Friday, January 30, 2015

Over Forty Years in a Bosart Avenue Bungalow

Carl and Marianna Swego Koepper bought a bungalow at 21 North Bosart Avenue from William H. Polk in either late 1929 or early 1930.  Mr. Koepper, a hardworking and industrious man, worked his way up from being a teller at Indiana National Bank to eventually becoming a vice president. Despite his rise in income and status, the couple remained in the modest bungalow until 1971. They had no children, but they were very involved in the lives of family members who dwelled on the near south side of Indianapolis and in Irvington. Mrs. Koepper stayed home and kept a beautiful house. She also loved to garden.  In her backyard she grew flowers and vegetables. Family film footage shot in 1938 and 1939 reveals that Mr. Koepper had a fun sense of humor.  Eventually, the couple left their Bosart Avenue home for an apartment on the north side of Indianapolis. Sadly, both of them passed away in the 1970s. Historic photos reveal glimpses into the lives of this much-admired couple.

Koepper Clan:  Henry and Josephine Koepper posed with their three sons on Christmas Day in 1932 on the front porch at 21 North Bosart Avenue. Pictured (left to right): Hubert, Josephine, Henry, Carl, and Norman Koepper

Christmas Gathering: Extended members of the Koepper family gathered at 21 North Bosart Avenue on December 25, 1951. Standing on the left with Christmas presents in his hands was David Koepper. Nearby, Marianna Swego Koepper walked by the family Christmas tree. Lydia Koepper watched the day's events from a chair by the front door.  A young Steve Koepper sat on the floor and looked directly at the family photographer.  The most visible person on the couch was Susan Koepper.

Lovely Backyard in the Summer of 1953:  Marianna Swego Koepper kept beautiful flower and vegetable gardens in the backyard of her home at 21 North Bosart Avenue.  Beyond the Koepper home, you can see the Dutch Colonial located at 20 North Bosart Avenue.  

Rich Harvest:  Marianna Swego Koepper can be seen in the backyard of her home at 21 North Bosart Avenue picking tomatoes from her lush vegetable garden in the summer of 1953.  

Joy of the Season:  Members of the Koepper family gathered at the home of Carl and Marianna Swego Koepper on Christmas Day in 1966.  The Koeppers dwelled in a lovely bungalow at 21 North Bosart Avenue.  Note the unpainted woodwork, crown moulding,  and built-in cabinetry behind and above family.  Pictured:  Mary Koepper, the wife of Hubert Koepper can be seen at the far left. Seated at the table-- Robert and Inge Koepper and their sons, Mark and Ronald;  Standing behind everyone-- Hubert Koepper.  Robert was the son of Hubert and Mary Koepper.

Decades Together:  Carl and Marianna Swego Koepper posed for this photo in 1970 in the living room of their home at 21 North Bosart Avenue.  They moved out of this dwelling and into an apartment on the north side of Indianapolis in 1971.

Mystery Flutist:  Either Carl or Marianna Swego Koepper snapped this artistic photograph of a young lady giving a recital for the couple in their home at 21 North Bosart Avenue. If anyone recognizes this talented young lady, drop me an e-mail at the address listed on the side of this blog.  

21 North Bosart Avenue in 2015.
The historic images and stories for this post are courtesy of Steve Koepper.  

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Just Getting Started: Life in the Homewood Apartments--1938

What does a photograph reveal about an era or a moment in time?  In 1938, the younger couple in this photograph, Lora and Norman Koepper, invited Norman's parents over to their first home at the Homewood Apartments at 4701 East Washington Street.  The couple had married in 1935 and moved to the corner apartment where they set up housekeeping.  Norman managed real estate with the J.S. Cruse Realty Company and Lora worked for the Indianapolis Public Schools. The older couple in the photo are Henry and Josephine Koepper.  They had recently moved nearby on Linwood Avenue and later dwelled for a short time on Bosart Avenue.

Along the wall, sat the upright radio with a clock perched atop it. Did the Koeppers have the radio on at any point during the day?  What were they listening to?  A fireside chat by President Franklin Roosevelt?  Orson Welles broadcasted his now infamous "War of the Worlds" in that year.  Hopefully, no one panicked.  Newscaster Edwin R. Murrow reported live from Vienna as Nazi troops poured into the city foreshadowing ominous events upon the horizon. Were they worried?  They might have been listening to any number of serials or concerts aired from the east coast.

