1927.

The recipient of the card, the Reverend Ennis Barney and his family dwelled at 5452 Lowell Avenue.  Mr. Barney was Superintendent of the Indianapolis Saloon League

The historic Christmas card is courtesy of Susan Gulde.  

Saturday, December 27, 2014

North Irvington Garden District Roared With the 1920s

By the time this aerial photographer flew over northern Irvington in 1925, the neighborhood was already 55 years old. Calvin Coolidge was President of the United States and Butler University still operated in western Irvington.  The community was no longer a remote suburb.  The city of Indianapolis boomed throughout the early twentieth century and eventually caught up to the formerly independent town.  Street car lines traversed the formerly quiet enclave and nearly every lot in the original development had been built upon. However, north of Pleasant Run Parkway, speculators saw gold.  Vast open meadow and farmland still awaited and the need for land was great.

After World War I ended, developers began to clear and improve land east of Ritter Avenue, west of Arlington Avenue, south of Tenth Street, and north of Pleasant Run Parkway.  They put in the first streets by extending Campbell, Bolton, Graham, Audubon, and others.  They discarded the curvy streets popularized in the late nineteenth century in the southern part of the neighborhood for more conventional avenues on a grid.  They built modern houses complete with electricity, updated plumbing, and detached garages. Tudor and Dutch-Revival dwellings were the rage in the United States in the 1920s although many still preferred bungalows and American Four Square homes. Stucco became a popular building material.

Aerial photography became popular in the 1920s just as drone photography has become the rage in the 2010s. Three views of this large photograph reveals the first homes to be built in the North Irvington Garden District. You will be able to get your bearings once you understand that the large avenue cutting through the middle of the photograph is Pleasant Run Parkway. It dead ended into Arlington Avenue. (and still does) You will notice that the Pleasant Run Golf Course was not quite finished yet.  In the upper left corner of the photograph, you can see the Anderson Cemetery along East 10th Street.  Note that Warren Park had not been developed yet!  The streets visible in this part of the photograph include Arlington Avenue (note no houses--just small trees), Campbell Avenue, Bolton Avenue, and Graham Avenue.  The developer had extended both Campbell and Bolton up to East 10th Street, but only a small part of St. Clair Street had been completed.  On the far right of the photo, you can see the older and more established part of the neighborhood.  You will get a better view of that section in the other two views of this photograph.

North Irvington Garden District of Irvington in 1925
The other two views of the same photograph show a more western and southern view of the area.  The large manses are located along the 400 block of North Audubon Road and in the 5700 block of East Michigan Street.  You will note that there was a bridge over Pleasant Run at Bolton Avenue. You will also note that there were no houses yet on the north side of Michigan Street from Bolton to Arlington Avenue.  You will see far more trees in the more established part of the neighborhood, but today the Garden District lives up to its lush name.

Northern Irvington in 1925

Northern Irvington in 1925
So, who were these "pioneers" who moved into the North Irvington Garden District?  Most of them were young and rising in their careers.  As the economy boomed, so did the fortunes of younger Americans.  You could also now buy so many things on credit including stocks! (Cue the ominous music!) Some of these Irvingtonians had actually....divorced!  Many of them spent the rest of their lives in these homes while others, for many reasons, stayed only a few years.  Undoubtedly, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and subsequent Great Depression ended the dreams of many.  However, others continued to build throughout the worst economic downturn in American history. Let's take a tour of the homes featured in the above photo.

Campbell Avenue--North Irvington Garden District in 1925
Harry and Ruth Wofle dwelled in this lovely Tudor-Revival home at 726 North Campbell Avenue with their son Harry.  Mr. Wolfe was a sales manager for a bed spring manufacturing company.  

Delbert and Helen Giffin, both in their thirties, lived in 733 North Campbell Avenue with their daughter Betty. They later moved to Kenmore Road.  Mr. Giffin served as a personnel director for the P.R. Mallory Company.

Leroy and Florence Langdon, both in their twenties, resided at 739 North Campbell Avenue in 1925.  Mr. Langdon ran a hardware store and a drug store located in the 3800 block of East Washington Street.  He was also a pharmacist.

This small bungalow at 762 North Campbell has been altered and enlarged over the years.  A young couple, Frank and Eleanor Benson dwelled here in 1925, but they were gone by 1926.  Mr. Benson was a sales manager for the Long-Bell Lumber Company.  

