Sunday, February 28, 2016

If Walls Could Talk

Sometime in the mid-1950s, Indianapolis Public Schools teacher, Barret Diehl, heard that the city of Indianapolis was removing the stone blocks in between the interurban tracks on East Washington Street in Irvington. For ten cents a stone, local residents could dig up the stones and use them on their property. Mr. Diehl laid the blocks for his driveway and built a lovely wall at the rear of his home and along the alley behind 336 North Audubon Road. Over sixty years later, Mr. Diehl's stone wall still stands.

Stone wall constructed from pavers formerly in between the interurban tracks on East Washington Street (Behind 336 North Audubon Road)

Stone Wall behind 336 North Audubon Road

Information for this story is courtesy of Judy Niedenthal. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Who Lived Here? A Politician Along South Arlington Avenue

In their middle years, Cassius and Jane Hogle, both 53, built a home at 30 South Arlington Avenue in 1913. They had lived in many Irvington resdiences before constructing the two-story Arts and Crafts-era home. Jane Buchel, who hailed from New Palestine, briefly taught in schoolhouses in Hancock County before marrying Cassius Hogle on October 26, 1882. They had one son named Frederick William Hogle. Mrs. Hogle could play both the organ and the piano and was very active with the Irvington Methodist Church.

Cassius Hogle, an avid Republican, founded the Irvington G.O.P. in 1918 and held a variety of offices including justice of the peace, Marion County Councilor, and as a Marion County Commissioner. Read any Indianapolis newspaper in the 1920s and you will see his name. In December of 1925, Commissioner Hogle tried to close the Julietta Hospital for the Insane on Brookville Road and turn the site into an orphanage or delinquent's home. Others in the county did not agree. In 1926, he had to defend the conditions of the Marion County Jail after a critical report from the Board of Charities. He publicly announced that there was nothing wrong with the jail and that no changes would be necessary. Much of the publicity surrounding Mr. Hogle's tenure in office surrounded conflicts of interest. In July of 1926, an Indianapolis News reporter pointed out that a new bridge along East 11th Street over the Pleasant Run Stream would benefit the property value of Mr. Hogle's son. In another case, Mr. Hogle approved the bid of new voting machine designed and built by another family member.

In 1928, Mr. Hogle announced that he would not seek reelection as a Marion County Commissioner. Two years later, he was subpoenaed to account for missing records that brought about a pay increase for county commissioners.

The Hogles continued to dwell at 30 South Arlington Avenue. Mr. Hogle remained active with the Irvington Republicans. A nearby neighbor, Arthur Robinson, would become a U.S. Senator. Mrs. Hogle became ill in 1932 and moved in with Effie McGrew, her sister, at 69 Whittier Place. She died on March 8, 1933. Mr. Hogle moved out of his Arlington Avenue home and lived with his son for much of the remainder of his life.

Cassius Hogle in 1926

30 South Arlington Avenue was built in 1913 by Cassius and Jane Hogle. (Photo: 2016)
   Sources: For Julietta Hospital--Indianapolis Star, December 25, 1925; Conflict of Interest--Indianapolis News, July 26, 1926; Jail--Indianapolis Star, January 16, 1926; Mrs. Hogle's death--Indianapolis Star, March 9, 1933

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Rental Agreement From 1947

In 1922 Harold and Nell Whitsett Scott built their dream home at 5435 Pleasant Run Parkway East Drive. The couple enjoyed several wonderful milestones in the residence including the marriage of their daughter Martha to Edgar Baum in 1935.  The Great Depression had been hard on the couple, but they weathered through and kept the house. Nell Scott's world changed dramatically when Mr. Scott died on October 28, 1941, at the age of 54. In less than two months, the country would be at war.

Faced with an uncertain future, Mrs. Scott made the decision to convert her upstairs into an apartment in 1943. Renters were to enter through a side door on Whittier Place. Their address would now be 365 Whittier Place. Mrs. Scott dwelled downstairs.  The very first people to rent the upstairs apartment were James L. and Lillian Bassett Nulle. They did not stay for very long. James and Frances Ellsworth leased the small unit in 1945 and remained for two years.  In 1947, newly married Paul L. and June Crawshaw leased the apartment. Mr. Crawshaw, a decorated World War II veteran, signed the lease on August 2, 1947. Lena D. Vestal, who dwelled at 344 Whittier Place, served as a witness to the agreement. Mrs. Vestal and Mrs. Scott had been friends for years.

Mr. Crawshaw had received the Croix de Guerre from the provisional French president, Charles DeGaulle for his bravery in the Italian campaign. After returning to the United States, the divorced father of one, married June Cox. At the time that the couple rented the apartment, he worked at a gas station on Northwestern Avenue.  The Crawshaws stayed into the 1950s-- longer than most of Mrs. Scott's renters.  Others would follow and subsequent owners of 5435 continued to lease the upper rooms. The home is once again a single-family residence. Below is the rental agreement that each tenant had to sign. Mrs. Scott was very particular about noise and sanitation.