The geometric rug below the family was quite stylish for the time.  On the lovely wooden desk sat a photo of a niece or nephew and a light aimed at the family to help with the photograph.  Mrs. Koepper, the matriarch, sat in the chair and donned a floral print dress, a common outfit for women of her age in the late 1930s.  The men look quite smart with their white shoes and even white pants for Norman. There were many rules about wearing white in the 1930s so it must have been a spring or summer day.  The younger Mrs. Koepper looked quite stylish as well.  In a matter of months, she would give birth to their first child, Susan.

Norman and Lora Koepper only dwelled in the Homewood Apartments for three years. After the birth of their daughter, living in a small place with just a Murphy Bed would not suffice so they moved across the street to 18 Jenny Lane in 1938.  Some of the items in this photo remain with various members of the Koepper family to this day. "Okay, everyone look at the camera please and SMILE!"

The Koepper family gathered for a photograph in their apartment at the Homewood at 4701 East Washington Street in 1938.  Pictured--In the chair: Josephine Koepper; Standing: Henry, Lora, and Norman Koepper.

The Homewood Apartments at 4701 East Washington Street first opened their doors for business in 1927. The building  is still open for renters in 2015.  (photo by Steve Koepper)
The historic image is courtesy of Steve Koepper.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Emerson Heights Kindergarten 1943

The Kindergarten Movement, a German idea, had been embraced by millions of Americans by 1930 when the Emerson Heights Kindergarten first opened its doors to students at 4805 East Michigan Street. Many Hoosiers realized the value of educating children at an early age and began to send their kids to private schools to prepare them for the first grade. It appears that Helen Martin was the founder of this school and she located it in the southern section of the Emerson Heights neighborhood. Many younger families had moved into the modest bungalows and American Four Squares nearby so Mrs. Martin had a ready and willing market who had big dreams for their children. The school moved from the Michigan Street location to 1012-14 North Emerson Avenue in 1932 and remained there until 1946.

Susan Koepper Foster, who dwelled at 5263 East Tenth Street as a child, attended the kindergarten located in the commercial strip on the northwest corner of Emerson Avenue and East Tenth Street. Her teacher in 1943 was Mrs. Fields. We do not know much about Mrs. Fields yet, but she can be seen in the photo.  We also know the names of some of the children in the image. Mrs. Foster remembers that it was a lively and engaging school where she received an introduction to reading and math.  She also recalls that Mrs. Fields taught her how to skip. There was not much of a playground so the children mostly stayed inside, however, in 1943 they gathered outside for a photo at the rear of the building and along the alley that runs parallel to East Tenth Street. Sadly, this part of the structure was demolished in the summer of 2014 by a developer who did not have proper permits.  Most of the kids in this photo are now well into their retirement age and enjoying grandkids of their own!

All dressed up:  Here are the names of the kids we know at this point.  Front Row: The second girl from the left is Marsha Thomas.  The fourth girl from the left is Susan Koepper. Elaine Clayton is the second girl from the right. Middle Row:  Sandy Fotiades is the second girl from the left. Ronnie Meek is the seventh child from the left. John Kot is the third child from the right. Top Row: The boy with the head bandage is Howard Franke. Next to him is Mrs. Fields.  The boy to the right of her is Bob Hibner. Mike Corcoran is the third child from the right while Karen Group is the blond girl at the far right of the row.  The Emerson Heights Kindergarten was located at 1012-14 North Emerson Avenue.  
The historic image is courtesy of Susan Koepper Foster

Saturday, January 17, 2015

An Old Farmhouse Along East Tenth Street

On April 11, 1956, children gathered at the home Steve Koepper at 5263 East Tenth Street for his twelfth birthday party.  All of the children in this photo attended Trinity Evangelical Lutheran School at 26 North Arsenal Street.  Behind them you can see the historic farmhouse located at 5302 East Tenth Street.  It was the tallest home in the area and predated all of the bungalows that now surrounded it.

The earliest origins of the farmhouse at 5302 East Tenth Street are not known at this time, but Martin and Anna Staub moved into the dwelling in 1906.  It is possible that they might have built the home but more research will be needed to discover that fact.  The Staubs owned several acres and ran a dairy farm.  Their operation was quite successful and by 1910 they had a servant named Charles Morse living in the house.  An Indianapolis Star article reveals that in 1919 Mr. Staub remonstrated against the city of Indianapolis over annexing the area for development. He lost that battle and soon the bucolic world that the Staubs had come to enjoy would end as developers and dreamers added avenues, sewer lines, streetlights, and residences north and south of East Tenth Street.  Mr. Staub died in 1928, but Mrs. Staub continued to dwell in the large house until 1942.  She often times took in boarders. Louis and Anna Haboush moved into the home in 1943 and remained in it well into the 1950s.  The couple had many children and actually carved the house into two separate apartments in 1945.  Widows, single people starting out in their careers, and families have all called this dwelling "home."