Bolton Avenue--North Irvington Garden District in 1925

Room to play:  Kenneth and Francis Badger were the first to dwell along Bolton Avenue in the Garden District. They lived in this stuccoed bungalow at 729 North Bolton with their two daughters, Barbara and Judith. The girls had plenty of open space to use as a playground in 1925.
Graham Avenue--North Irvington Garden District in 1925

Halford and Edna Howland dwelled in this stuccoed bungalow at 719 North Graham Avenue in 1925. They actually built the house in 1919 making it one of the oldest homes in the district.  In 1930, their home was valued at $8,500.  

Charles O Fouts, a salesman, lived in this Dutch Colonial Revival at 723 North Graham Avenue in 1925.  More research is needed on this family.
Stephen and Audrey Steinbuch, a young couple, resided in this house at 731 North Graham Avenue in 1925. They had four children.  Mr. Steinbuch earned a comfortable living as a draftsman.  

Charles and Hazel Flowers, both in their forties, lived in this stuccoed beauty at 734 North Graham Avenue. The couple had four children. Mr. Flowers sold life insurance.  

Harvey and Lena Carson, both quite young, dwelled in this Craftsman stunner at 747 North Graham Avenue.  The couple had two small children and Mr. Carson's mother, Bertha Carson, also resided in the house.  

The Long family resided at 757 North Graham Avenue in 1925.  They were gone by 1926.  More research is needed on this family.  
Pleasant Run Parkway--North Irvington Garden District in 1925

Jesse and Elizabeth Pritchett dwelled in this beautiful stuccoed home at 5744 Pleasant Run Parkway (formerly numbered at 5720) in 1925.  The Pritchetts had one son, Jesse, Jr.  Mr. Pritchett worked as a manager for the I.J. Cooper Company, but eventually the family moved away to another neighborhood to open a bowling alley.  

Shock!  Most locals would have dated this house at 5774 Pleasant Run Parkway (formerly numbered 5764) from the 1950s, but believe it or not, you can see it in the aerial photograph from 1925. This stunningly modern home for the time also has a complicated history that will eventually need to be sorted out. Paul and Ethel Klieber built the home. Mr. Klieber ran the Klieber-Dawson Machine Company at 1620 East New York Street. The Kliebers divorced in the 1920s and he remarried. Mrs. Klieber continued to dwell in the house, but she listed herself as a widow in the 1930 Census despite the fact that Mr. Klieber was very much alive. If only those walls could speak!  

Throughout the late 1920s, dreamers built dozens of other beautiful homes throughout the North Irvington Garden District.  The area would be fully developed within twenty years. Today the sycamores and maples planted by those early folks tower over the neighborhood.  Google satellite imagery reveals that it actually looks more like a forest today than it did in 1925 when the area was wide open and ready for development.

The historic image is courtesy of the Warrenburg family.  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Plane Crashed Into Irvington Home in the Summer of 1953!

Eighteen-year-old visitor, Allen Fechtig, stepped outside of the Koten family home at 750 North Bolton Avenue on a warm summer day on June 20, 1953.  He looked up into the sky after hearing a loud noise and noticed that a small plane seemed to be flying just above the chimney tops in northern Irvington.  Other folks in the neighborhood began to peer out their windows and stepped onto their front porches.  The teen never took his eyes off the plane and what he saw next sent him into action.

Up in the sky, Charles and Robert Woods, both brothers, were in a state of panic.  Their small plane was not cooperating. Twenty-nine-year-old Charles Woods had only possessed the airplane, a Swift, for two weeks.  Both brothers loved auto racing and they decided to fly to Springfield, Illinois to see an event hosted by the American Automobile Association.  They also planned to visit family there.  Charles had only recently recovered from a fall from a job at Central State Hospital.  He was avid about flying despite the fact that he had lost an eye as a child from an infection.  His thirty-two-year-old brother, Robert, had vowed never to get on an airplane again as he had been shot down during World War II in Europe and had been taken as a prisoner of war.  He likely could not imagine his misfortune to be in yet another plane that appeared to be crashing.

On the ground, the young Allen Fechtig could tell that the plane was in trouble as it began to spin and then dive towards the neighborhood.  He began to run towards the airplane as it crashed into the roof of a house at 354 North Bolton Avenue. He wasted no time getting to the dwelling and would be the first person to arrive on the scene of the disaster.

