Sunday, March 29, 2015

Busy Irvington Intersection in 1962 and Today

Journalist and photographer, Frank Widner, photographed McShane's Parkway Tavern at 501-03 North Emerson Avenue sometime in 1962.  The popular lounge, run by Thomas and Roseline McShane, was frequented over the years by many east side residents.  Although Irvington proper remained dry until 2000, nearby bars like McShane's served as a spot where folks who did not subscribe to the temperance philosophy, could go for a drink after a long day at work.  Sadly, the historic building was torn down about five years ago.  In the older photo, you can also see the properly maintained houses in the 500 block of North Emerson Avenue.  Residents kept their yards and shrubs trimmed and the houses appeared to be in good order.  505 and the double at 509-11 North Emerson Avenue can not be seen in the historic image as they were behind the building and the tavern sign.  The first home visible in the 1962 photograph at 515 North Emerson Avenue belonged to Mrs. Nola B. Coe, the widow to Ralph. Next to her, in the bungalow at 517 North Emerson Avenue dwelled Merrice and Mary Horton.  The Snell family dwelled at 521 North Emerson Avenue and Mrs. Lola Christman lived in the two-story home at 521 North Emerson Avenue.  A contemporary photo reveals the two homes not seen in the 1962 image and the homes listed above.

Intersection of North Emerson Avenue and East Michigan Street in 1962  (Photograph by Frank Widner)

Intersection of North Emerson Avenue and East Michigan Street in 2015

The historic photograph is courtesy of the Widner family via Tumbler.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Scenes Around the Irvington Methodist Church in 1948 and in 2015

Walter and Merry Jo Carey joyously departed the Irvington Methodist Church at 30 North Audubon Road on May 16, 1948, to start their newly married life.  The festivities began when Mrs. Carey stood atop the stairs and tossed down her wedding bouquet.  Behind the family members, you can see the beautiful rock wall located at 75 North Audubon Road.  The lushness of the tree canopy prevent us from seeing the stunning Thornton House on the property; however, the beautiful Craftsman home had stood on the site since 1914 and the Thornton's still dwelled there in 1948.  In another shot, friends decorated the newly married couple's car.  Behind them, you can see the cottage located at 23 North Audubon Road.  The Hui family might have been looking out one of their windows from that house to enjoy the merriment outside.  Of course, they might not have paid any heed as joyous events like this had been common here for decades.

Throwing the Bouquet:  Merry Jo Carey tossed her flowers to one lone woman hoping for a "catch."  Behind the family members, you can see the wall and home at 75 North Audubon Road on May 16, 1948.

Standing atop the stairs at the Irvington Methodist Church, you can see the same view that Merry Jo Carey saw when she joyfully tossed her bouquet.  The century-old stone wall still stands across the street and encloses the property at 75 North Audubon Road in March of 2015.     

Decorating the Car:  Friends gathered to write a few words on the windshield of the newlyweds, Walter and Merry Jo Carey, on May 16, 1948.  The house to the left at 23 North Audubon Road belonged to the Hui family in 1948.  

The grounds of the Irvington Methodist Church and a nearby house at 23 North Audubon Road can be seen in this contemporary image taken in March of 2015.  

One Last Goodbye:  Friends and family surrounded newlyweds, Walter and Merry Jo Carey, across the street from the Irvington Methodist Church as they gathered to take off for their honeymoon on May 16, 1948.  
The historic images are courtesy of Leslie Wilson.  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Beautiful Spring Wedding in Irvington--1948

Walter Hershel Carey and Merry Jo Kessler likely breathed a sigh of relief when they awoke on the morning of May 16, 1948, to see that it was a beautiful day to have a wedding in Irvington.  The couple had met a year earlier.  Both were employed.  Mr. Carey  had worked stateside during World War II and by 1948 served as a salesman for the William Lynn Chemical Company.  He rented a small apartment in nearby Woodruff Place.  Miss Kessler leased a room from Anna Susman, the widow of John Susman, at 5145 East Michigan Street in the Pleasanton section of Irvington.  During World War II, Miss Kessler worked at the P.R. Mallory Defense Plant where she learned how to use an early calculator called the Comptometer.