Friends of Steve Koepper gathered for a photo on April 11, 1956, for the occasion of his twelfth birthday party.  Front Row  (l-r):  Linda Manteuffel, Cheryl Kubiak, Janet Behrmann, Douglas Felten, Tom Holtman, Grant Jacobson Back Row (l-r): Eursa Lynn Breedon, Sandra Griffin, Fred Von Spreckelsen, Steve Koepper, Bill Hoff, Irvin Coffer

The old Staub Farmhouse at 5302 East Tenth Street on December 30, 2014

One of the many tenants who dwelled at 5302 East Tenth Street was Hollace Arment.  Dr. Arment and his wife Ruth moved to Indianapolis in 1956 so that he could take the position of Music Director at the brand new North Central High School at 1801 East 86th Street.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

8th Grade Graduation Party--1958

Members of the eighth grade graduating class from Trinity Evangelical Lutheran School gathered at the home of Steve Koepper in 1958. They would be the last graduating class from the Arsenal Street location as the congregation built a new school on East 16th Street.  Four of the graduates in these photographs went on to Thomas Carr Howe High School in Irvington. While the kids laughed and ate snacks in the dining room, the adult chaperones gathered around a card table in the living room and sipped on some coffee. Everyone is dressed up as they had just come from the formal graduation ceremony. Like many teens in the U.S., they likely kept up with popular culture.  The number one song on the radio on June 6, 1958, was "The Purple People Eater." by Sheb Wooley. If they had gone to a movie that year at the Irving Theater then some of these kids might have watched "South Pacific," the top grossing film for the year.  As more Irvington families added television sets into their living rooms, some of these teens might have spent some time watching "Leave it to Beaver," "I Love Lucy," "Candid Camera," or the "Ed Sullivan Show."  The baseball fans in that dining room likely enjoyed the start of the new Major League Baseball season as they followed favorite players like Willie Mays, Mickey Mantel, and Ted Williams.  If they were Yankees fans then they were in for a treat later in the year.

On the cusp of high school, the kids enjoyed a few light moments together in the Koepper family bungalow at 5263 East Tenth Street.  They were about to separate and leave their insular world of their smaller school for much larger institutions; however, on this lovely spring day they just had fun.

Treats in the Dining Room:  Graduates from the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran School gathered at the home of classmate, Steve Koepper, at 5263 East Tenth Street one final time in 1958 before moving on to various high schools. Pictured: Cheryl Ann Kubiak (standing), Grant Bernard Jacobson (drinking), Rose Anna Baumgart, Daniel Mark Edwards,  Sandra Lenore Griffin, Stephen Lee Koepper (sitting in foreground), Douglas James Felten (waving), Steven Ralph Deal (eating a sandwich)  

Rosa Anna Baumgart and Grant Bernard Jacobson had fun at their eighth grade graduation party at the Koepper home at 5263 East Tenth Street in 1958.  Cheryl Ann Kubiak stood behind the couple.  You can also see the cage for Pete the Parakeet behind young Grant.  Pete had free reign in the house and he particularly like to perch atop the eyeglasses of various family members!  

Chaperones Monitor Behavior from the Living Room:  Norman and Lora Meyer Koepper (couple on left) agreed to host a reception for the graduates of eighth grade class from Trinity Evangelical Lutheran School on June 6, 1958 in their home at 5263 East Tenth Street.  The Feltens joined them.  Henry Felten (foreground) was the principal and their teacher in the school. His wife, Erna, can be seen behind and to the right of him.  Their son was also a graduate and in the next room.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Fish, A Clock, and A Coconut Story

