Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Homes Built Atop Land Formerly Owned by the Indianapolis Public Schools

Driving down the 900 block of Graham Avenue from East 10th Street, it becomes apparent that the homes on the east side of the street north of St. Joseph Street are at least thirty years newer than those on the west side of the street.  There is a simple explanation for this fact.  For years, the Indianapolis Public Schools held on to the thought that one day a school would be needed in the Irvington Gardens section of the neighborhood so they purchased six lots along Graham Avenue north of St. Joseph Street.  By the 1950s, it was clear that the district did not need a school in that area so they sold off the lots to a developer who actually turned six small lots into four.  Ranch and neo-colonial styles sprung up across from bungalows and Tudor-Revivial houses.

In 1958, Leland Dickerson (322 North Rigeview Drive) happened to be dropping off a daughter's friend along the street when he saw a man pounding a for sale sign into the yard of 951 North Graham Avenue.  The house was only four years old and was being sold by homeowner Robert O. Whitesell.  Mr. Dickerson quickly carved together enough cash to make a down payment and moved his wife and three kids into the beautiful new home.  Mr. Dickerson particularly enjoyed the private driveway and large garage. He and his wife Anna Belle also liked the pretty landscaping.

The tree-lined avenue still retains the beauty that first attracted the Dickerson family to this part of Irvington just as it might have fifty-six years ago.

Anna Belle, Leland, and Jim Dickerson at 951 North Graham Avenue in the spring of 1961

Jim Dickerson standing near the family car a 1964 Buick Skylark (951 North Graham Avenue).  Note the beautiful flowers planted by Mrs. Dickerson.

Jim Dickerson stands next to a blooming magnolia tree in the backyard of 951 North Graham Avenue during the spring of 1961.  
  The historic photos are courtesy of Leland Dickerson.

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