On the day of their wedding, family members converged at the Irvington Methodist Church.  Mr. Carey's family hailed from New Castle while Miss Kessler's people drove in from Kokomo. They held their reception in the church as well.  The couple did not remain in Irvington for very long as they moved to Broad Ripple and later into Washington Township as Mr. Carey was a rising star within the company.  Mrs. Carey stayed home and raised the couple's two children, Leslie and Brian. Devout Methodists, the pair were charter members of the Epworth Methodist Church on Allisonville Road.  They took their vows seriously on this date in 1948 and remained together for the rest of their lives.

Walter Carey united in matrimony with his lovely bride, Merry Jo Kessler, on May 16, 1948, in the Irvington Methodist Church.

The Deed is Done!  Mr. and Mrs. Carey exited the Irvington Methodist Church on May 16, 1948.  

Merry Jo and Walter Carey opened gifts inside the Irvington Methodist Church on May 16, 1948.  

About to be a Bride:  Merry Jo Kessler looked excitedly into the nave as she was about to walk down the aisle at the Irvington Methodist Church on May 16, 1948. Her father, Joel Henry Kessler, stood next to her as did her maid of honor, Marilyn Hollingsworth, and her flower girl.  

Mr. and Mrs. Carey cut the cake inside the Irvington Methodist Church on May 16, 1948. Nearby, family members from New Castle and Kokomo, Indiana watched the ritual.  

Walter and Merry Jo Kessler Carey joyously greeted guests after marrying at the Irvington Methodist Church on May 16, 1948.  
The historic images are courtesy of Leslie Wilson.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

War Correspondent Documented the Lives of Hoosier Soldiers

Leo and Emma Litz moved into their brand new home at 914 North Arlington Avenue in 1938. The veteran Indianapolis News reporter had spent much of his time covering Marion County politics. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the 51-year-old journalist temporarily left his wife and his home to cover the war in the Pacific.  His column in the Indianapolis News called "Report From the Pacific" documented the stories of Hoosiers who were fighting the Japanese. Mr. Litz likely had an affinity for veterans as he had fought in World War One and had witnessed the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in the Hall of Mirrors in 1919.

Much in the same light as fellow correspondent and Hoosier, Ernie Pyle, Mr. Litz sought to tell the everyday kinds of stories facing the troops.  He went out of his way to get as much information about the soldiers as he could including their addresses and family members.  He told of the mundane, the humorous, and the horrible.  After the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, Mr. Litz interviewed the airmen who discovered the wreckage site and their daring efforts to save as many men from the ocean as possible. After the defeat of the Japanese, he went into Tokyo with American troops.  There he saw how desperate the Japanese had become towards the end of the war with so little food available. He traveled down to Hiroshima to see the devastation of the atomic bomb and his vivid reporting helped his readers understand the power of that weapon.  Later he found himself in the hospital in Tokyo near the cot of General Tojo, who had tried to kill himself.  While in the hospital, a fellow Irvingtonian, Captain Joseph T. Farrell, 34, of 934 North Lesley Avenue attended to both Tojo and Mr. Litz.  The two neighbors must have had a joyful reunion and could easily walk over for coffee upon their return to the States.

After the war, Leo Litz returned to Irvington and wrote a book about his experiences in the Pacific called Report From the Pacific (1946).  He enlisted a friend by the name of J. Hugh O'Donnell to illustrated his narrative.  The volume is a treasure of stories about Indiana men and women who served in the Pacific during World War II.  The chronicle should be indexed at some point so that descendants may learn more about the work and bravery of their grandfathers and mothers.  A product of his time, Mr. Litz frequently referred to the Japanese in a derogatory manner, but towards the end of the book his tone is much more sympathetic after he sees their hardships and horrors.

Below you will see a photo of Mr. Litz in the Pacific.  I have also documented all of the Irvington houses and families he notes in the book.  Of course, there are hundreds of others mentioned from towns like Rushville to Bloomington to Huntington to Gary.  Mr. Litz clearly deserves the same honors and accolades as other correspondents who risked their lives during World War II in order to tell Americans the stories of their veterans.