In 1954, the Koepper family gathered around the fireplace in the family home at 5263 East Tenth Street for a photograph.  Every single member of the family appeared to be looking at someone else or perhaps another photographer.  Someone has likely said something amusing as they were all smiling.  Behind the family, you can see many artifacts of importance in their lives.  Hanging over the mantel was Norman Koepper's prized wide-mouthed bass that he caught at the Geist Reservoir.  Like any proud fisherman, he had it mounted.  On the fireplace mantel, rested a beautiful clock that has an interesting provenance.  In 1913, a terrible flood struck the city of Indianapolis.  Ed Meyer, the father of Lora Meyer Koepper, saw the beautiful piece floating in the water and retrieved it.  He brought it back to his home at 815 Weghorst Street on the near south side and cleaned it up and managed to get it running again.  By 1952, the clock sat on the mantel inside the Tenth Street bungalow. The beautiful antique remains with a Koepper family member 102 years after it was first salvaged by Ed Meyer. On the far right of the mantel, you can see a coconut purchased by the Koeppers while on a family vacation to Florida in 1953.   Other items in the photo, include small vases and bowls used for decoration and many books and games resting on the built-in shelves next to the fireplace. All three of the children in this photo went on to higher level college degrees and professional careers.  One family photo can reveal many clues!

Family Portrait:  Norman and Lora Meyer Koepper proudly posed with their children Susan, Paul, and Steve (kneeling) in 1954 in the living room of their home at 5263 East Tenth Street
The historic image and stories are courtesy of Steve Koepper.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Family Celebrations at the Koepper Home

When do we take out our cameras and snap family photos?  If you are like most Americans, your scrapbooks are filled with special occasions like baptisms, birthday parties, and holidays celebrations.  Thankfully, these moments usually document extended family members and good friends as well.  Norman and Lora Meyer Koepper, who purchased 5263 East Tenth Street in 1940, did a great job of capturing important moments in their family's story.  Below are some of the important celebrations in the tale of an Irvington family.

Baptism:  Norman and Lora Meyer Koepper hosted a family gathering for the Meyers and Koeppers at 5263 East Tenth Street on August 17, 1941.  They assembled for the occasion of the Lutheran baptism of Kent Meyer (in the bassinet), the nephew of the Koeppers.  This wonderful photograph documents three generations.  Standing (L-R): Bud and Mary Jane Pattison; Del and Lois Meyer; Claude Pattison, Ed Meyer, Lora Meyer Koepper and Norman Koepper; and Catherine Pattison Meyer; Seated on chairs (L-R):  Bea Pattison, Emma Harting Meyer, Lillian Westmeier Meyer; On the ground and next to the bassinet (L--R):  Leslie Meyer, Susan Koepper, Gayle Meyer, Barbara Meyer

Easter Egg Hunt:  The Koeppers celebrated Easter at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1954. At some point, the family hosted an egg hunt and the children in this photo displayed their bounty. Behind them, you can see the garages at both 5263 and 5261 East Tenth Street.  Pictured (L-R):  Paul Koepper, Norman Koepper, Steve Koepper, Lora Meyer Koepper, and an unidentified young man.  Susan Koepper might be the photographer.  

Confirmation: It was a special day for young Paul Koepper in 1955 when he was confirmed into the Lutheran Church. His extended family members from near and far gathered at the home of Norman and Lora Meyer Koepper at 5263 East Tenth Street to be a part of his special day.  Pictured (L-R):  Delbert Meyer, Claude Pattison, Lois Sundvahl Meyer, Henry Koepper, Bea Pattison, Josephine Koepper, Orville Meyer, Catherine Pattison Meyer, Leslie Meyer, Kent Meyer, Paul Koepper, Steve Koepper, and Lora Meyer Koepper

Christmas:  Norman and Lora Meyer Koepper hosted a Christmas gathering in their home at 5263 East Tenth Street in 1966.  This wonderful color photograph shows not only their grown children, in-laws, and grandchildren, but also the couple's living room.  Pictured (clockwise from lower left):  Sharon Morelock Koepper and Paul Koepper; Eddie Foster and Susan Koepper Foster; Kristin Lenore Foster; Steve Koepper, Lora Meyer Koepper and Kerry Lee Foster.  

Christmas Morning:  All was quiet in the bungalow at 5263 East Tenth Street owned by Norman and Lora Meyer Koepper on Christmas Day, 1966 as they awaited the arrival of their children and grandchildren.  Two stockings were hung on the fireplace for the couple's two grandchildren at the time, Kristin and Kerry Foster. You can see the family pooch, Freckles, resting near the blue patterned chair.  The manger scene on the fireplace, a family treasure, was collected by Steve Koepper throughout the 1950s and came from Danner's Five and Dime Store in Irvington. Mrs. Koepper clearly kept abreast of the latest in decorating with her mod lamp and mid-century furniture.  

