Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Orbisons of 51 North Irvington Avenue

Charles J. and Ella Talkenberg Orbison moved into 51 North Irvington Avenue in 1907. The couple had previously dwelled at 40 North Ritter Avenue before moving into the spacious American Four Square. Mr. Orbison, an attorney, later became a judge and was appointed to enforce the federal government's ban on alcohol.  In 1920, local newspapers hailed him as the bootlegger's worst enemy. Mrs. Orbison helped to raise the couple's two sons and was very involved at the Irvington Presbyterian Church and in the Eastern Star. Their sons, Telford and Robert, spent their formative years in the house and attended nearby School #57 before moving on to Shortridge High School and Arsenal Technical High School.  Both sons graduated from Butler University and would follow in their father's footsteps and pursue law as a career.

Sadness washed over the house in 1926 as Mrs. Orbison fell victim to breast cancer. With her sons and husband at her side, she passed away in the house at the age of 53. Mr. Orbison remained in the home until he moved to California in the late 1920s.  Telford Orbison and his wife Dorothy dwelled at 51 North Irvington Avenue by 1930.  This rising star in the Republican Party was appointed as a district attorney for the United States government.  He was also an avid golfer and helped to save the Pleasant Run Golf Course from a proposed boulevard extension in 1935. ("Irvington Golfers Storm Park Board Meeting," Indianapolis News, November 21, 1935)  The 1930 Federal Census reveals that 51 North Irvington Avenue was valued at $9000.   Robert made the decision to join his father in California, but just as he was ready to depart he learned that his Dad had suddenly passed away.  The young attorney and his wife, Beatrice, decided to return to Indianapolis, although not to Irvington.  Telford and his wife eventually moved to New Albany, Indiana in 1937 ending the Orbison's thirty-year tenure in the home.

51 North Irvington Avenue after a snowstorm c1912

Orbison Family:  Telford, Ella, and Robert Orbison in 1913.  Note Mrs. Orbison's beautiful dress. If only we could see it in color!  

Judge Charles J. Orbison c1910

Charles Orbison in 1926

Devilish grin: Robert Orbison posed the backyard of 51 North Irvington Avenue in 1911.  You can see the rear of homes located along Whittier Place.  

Serious and studious:  Telford Orbison posed for this photo c1912

Later years:  Ella Orbison posed for this photo sometime before her untimely death in 1926

Robert Orbison served the country in the U.S. Navy during World War II.  
51 North Irvington Avenue on March 10, 2014

The historic images, stories, and newspaper clippings are courtesy of Carol Orbison.  

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