Neighbors in the 300 block of North Bolton Avenue scrambled out of their houses and looked on in disbelief at the site of an airplane sticking straight out of the Rennard home. Charles and Martha Rennard had only owned the lovely two-story brick house at 354 North Bolton Avenue for one year.  Mr. Rennard had earned a comfortable living as the manager of the East Side Realty Company. The couple had four children.  Although some neighbors were horrified at the thought that the Rennards could have been in the house, most knew that the family had just left town to relax at Lake James in northern Indiana. The Rennards had no idea that their house was the scene of an intense drama that was now beginning to unfold.

While neighbors looked on in disbelief, Allen Fechtig somehow reached the attic of the house by scaling the walls of the two-story home where he found the Woods brothers entangled in a mess of metal from the plane and wooden rafters from the house.  The teen reached Charles Woods first who was alive although badly injured.  He then saw the former prisoner of war, Robert, who was also alive but trapped under a large joist.  Allen Fechtig worked desperately to try to free the brothers, but it was too much for one person. He comforted the men until help arrived.

Thankfully, someone along Bolton Avenue called the Irvington Fire Department.  Robert McDonnell along with firemen on duty that day, received the call and within minutes rushed to the scene.  Other firemen, police, and medical personnel arrived onto the chaotic street as news spread. Emergency officials struggled to make it down Bolton Avenue due to the number of bystanders who had shown up to see the plane sticking out of the house.  Only Allen Fechtig had made any attempt to help the brothers trapped inside the wreckage.

Firemen made it into the home and noticed that jet fuel was leaking out of the plane and into a child's bedroom on the second floor. They worried about fire.  For thirty minutes, they raced to get the Woods brothers free of the wreckage and treated them on the scene.  While the wings had been sheared off, the tip of the plane had gone through the attic floor and into a bathroom closet.  The heat inside the attic became too much for some of the rescue workers and one policeman, William Snedaker, had to be transported to the hospital due to heat exhaustion.  

Paramedics rushed the brothers to the hospital and saved their lives.  The Rennards returned from Lake James to find their home heavily damaged although reparable.  Life eventually returned to normal along the once quiet street and over the decades most had forgotten about the frightening moment.  No exterior evidence of a plane crash remains in 2014 as workers removed the wreckage and rebuilt the roof and attic at 354 North Bolton Avenue.

Emergency personnel work to save the life of Charles Woods upon the roof of 354 North Bolton Avenue. Irvington fireman, Robert McDonnell, can be seen giving medical aid.  (June 20, 1953)

Scene of chaos no longer:  354 North Bolton Avenue in 2014

Vintage Swift Airplane (courtesy of FitzVideo)  
The historic image is courtesy of Terry Wilgus, whose father Robert McDonnell can be seen on the roof in the photo.  Information for this story is courtesy of Steve Barnett, Larry Muncie, and Chris Capehart. For further information:

Carolyn Pickering, "Two Brothers in Crash on East Side," Indianapolis Star, June 21, 1953, 1.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Little Flower in the 1950s

The Little Flower neighborhood sits north and west of Irvington.  It has been a stable area since the first people started building small bungalows there in the 1910s.  Named after the Catholic Church along North Bosart Avenue, the community has been home to thousands of families over the years who started housekeeping in the modest dwellings.  Many of these families remained in the area for years and in some cases generations.

In the 1950s, the neighborhood was still filled with original families who had built small homes along streets like Wallace Avenue.  In 1927, Leo and Helen Erb's home at 1025 North Wallace Avenue was completed.  The couple raised their children in the house. Next door at 1027 dwelled Solomon Erb, the father of Leo and grandfather to several nearby kids.  The elder Mr. Erb passed away in 1944 so by by the early 1950s, Elmer and Gertrude Harmon owned the bungalow.  Norman and Lucy Wilson lived in 1101 North Wallace Avenue and had since its completion in 1928.  Mr. Wilson was an office manager for the Steckle Steam Specialties Company.  The Wilsons and Erbs would have known each other for nearly thirty years when these photos were snapped in early 1950s. People like the Erbs, Harmons, and Wilsons maintained their modest homes and kept up their small lots.  They planted trees and lovely flowers.  While many residents dashed to the suburbs, these families continued to dwell here well into the 1970s in some cases.

New generations are moving into the Little Flower neighborhood.  They seemed to have the same pride as the founders. They have a neighborhood association and residents still maintain their cottages and small lots.   Although many of the homes have been altered or enlarged over the years, the Erbs, Harmons, and Wilsons would have no trouble recognizing their stomping grounds in 2014.