Indianapolis, Indiana
August 2, 1947

This is a personal agreement governing the renting of upper duplex at #365 Whittier Place.

One month's rent for two adults only, shall be $69 paid in advance.

If tenant gives two weeks notice and vacates before half of the month has passed, owner will return one half month's rent.

The apartment is limited to two adults. When it becomes necessary to take in a third party whether it be children, relatives, or friends, etc, then the tenant agrees to void the lease and vacate the apartment. 

After two weeks, a guest becomes a third party.

No pets can be kept in the apartment.

Tenant agrees that there will be NO WILD DRINKING PARTIES in the apt.

Radio or record playing is from 7:30AM to 10:30PM at a reasonable tone. Quiet after 10:30PM.

Because furnishings are the property of the owner, she reserves one key with the right to enter apartment if the tenant is not home, when repairs, cleaning or exterior work is to be done on the second floor, or when windows are left in open in violation of this contract. 

Windows must be CLOSED whenever the tenant leaves the apartment in summer or winter. The owner may close them to protect her furnishings, floors, and ceilings downstairs.

Tenant agrees not to drive nails or tacks in walls or woodwork.

Tenant agrees to replace any broken or misplaced articles or damage done to furnishings while renting the apartment.

Garage must be kept docked at all times because it is also the entrance to downstairs porch and apt.

Frigidaire will be oiled by the owner every three months. It must never be turned off. Turn low if you wish to leave it when away for any length of time. 

The upper decks of garage and downstairs sunroom are NOT porches and can not be walked on.

Vacuum cleaner in rear porch closet is for use on both floors. Please empty after each using and return to closet so that it will always be available.  

The heating plant in these apts. is an air temp. oil burner. Please keep registers wiped out once or twice a month so that dust will not circulate through the blowing system. 

Please watch dripping faucets. 

Because these two apartments are really a home, they offer many advantages not enjoyed in an apartment building, but they also make certain sanitary rules necessary. So that both apts. will remain clean and satisfactory to both occupants, it is necessary to state the rules for disposal of garbage, and accumulations of paper, tins, etc. 

     Please wash tin cans to prevent odors in the garage.
     Please empty step-on can upstairs daily.
     Please wash garage cans each week. Paper in the bottom of the can can keep can much more sanitary.
      An incinerator is provided to burn paper at the curb.

The tenant agrees to abide by the rules and regulations of this personal contract which was read and signed by the leasee and the leasor in the present of one witness.  

Mrs. Scott also provided the times for trash pick-up. Nell Scott seems to have moved out of the home by the late 1950s. She passed away in 1962.

The home of Harold and Nell Scott in 1922.  Mrs. Scott would later convert her upstairs into an apartment in 1943. 

The historic photo and rental agreement is from the Martha Scott Baum collection.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Who Lived Here? A Career Woman Along South Emerson Avenue

Leonora Showalter Ross, a journalist, wrote for the Indianapolis Star throughout the late 1910s and most of the 1920s. She served as both the "Home Planning" editor as well as the music editor for the daily paper. In the summer of 1923, Mrs. Ross wrote a series about the discovery of a trunk found in the attic of a New Castle, Indiana home. Contained in that trunk were letters and personal papers belonging to the Indiana poet, James Whitcomb Riley. She also wrote of a visit by Harry Houdini to the city of Indianapolis. Thousands of Hoosier readers perused her stories daily.

Her personal life remains somewhat unclear at this time. In 1914, at the age of 18 she married David N. Ross in Missouri. They moved to Indianapolis likely because Mr. Ross found a job with a local radiator factory. She began working for the Star shortly after her arrival to the city. By 1922, the couple purchased 346 South Emerson Avenue and started a family. They would have three children. Mrs. Ross did not give up her career as most women would have done during this era. She joined a local writers' club and a women's league. She hosted bridge parties in her home. Then, according to a blurb in the Society section of the Indianapolis Star, Leonora Ross drove to New York City and sailed to Europe in the summer of 1928. Did she stay in Europe? The 1930 census lists her husband, children, and even her mother, Katherine Showalter, residing along South Emerson Avenue, but no Leonora Ross. A newspaper article about the marriage of her first daughter in 1936 does not mention her as present. Where was Leonora Ross? By 1941, she seems to have returned to her husband and family as a newspaper account mentions her attending her third child's graduation from Arsenal Tech High School in 1941.

The Ross family dwelled in the American Four Square along Emerson Avenue until 1938. They then moved to a home along Sutherland Avenue. Information on indicates that the couple might have lived into the 1980s, but an Indianapolis Star article about Houdini in 1976 referred to the "late Mrs. Leonora Ross." Perhaps a Ross descendant will find this article and help to shed light on this interesting journalist who once called Irvington home.

Taken from Fellow Citizens of Indianapolis, 1926

346 South Emerson Avenue in 2016