Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Ostranders Settle Along Audubon Road

In 1921, local Irvingtonian Joseph Ostrander married Guinevere Ham of Shirley, Indiana at the Irvington Presbyterian Church. The couple took up housekeeping at the Audubon Court Apartments. Mr. Ostrander worked as printer and publisher of the Marion County Mail along with another Irvington resident, Howard Caldwell, Sr. The business partners had been friends since their days at Butler University. Mr. Ostrander, a veteran of World War I, was one of millions of people who fell victim to the Great Influenza Epidemic sweeping the planet in 1918. He survived but his health was never good after that. He died in 1926. He left behind a wife and his six-month-old daughter, Nancy.

Mrs. Ostrander was the daughter of George Washington and Adelaide Titus Ham of Hancock County. The Hams operated a successful farm. Mr. Ham named many of his ten children after great literary characters or locales.  One of his sons, for instance, received the name Walter Scott while another was called Montezuma. When it came time to name their youngest daughter, Mr. Ham was determined that the child would be named George no matter whether it was a girl or boy. Mrs. Ham quietly ignored her husband's demand and placed "Georgia Guinevere Ham" on the birth certificate. She became known as "Gwin." 

After the death of her husband, Guinevere Ostrander and her infant daughter, Nancy, moved into the beautiful house at 323 North Audubon Road in 1927. She had purchased the home from the Newton family. Two years earlier, Mrs. Ostrander had received news from her brother, Thaddeus Cooper Ham, who resided on a coffee plantation in Cuba, that his wife had died. He asked Guinevere to raise their newly born child, Eva Ruth Ham. Baby Eva arrived in August of 1927 along with her Cuban nanny, Esperanza Rodriguez, to stay permanently at her Audubon Road address. Mrs. Ostrander’s mother, Adelaide Titus Ham, of Shirley, Indiana joined her daughter at the home shortly thereafter. Other people would also call upon Mrs. Ostrander’s generosity over the years and the house remained a lively and exciting place.

Guinevere Ostrander watched over Nancy Ostrander, her daughter, (left) and Eva Ruth Ham (right), her niece and adopted daughter. The photo was taken in 1929 in the living room at 323 North Audubon Road.  

Employees of the Marion County Mail gathered for this photograph c1919 in front of their office at 105 North Alabama Street. Pictured from left to right:  Joseph Ostrander, Paul Cornelius, Howard Caldwell, Sr., and Miss Peterson. 

Nancy Ostrander and her cousin, Eva Ham, were raised as sisters. This photo was likely taken in 1927.

Mother and Daughter: Guinevere Ham Ostrander posed with her daughter, Nancy in 1929.

323 North Audubon Road in the autumn of 2015.  
The historic images are courtesy of Nancy Ostrander.  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Irvington--A College Town

From 1875 until 1928, Irvington hosted Butler University. For thousands of students, the neighborhood became an important part of their lives. Butler employed women as professors from its founding and was an early leader in coeducation among U.S. colleges. The campus provided very little housing with only one dorm so most students dwelled in boarding, fraternity, or sorority houses throughout the community. Many local residents earned an extra income by leasing out a bedroom to a Butler student. In 1912, the only dorm on campus was for out-of-town women. Decorum between men and women was tightly regulated in those days although campus officials frequently had meetings with the students to review the rules and infractions.

Two of the images below show the women's dorm on campus. The photos were taken between 1912 and 1919. The third image shows the bedroom of two Butler students. It was likely taken in a private home as the young women were members of the Kappa Kappa Kappa Sorority, but it might have been taken in the dorm. Note all of the interesting items in that photo!

Women's Dorm on Butler campus c1919 (demolished)

Women's Dorm on Butler campus in 1912 (demolished)

Two Butler women study and work in their room somewhere on or near the Butler campus in 1912
The historic images are courtesy of Nancy Ostrander.  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

South Audubon Road Bungalow 1941 and 2015

On May 30, 1941, George and Barbara Long posed for this photo with their infant son, George, Jr. in front of their home at 346 South Audubon Road.  Mr. Long worked as a ruler for a ledger company. Mrs. Long taught Sunday school at the Irvington Presbyterian Church. She had been in an auto accident as a young woman and had suffered some paralysis so the couple needed a one story home. Thankfully, she regained the use of both of her arms and legs. The Longs lived in the modest bungalow for over fifty years.

Barbara and George Long posed with their son, George Jr. on May 30, 1941 in front of 346 South Audubon Road.

346 South Audubon Road in 2015
The historic image is courtesy of George William Long, IV.  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Wilkens Family Move into 9th Street Cottage--1958

Pharmacist, Harold Wilkens and his wife, Ellen, purchased their first home in 1958. For years they leased doubles in the Emerson Heights and Irvington neighborhoods.  Late in life, they managed to save up enough money to purchase a beautiful Tudor-Revival brick cottage at 5260 East 9th Street. Their only child, Diana, dwelled in New York City at the time although she later returned upon learning the news that her Mother was dying.  Mrs. Wilkens passed away in 1964, but Mr. Wilkens continued to dwell in the house.  Diana later inherited the property. Photos from the late 1950s and early 1960s reveal joyful times in the house.

Ellen and Harold Wilkens proudly stand in front of their home at 5260 East 9th Street in the summer of 1958.

5260 East 9th Street in July of 1958

Ellen Wilkens decorated the Christmas tree in the living room at 5260 East 9th Street in 1958.

Harold and Ellen Wilkens on Christmas Day, 1958 in their home at 5260 East 9th Street

Ellen and Harold Wilkens in their dining room on Christmas Day, 1958

Christmas Day, 1959 at 5260 East 9th Street

Christmas Tree at 5260 East 9th Street in 1958

Ellen Wilkens on Christmas Day in 1958 at 5260 East 9th Street

Harold and Ellen Wilkens working in the kitchen at 5260 East 9th Street in 1958.  
The historic images are courtesy of Diana Wilkens.