Easter Brunch:  On Easter Sunday, 1967, the children and grandchildren of Norman and Lora Meyer Koepper gathered in the family home at 5263 East Tenth Street for a meal.  The family dog, Freckles, a cocker spaniel mix, made her presence known and visited with Tiffany, a dog belonging to Paul and Sharon Koepper.  The humans at the table in the photograph (from clockwise left to right) included:  Beverly James (future wife of Steve Koepper), Steve Koepper, Sharon Morelock Koepper, Lora Meyer Koepper, Kerry Lee Foster, Paul Koepper, Kristin Lenore Foster, Susan Koepper Foster, and Eddie Foster   
The stories and historic images are courtesy of Steve Koepper.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Only Two Families Have Dwelled in a Tenth Street Bungalow

It is very rare to find a house with so few owners, but the modest bungalow at 5263 East 10th Street has had only two separate families dwell in it.  Dr. John W. Graves and his wife Mae Belle first resided in the cottage in the late 1920s.  Dr. Graves, a physician, worked out of an office at 4604 East 10th Street.  The young couple were only in the their late twenties when they moved in and they had one daughter, Katherine. The 1930 Federal Census reveals that the house was worth $6,000.  The Graves family remained in the home throughout the 1930s.  They sold the property to Norman and Lora Meyer Koepper in 1940.

Norman Koepper and Lora Meyer grew up together on the near south side of Indianapolis. Their paths constantly crossed as they both attended church and grade school at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran and later at Emmerich Manual Training High School.  Miss Meyer earned the top scholarship for any senior at Manual High School because of her amazing GPA.  She later went on to study at Ball State University.

The couple married on August 3, 1935.  They dwelled in an apartment and a double in and around the Irvington area before finally purchasing the bungalow at 5263 East 10th Street. Mr. Koepper worked for the J. S. Cruse Realty Company.  He eventually owned the firm and managed property around the city of Indianapolis.  Mrs. Koepper worked for the Indianapolis Public Schools in the Social Services Division.  The couple raised their three children, Susan, Paul, and Steve in the house on Tenth Street. They both retired in 1974.  Mr. Koepper died at home in 1986, but Mrs. Koepper lived to be over 103 years old before passing away in 2013.  The house has been in the Koepper family for 75 years!  (The historic images below are courtesy of Steve Koepper.)  

Handsome Couple:  Lora Meyer on her wedding day on August 3, 1935, and Norman Koepper while attending Benjamin Harrison Law School in Indianapolis in 1937

Paul, Susan, and Steve Koepper stand near the front porch at 5263 East 10th Street on May 5, 1946.

Camping in the backyard:  Steve, Paul, and Susan Koepper posed in their "tent" in the backyard of 5263 East 10th Street in 1950. 

Steve, Susan, Norman, Lora, and Paul Koepper posed for this snapshot on Easter Sunday, 1956.  You can see the rear of 5263 East Tenth Street behind them.  

Birthday Celebration:  Lora Koepper posed next to her husband Norman on her 54th birthday on May 2, 1964, in the living room of 5263 East Tenth Street.  She actually had several more birthdays to go as she lived to see 103 years!  

The Graves-Koepper home at 5263 East Tenth Street in the final days of 2014

Friday, January 2, 2015

Birthday Party in Ellenberger Park in 1954

Ellenberger Park served as the perfect spot for local families to host reunions, receptions celebrations, and birthday parties.  When Steve Koepper turned ten years old on April 11, 1954, he invited his Trinity Evangelical Lutheran School friends to Ellenberger Park to celebrate.  Mr. Koepper, the son of Norman and Lora Meyer Koepper, grew up in a bungalow located at 5263 East Tenth Street.  Ellenberger Park became an important place for the young man as he took swimming lessons from the Red Cross in the park's pool in 1951.  He would later join the Ellenberger Park Swim Team under Coach Dave Hines.  You may see a photo of the 1960 swim team by clicking on the "Ellenberger Park" link below.

Birthday Party Gathering:  Steve Koepper and his Trinity Evangelical Lutheran School friends posed for this photograph in the spring of 1954 in Ellenberger Park.  Left to right:  Steven Deal, Fred Von Spreckelsen, Jeff Boerger, Steve Koepper, Lanny Simpson, Irvin Coffer, Danny Edwards, Ron Yeskie, Bill Hoff, and Tom Holtman
All of the young men in the photo above attended the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran School at 26 North Arsenal Avenue. They were the last class to graduate from this building in 1958 before the institution moved to its current location at 8540 East 16th Street.  Many of the students who attended this school had German heritage.  (photo: Damien Center) 
The historic image and information for this post are courtesy of Steve Koepper.