Sunday, June 1, 2014

Blueprints Emerge for Mid-Twentieth-Century Ranch Double

Few lots remained for construction in the Irvington area after World War II, but developers managed to find a few empty sites for construction.  In 1952, William P. Hurt (23 North Kenmore Road) built a ranch double at 5243-45 East Market Street.  The modest brick abode was to have a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom on each side although each tenant would have access to a basement.  The Hurt family were realtors and owned a development corporation although it appears that William P. Hurt actually worked for the Hoosier Box Manufacturing Company.  Mr. Hurt grew up along Kitley Avenue and lived with his wife Marian in a variety of places in the area.

Most of the tenants who dwelled in the double did not stay long. Edgar T. and Bess Britton were the first to call 5243 home.  Mr. Britton was a field representative for The National Infantile Paralysis Foundation.  Polio still struck thousands of Americans after World War II.  The Brittons likely celebrated the news in 1954 when a vaccine for the debilitating disease had been created by Jonas Salk. The Brittons did not stay long in Indianapolis. They eventually moved back to Michigan, their home state.

Charles R. and Pauline Bradshaw lived at the 5245 side in 1952.  Mr. Bradshaw worked as a printer for the Indianapolis Times, a newspaper that served the city from 1928 to 1965.  The Bradshaws did not stay long because like so many others, they needed a larger home.  Other early dwellers of the double included Ray and Anita Williams (1955); Paul and Phyllis Bird (1955); Mrs. Cecil G. Slater (1960); and Floyd E. Carpenter (1960).

When Historic Landmarks (now Indiana Landmarks) conducted their important survey of the neighborhood in the mid-1980s, dwellings like 5243-5245 East Market Street were labeled as "non-contributing."  Few suburban ranch-style homes existed in the established neighborhood so the philosophy at the time deemed homes like this one as an intrusion.  Now, having served the neighborhood for over sixty-two years, it is clear that for dozens of families this site has been a contributing factor to the history of the neighborhood.

Blueprints for 5243-45 East Market Street for William P. Hurt in 1952

5243-45 East Market Street in the spring of 2014
The blueprints are courtesy of local historian, Glory-June Greiff.

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