Helen and Leo Erb standing in the backyard of 1025 North Wallace Avenue in 1952

Betty Jean, Kenneth, and little Ricky Erb in 1951 on the porch at 1025 North Wallace Avenue

Betty Jean, Kenneth, and little Randy Erb standing in front of 1025 North Wallace Avenue 1953.  Behind them, you can see 1027 and 1101 North Wallace Avenue.  Note that tulips are blooming in front of the spirea bushes.  

1025, 1027, and 1101 North Wallace Avenue in 2014

Erb home at 1025 North Wallace Avenue in 2014
The historic images are courtesy of Rick Erb via  

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Brand New Car Along Oak Avenue--1936

Frank and Helen Olson proudly stood next to their new 1936 Plymouth sedan parked in the driveway of their home at 5966 Oak Avenue.  Mr. Olson needed a car large enough to transport his golf clubs as he was avid about the sport.  The Olsons did not dwell in the American Four Square for long as they later built a home at 322 North Audubon Road in 1940.  You can read more about the Olsons by clicking on the link below.  A contemporary photo shows the home on a cold December morning in 2014.

Frank and Helen Olson in front of new Plymouth at 5966 Oak Avenue

5966 Oak Avenue in 2014

The historic image is courtesy of Richard Olson via  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Kingsbury Home on Layman Avenue

James L. Kingsbury and his wife Minnie likely moved into 348 North Layman Avenue in the late nineteenth century.  Mr. Kingsbury's father lived around the corner at 71 North Ritter Avenue.  The elder Kingsbury published a newspaper in Crawfordsville and eventually moved operations to Indianapolis in the 1870s.  Upon James G Kingsbury's passing in 1913, his son, James L. Kingsbury  took control of the Indiana Farmer.  James L. Kingsbury would later serve two terms in the Indiana House of Representatives as Irvington's legislator in the 1920s. A loyal Republican, James L. Kingsbury also served as the Warren Township Assessor in his elder years.

Minnie and James L. raised their two sons, John Kaylor and Layman Dwight Kingsbury, in the beautiful two-story Gothic Revival home in northern Irvington. The Kingsburys possessed a large tract of land and had lovely orchard. They remained in the home until their deaths in the 1940s and 1950s.  Their oldest son, John, became a physician and would make history as the doctor who took the death bed confession of Madge Oberholtzer, a woman who was brutally raped and attacked by the powerful Ku Klux Klan leader, D.C. Stephenson, in 1925.  Her words helped to bring down the KKK in Indiana and in America.

Kingsbury Family Portrait:  James L. Kingsbury can be seen standing next to a tree in the center of the photo. Standing in front of him, you can see John Kaylor Kingsbury. Nearby, stood Layman Dwight Kingsbury. Presumably Minnie Kingsbury is one of the ladies in the photo, but which one? The older lady standing at the far right might be Mrs. Kaylor, the mother of Minnie Kaylor Kingsbury.  (c1905)

Kingsbury home and orchard (c1900)
To see a contemporary photo of 348 North Layman Avenue, click on the link below. The historic images are courtesy of the Larry Muncie Collection Irvington Historical Society.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hearing Set for Developer Who Demolished Part of Historic Commercial Building

A row of brick Tudor-Revival storefronts have been partially destroyed by a developer who wants to put in a gas station and convenience store on the northwest corner of East 10th Street and Emerson Avenue.  Without proper permits, the owner of the property, Balwinder Singh, hired a contractor to knock down the building which has stood on the site since 1927.  Quick thinking neighbors called the city and received a stop work order, but the damage has clearly been done as most of the building has been removed.  Mr. Singh's plan will come before the Marion County Zoning Board of Appeals on December 9 at 1:00PM in the City County Building.  He will join a long list of previous developers who have knocked down part of Irvington's heritage.

The structure, which faced both 10th Street and Emerson Avenue housed a variety of local establishments throughout the years.  When the site first opened in 1927, Edward Orn operated a drug store at 5070 East 10th Street while J.R. Harrison ran a meat market at 1006 North Emerson Avenue.  Next door Mary Hitchcock managed a small bakery at 1008 and Ora Devore cut hair at 1010.  Lawrence Gloe dry-cleaned clothes at 1012 North Emerson Avenue.  By the 1990s, the building developed a negative reputation among the neighbors because of a strip club located inside 5068 East 10th Street.

