Monday, September 1, 2014

Lowell Avenue Home 1953 and 2014

The large American Four Square at 6134 (formerly 6136) East Lowell Avenue has stood along this street since the early twentieth century.  The Heagy family were one of the first families to dwell in the home and they lived there until 1945.  As World War II was winding down, Lawrence G. Kilwitt, a pharmacist, and his wife Margaret purchased the home from the Heagy family.  The Kilwitts, who anticipated the future housing shortage for the city of Indianapolis, divided the house into two apartments.  The upstairs apartment became known as 6134 and the downstairs apartment became 6136.  The Kilwitts remained in the home until 1950.

George and Loretta McDonnell were the next family to move into the newly converted double. Mr. McDonnell had not been able to work for years because of an earlier bout with tuberculosis.  Mrs. McDonnell, a loyal Democrat, found work at city hall when that party was in power.  Because of the fickleness of politics, the McDonnells counted on a steady income from renting out the downstairs apartment.  The Quicks and Murphys were a few of the folks who leased the bottom abode.

In 1953, the elder McDonnells decided to vacate the upper apartment for a place with no stairs. Their oldest son, Robert, an Indianapolis city firefighter, moved into 6134 with his wife Mary Jane and their daughter, Terry.  While living in the home, the couple welcomed a second child, Tim.

A very young Terry McDonnell had fond memories of the house.  Because they had lived in such small places, she thought that the second story apartment seemed quite grand especially the finished attic where she could play with her friends.  She also loved sitting out on the screened-in front porch. Their backyard stretched all the way to Pleasant Run Parkway in those days.  A local peony farmer rented part of their backyard for his prized peony collection and he sold the fragrant flowers from a stand along Pleasant Run Parkway on Memorial Day weekend.  Local Irvingtonians purchased the flowers and decorated their family's tombstones in places like Memorial Park, Crown Hill, or even Anderson Cemetery.

The McDonnells remained in the double until 1956 before moving to Bancroft Avenue.  In the small historic photograph taken c1953, you can see what the house looked like in the mid-twentieth century.  A contemporary photograph shows the dwelling, now a single family home again, in 2014.

6134-36 East Lowell Avenue in 1953

6134 East Lowell Avenue in 2014
The historic photograph and information on the McDonnell family is courtesy of Terry Wilgus.  


  1. Thanks Bill for sharing my story

  2. Fascinating info re: the peony farm. Wonder if any peonies are still on the property...?