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.  

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