With a little imagination, it is not hard to have envisioned what this corner could have looked like before the wreckers showed up.  Nearby, a Renaissance is taking place along the East Washington Street corridor.  The blond brick building with the beautiful green slate roof tiles could have been an ideal site for more amazing development.  Mr. Singh could have also looked at two other corners of this intersection and noticed that previous gas stations had been located on the northeast and southwest corners, but were closed by the 1990s.

Neighbors who have concerns about the gas station proposal should attend the meeting on December 9  or write to the Marion County Board of Zoning Appeals.

Closed Door:  1927 Commercial Building at 10th and Emerson has been partially destroyed

 Ghost of Tudor-Revival elements in the gables 

Beautiful green slate tiles untouched since 1927 fall near the sidewalk

Vacant Shell:  Most of the building at 5070 East 10th Street has been destroyed.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Living in a Dream Home--1913

George and Mary Terrill along with their three daughters, Mabel, Faye, and Norma moved into 5631 University Avenue in 1912.  The Terrills likely heard that Henry Earl, the owner of the home, was ill and on the way to Michigan to spend the last years of his life with his family.  As the Earl family began to get the house and property ready for auction they rented it to the Terrills for one year.  George Terrill, who ran his own securities and insurance company was just starting to see his business thrive.  Since the Terrills dwelled at 302 South Audubon Road in 1911, they would have noticed all of the activity going on at the Earl property located across the street from the Irving Circle Park.  For one year, the Terrills dwelled in the now iconic Irvington home and took these photos in winter of 1913. The Polk's Indianapolis City Directory reveals that one daughter, Faye, a talented musician, taught piano in the house.

In the summer of 1913, the beautiful home went on the auction block.  Lew Shank, a local resident and auctioneer, described the property in the Indianapolis Star as:

     The opportunity of a lifetime to buy one of the best located and most beautiful homes in Irvington on June 19, 1913 at 3 PM...No. 5631 University Avenue, the residence of Dr. Earl, who is going to move to Michigan. This is a ten room brick house, cut stone foundation, attic, basement, city water, gas electric lights, slate roof, with bath and furnace in first class condition.  This lot faces on three streets, Audubon Road, University Avenue, and Burgess Avenue--about two thirds of an acre, large trees, also cherry, apple, and peach trees.  

It is unknown if the Terrills attempted to buy the house, but if they did then they lost out to Wallace and Ellie Payne, who moved into 5631 University Avenue in 1913.  The Payne family added a covered porch, something that had not existed on the house until then. The Terrills moved out and purchased 315 South Audubon Road and remained there until finally buying their dream home in 1920 at 410 South Emerson Avenue, a large brick Second Empire style house.

Provenance of the photos:  Amanda Browning, the author of the Horner House blog, traveled to North Carolina to meet Gail Anderson, a descendant of the Terrills.  Amanda's mission was to find photos of her own house at 410 South Emerson Avenue (Horner House).  In the process of discovering incredible photos of her property, Amanda noticed images of 5631 University Avenue in the scrapbooks.  More from this collection will appear on the Horner House blog in the coming months so stay tuned as Amanda reveals more incredible images.  (  

5631 University after freezing rain and snow storm on January 4, 1913; Note that the Craftsman-era front porch had not yet been placed on the house!

Winter Beauty:  5631 University Avenue in January of 1913.  Photo taken by a member of the Terrill family who dwelled in the "Castle House" for just one year.  Note that 262 South Audubon Road has not been yet been constructed.  

Close up of 5631 University Avenue in the winter of 1913

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Four Years!

     Four years ago this month, I started down an unknown path.  Could I create a blog that concentrated on collecting historic photos of the Irvington neighborhood in Indianapolis?  Would people visit the site?  Would the site become self-sustaining?  In other words, if I built it...would you come?  Needless to say, Vintage Irvington has exceeded my expectations.  I have been fortunate in that several people have been very generous with their family collections. Some of have sought me out from all corners of the country. It turns out that this neighborhood has been very special in the lives of so many people.

