Friday, January 3, 2014

The Dickerson Family Move into Their Dream Home--1937

J. Earl and Esther Dickerson had lived in Indianapolis since 1928.  Both natives of Oregon, they had rented homes on Beechwood and University Avenues.  Mr. Dickerson had a steady job inspecting fruit and vegetables for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Through the Great Depression, the couple was able to save enough money to build their dream home at 818 North Arlington Avenue.  The Dickersons chose a lot at the top of a hill, which they named, "Quality Hill," to build their brick Tudor-Revival house, a popular style in the 1930s.  The home overlooked the eighth hole of the Pleasant Run Golf Course.

Their children, Vivian, Leland, Robert, and Beverly, had an entirely new playground and acquired a new set of friends.  The Dickersons had a basketball court in their backyard so the home became a popular hangout for local teens.  Mr. Dickerson, a master gardener, planted the entire front hill in a variety of native species and flowers.

Tragedy struck the family during the winter of 1944 upon receiving a telegram from the War Department announcing that their beloved son Robert had been killed at the Battle of the Bulge.  His brother Leland also serving in the war was home on leave when the telegram arrived.  He reported that his brother had been trained as an engineer, but that the U.S. military was so desperate not to loose that battle that they placed nearly everyone they could find onto the front lines to stop the advancing Germans.  While U.S. troops were able to stop the Axis attack, it came at a heavy cost.  Robert's body was buried in Belgium although later the family brought his remains home to Indianapolis. Several important dignitaries attended his local funeral.

Mr. and Mrs. Dickerson remained in the home for the rest of their lives.  In an attempt to deal with her grief, Mrs. Dickerson joined the Gold Star Mothers Club, an organization to help women deal with the loss of their sons during a time of war.

Little has changed in the appearance of the home atop Quality Hill.  In the summertime, you can hear the whack of a golf ball just as you could over 75 years ago.

The Dickerson Home at 818 North Arlington Avenue in 1938 sat atop "Quality Hill."

Jesse Earl and Esther Dickerson (c1940) at 818 North Arlington Avenue

J. Earl Dickerson inspected fruits and vegetables for the US Department of Agriculture.  He is near Purdue University in this photo taken c1938

Leland Dickerson, Eagle Scout, 1938

Robert Dickerson, Eagle Scout, 1940; four years later the young man died at the Battle of the Bulge.  
818 North Arlington Avenue on January 1, 2014
 The historic images and stories for this post are courtesy of Leland Dickerson.

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