Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Scenes From a Bungalow on University Avenue--1930s

Jesse Earl and Esther Dickerson moved into 5946 University along with their four kids in 1933.  They remained until 1937.  Leland Dickerson, who dwelled in the house, reports that these were happy years for the family. Mr. Dickerson set up a chicken coup in the backyard and the kids were responsible for taking care of the birds.  They received ten cents for a dozen eggs, which they sold to neighbors.  On summer nights, the children slept on the front porch.  Mr. Dickerson purchased a large chunk of ice from the Irvington Ice and Coal Company and placed it in a tub.  He then set up an electrical fan to blow over the ice and on to the crew as they slept.

On school mornings, the Dickersons merely had to walk out the backdoor and cut across the yard to School #85.  Leland Dickerson enjoyed his time at the school although he reports that it was here he learned to fight.  Some of the young people from the Marion County Children's Guardian Home (5751 University Avenue) attended the school and they came from rougher backgrounds, so young Leland toughened up.  He recalled many of his teachers whom he loved and one that he did not.  "Old Lady" Gratz seemed to love the girls, but treated the boys harshly.  Of course, in fairness, it is very possible that Ms. Gratz had a difficult crew that year!

In the top image, Robert and Leland Dickerson stand on the front porch at 5946 University Avenue with their guitars in 1933.  Neither made a career out of music, but clearly their parents thought it was an important for them to be exposed to the arts.  In the second photo, Esther Dickerson posed with her daughter, Beverly, and dog Cindy in 1933.  In classic form, someone did not aim the camera correctly and they cut off the top of Mrs. Dickerson's head.  Cindy the dog was the star in another photo taken around 1935 and white king pigeons jumped out of the coup and up on top of the garage in 1933 in the final historic image.  Hopefully, someone managed to corral the birds back into their pen before an Irvington cat made a meal of them.

Robert and Leland Dickerson on the front porch of 5946 University Avenue in the summer of 1933

Esther and Beverly Dickerson with Cindy in the backyard of 5946 University Avenue in 1933

Beloved Cindy in the backyard of 5946 University Avenue in 1935

White King Pigeons on the garage of 5946 University Avenue in 1933

5946 University Avenue in 2014
The historic images and stories are courtesy of Leland Dickerson.

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