Contributors From the Last Year

     In the winter of 2013, I met Leland Dickerson, a World War II veteran, whose brother was tragically killed towards the end of the war.  He generously loaned me dozens of shots of the neighborhood dating back to the 1930s.  Barbara Sanders had deep roots in the area on both sides of her family.  Thanks to her generosity I was able to post shots of the former White Farm at East 10th and Shadeland Avenue as well as of nearby areas on East New York Street and North Butler Avenue.  Suzette Hagan's family photos of 5621 Beechwood Avenue depicted fascinating glimpses into the lives of 1950s-era Irvingtonians.  I also received wonderful photos and stories from Bill Ferling, Paula Schmidt, David Bailey, Richard C. Gaskill, Carol Oribison, D.J. Smith, Brad Amiano, Terry Wilgus, the Stroude Family, Brian Callahan, and Larry Muncie.  This blog would not be possible without the kindness of these current or former Irvington residents.  Do you have a scrapbook filled with Irvington photos?  I would love to speak to you!  You can reach me at

     By the way, in the four years that Vintage Irvington has been in operation, the site has received 115, 367 hits.  While most of the readers hail from the United States, Vintage Irvington has received hundreds and in some cases thousands of hits from Russia, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Ukraine, Turkey, Latvia, and Poland. Curiosity seekers from dozens of other nations have also landed upon the blog.

Highlights From the Past Year

     I have always had a soft spot for photos that show men and women returning from World War II.  In this image, snapped in February of 1943, Harry Perkins, Leland Dickerson, and Curly Morris posed along the 5800 block of Lowell Avenue.  They look joyful as snow melted about them on the warm winter day.  (Photo courtesy of Leland Dickerson) 

     Bill Ferling was kind enough to lend me photos from the collection of the Irvington Presbyterian Church.  This beautiful image shows the stunning structure on an early spring day in 1953. Note the historic double still standing just east of the church where the parking lot sits today.

     David Bailey grew up along South Emerson Avenue near the former Butler University.  Mr. Bailey, an avid reader and history lover, contributed many stunning photos to this blog including this image of Butler students on "clean up" day in 1917.  

     Carol Orbison's family grew up in Irvington.  She generously loaned me photos from her father and grandfather's photo collection.  This image depicts the Orbison family home at 51 North Irvington Avenue in 1912.  

    Paula Schmidt has graciously not only donated images, but she has also been a guest writer several times on this blog.  One of her stories this year was of the Thormeyer family at 93 South Butler Avenue. Paula traveled to Austin, Indiana to learn more about these interesting people and came back with some wonderful stories and images.  In this photo taken c1935, the Thormeyer women stand near the family home on Butler Avenue.

     Barbara Azbell Sanders has deep roots in Irvington.  Her mother's people owned a farm just east of the neighborhood at 10th and Shadeland Avenue.  There is not a shred of a farm at that intersection today, so I am particularly grateful to Mrs. Sanders for being so generous with her collection.  In this photo, snapped in 1937, members of the White family gathered for a reunion at their farmhouse. (now demolished)

     Mrs. Sanders also contributed several other photos that showed life in other parts of the neighborhood.  I particularly loved this photo of Vivian and Barbara Azbell in their riding attire. Behind them, you can see 4910, 4914, and 4918-20 East New York Street in 1938.  

     Fred Azbell ran Azbell Distribution Company, a business that sold auto parts. In this photo, little Barbara Azbell sits atop one vehicle in the family fleet along the 1100 block of North Butler Avenue in 1943.  Her grandfather, Thomas White, briefly took over the family business while her father served in World War II. (Photo courtesy of Barbara Sanders)

     The Becker family dwelled in a stunning Arts and Crafts home at 5621 Beechwood Avenue.  On November 27, 1954, Julius and Gloria Pirtle Becker celebrated their wedding day in the Becker home.  Family members and friends from all over the Midwest traversed to Irvington to rejoice with the young couple despite the snowy conditions outside.  In this photo, members of the Pirtle and Becker family gathered for the wedding photographer.  (Photo courtesy of Suzette Hagan)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Graydon House 1909 and 2014

The Graydon sisters moved into their beautiful home at 303 South Downey Avenue in 1909.  All three sisters had devoted their lives to the field of education and none of them ever married.  Ellen Graydon served as an elementary teacher while her sister Jane managed schools as a principal.  Butler University employed Katherine Graydon as professor of literature.  She was beloved among her students as she held monthly teas at her home to discuss poetry, great literature, and issues of the day.  Their widowed mother, Mary, also dwelled in the large house designed by architect Herbert Foltz. The Graydons would have no trouble recognizing their beautiful stuccoed Arts and Crafts era home today as it looks much like it did in 1909.

The Graydon home at 303 South Downey Avenue in 1909

The Graydon home at 303 South Downey Avenue in 2014