Indianapolis News correspondent, Leo Litz (on the right), chatted with Bill Madigen of Veedersburg, Indiana on the island of Guam.  (Report From the Pacific, 14)

After World War II, Leo Litz came home to 914 North Arlington to pen Report From the Pacific in 1946. 

Leo and Emma Litz built 914 North Arlington Avenue in 1938 and dwelled here until 1948. They later moved to Hamilton County, Indiana to manage a dairy farm.  They retired to San Diego and spent the remainder of their lives there.  

Leo Litz documented Captain Joseph T. Farrell of 934 North Lesley Avenue in his book Report From the Pacific. Captain Farrell provided medical aid to Mr. Litz in Japan.  

Major Louis A. Aull dwelled at 938 North Ritter Avenue as the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward A. Aull.  He fell in love with an Irvington girl, Martha Lou Matthews, of 966 North Graham Avenue, and married her before shipping out to the Pacific. While stationed in the tropics, Mr. Aull received the joyful news that his wife had given birth to their son.  Leo Litz documented this touching story in his book Report From the Pacific.  

At a stop in Honolulu, Leo Litz interviewed Specialist Ned Tilman who grew up at 970 North Campbell Avenue. Mr. Tilman had been a swimming star in his youth and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Blaine Tilman.  He held down a variety of jobs in the navy including his stint as a swimming instructor.

Towards the end of World War II, Leo Litz documented the departure of Hoosier veterans. Soldiers returning from Guam, Okinawa, Saipan, and other islands had to be processed at Pearl Harbor before going home.  This procedure could take several days.  While in the processing station, Mr. Litz interviewed Louis Townsend, 27, of 5617 Lowell Avenue. Mr. Townsend was anxious to get home to see his wife and children. He had not seen them in over two years.  
 Source:  Leo M. Litz, Report From the Pacific, Indianapolis, 1946.  All of the contemporary photos were taken on March 7, 2015.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Lockwood Family of Burgess Avenue

James A. and Martha Johnson Lockwood moved from Hamilton County to Irvington in 1924.  At 48 years-old each, both of them were making a major change in their lives. They purchased a bungalow atop a hill at 5326 Burgess Avenue. (then numbered 5316) The couple had five children although two of them were already grown and moving into careers when their parents relocated to the city. In the 1920s, several of the family members worked for the L.S. Ayres Department Store.  Mr. Lockwood stocked the shelves while his son Albert served as a receiving clerk for the company. Albert's wife, Jeanette, was employed as an Ayres inspector.  Lester, the oldest son of James and Martha Lockwood worked as a carpenter before moving to Anderson, Indiana.

By the early 1930s, Mr. Lockwood left L.S. Ayres & Company and worked as a poultry and egg salesman.  The family's backyard abutted the Butler University football field so they could easily get a view of the excitement of various sporting events by just walking out the backdoor.  The 1930 Federal Census reveals that the house was worth $3,000. The Lockwoods dwelled in the home throughout the 1930s and 1940s.  Sadly, Mrs. Lockwood passed away in 1943 leaving Mr. Lockwood a widower for many years. He eventually sold the Irvington house and moved back to Cicero, Indiana by 1950 where he ran a hardware store.

The Lockwood Family in 1919:  Top--William, Lester, Leroy; Bottom--Martha, Juanita, James, and Albert

Martha Johnson Lockwood of 5326 Burgess Avenue c1938

The Lockwood family posed on the steps of their home at 5326 Burgess Avenue around 1925. At the far right of the photo stood the matriarch of the family, Martha Johnson Lockwood.  Next to her stood her son, Lester and her daughter-in-law, Lillian Johnson Lockwood.  Her grandchild, Robert, stood next to his father, while her daughter Juanita was at the far left.

Grandchildren come for a visit:  Robert and Joseph Lockwood posed with the family dog at 5326 Burgess Avenue in 1927.  Sadly, little Joseph would be killed by a car at age nine in in 1934.  

Seen better days:  5326 Burgess Avenue was not occupied for many years. Recent work on the home shows that someone may be making improvements. Over the years some rather unsympathetic changes have slightly affected the look of the house. The beautiful blond brick porch has been painted and the home is sided in both aluminum and vinyl although the clapboard siding is still visible in places.  

The historic images are courtesy of the descendants of the James and Martha Johnson Lockwood family via