Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dewey Avenue Home on a Wintery Day c1958

Charles Rich and Verla Goodwin Rich dwelled at 5936 Oak Avenue through much of the 1950s and into the early 1960s. They had one son, Dick, who graduated from Howe High School in 1957. Mr. Rich worked as a lathe operator for the International Harvester plant on Brookville Road.

In the historic photo, Verla Rich documented Charles as he shoveled the snow for the Perkins family who lived at 5925 Dewey Avenue. Harold and Lulu Perkins, both quite elderly by the 1950s, resided behind the Rich family. The couple had owned the property since 1921. City directory research indicates that the house had been converted into apartments as early as the 1920s. Mr. Perkins filed for a permit in 1944 to turn the place into an apartment building, but it is unclear if he planned to tear down the current structure or add more units into the existing home. (Indianapolis Star, July 18, 1944, 14)

The connection to the Perkins and Rich family is unknown at this time, but by 1963 the Rich family had moved away from their Oak Avenue home.

Charles F. Rich in front of the Harry and Lulu Perkins home at 5925 Dewey Avenue c1958

The historic photo and information about the Rich family is courtesy of Carol Yeager. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

House for Sale--1963

Paul and Judy Niedenthal had been looking for the ideal house for a while. The young couple had a family and wanted to live in Irvington. In 1963, they drove by the brick bungalow at 336 North Audubon Road and noticed that it was for sale. Mrs. Jean Diehl, the widow of Barrett Diehl, dwelled in the residence at the time. Built in 1936, the brick home replaced a larger Italianate house that had been built shortly after Irvington's founding in 1870. The Niedenthals were drawn to the layout of the residence with its long central hall and rooms upstairs for their children. Mrs. Niedenthal loved that the entry hall still contained its original knotty pine wall covering. There would also be plenty of yard to take care of as the house sits on a double lot.  53 years later, the home looks much as it did in 1963. In fact, little has changed about the place since its construction in 1936. Photos dating to the early 1940s from the Ostrander family, who lived across the street, reveal that the porch has always been enclosed.

The real estate photo of 336 North Audubon Road was taken by John Horton in 1963

336 North Audubon Road in the early spring of 2016
The historic image and stories for this post are courtesy of Judy Niedenthal.  

Sunday, August 21, 2016

North Audubon Road Home 1965 and Now

In the winter of 1965, Caroline Dorsett, the wife of Wayne Dorsett, posed for this photo on the tree lawn of their home at 816 North Audubon Road. She was clearly dressed up. Was she getting ready to get into the Buick near her?  Across the street and behind Mrs. Dorsett, you can see the home at 819 North Audubon Road.  Hubert and Hannah E. Reintjes dwelled in the lovely Dutch Colonial Revival home with the green awnings in 1965. Mr. Reintjes was a salesman while Mrs. Reintjes was an office secretary.

Caroline Dorsett in front of her home at 816 North Audubon Road in 1965. Behind her, you can see 819 North Audubon Road.

819 North Audubon Road in 2016
The historic photo was provided by Emily Jarzen.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Story of a Brick Tudor in North Irvington Garden District

In 1932, while the Great Depression depleted the income of most Americans, a young couple in their early twenties hired architect, George W. Applegate, to design their new home at 816 North Audubon Road. Married on February 6, 1930, Donald Hirschman and Elma Louis Paul Hirschman seemed to be prospering while many of their neighbors struggled. Mr. Hirschman came from a prominent Indianapolis family. His Grandfather, Conrad, founded the J.C. Hirschman Mattress Company. His father worked in sales for the Lavelle Rubber Company and the Radiator Specialty Company. Mrs. Hirschman, who attended Butler University, originally hailed from Cambridge City, Indiana.

Like his father and grandfather, Donald Hirschman turned towards sales to earn a living, first for the Indianapolis Paint and Varnish Company and later for Harry Sharp Ford. At the time that they hired him, George W. Applegate, who moved to Indianapolis from Corydon, Indiana, worked for the Ar-Ke-Tex Corporation. Mr. Applegate designed a brick Tudor-Revival home in vogue during that era. A copy of the original design still remains with the property due to the generosity of Conrad Hirschman, the only child of Donald and Elma.

The Hirshmans relocated to Logansport, Indiana in 1942. Other families to dwell in the cottage after the Hirschmans included the Horton and Pearce families. In 1952, Wayne and Caroline Dorsett along with their two daughters, Marty and Carol, moved into the house. For the next forty-five years, the Dorsetts resided at 816 North Audubon Road. Both of the Dorsett daughters married and eventually left the home, but Mr. and Mrs. Dorsett continued to dwell here for many years. Mr. Dorsett worked for the Eel River Oil Company. Mrs. Dorsett stayed home with their daughters but was active in several clubs including the Betsy Ross Club. Society snippets from the Indianapolis Star, reveal that she hosted numerous club events at her home in the 1950s and 60s. Mrs. Dorsett passed away in 1989 while Mr. Dorsett died in 1996.

Most of the information for this post came from Emily Jarzen, who copiously researched the story of the house as a present for her husband. She interviewed Conrad Hirschman and both of the Dorsett daughters. Ms. Jarzen generously shared both the information and photos for this post.

Blueprints drawn up by George W. Applegate in 1932 for Donald and Elma Hirschman in 1932

An undated photograph taken by the Dorsett family who dwelled at 816 North Audubon Road from 1952 until 1996.

Wayne Dorsett was a businessman and worked for an oil company. He and his wife Caroline dwelled at 816 North Audubon Road for forty-five years.  

Wayne Dorsett posed with his daughters, Marty and Carol c1955 in front of the family home at 816 North Audubon Road.

816 North Audubon Road c1959

816 North Audubon Road in the summer of 2016

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Who Lived Here? The Olsens of Downey Avenue

In 1915, the widow, Elizabeth Olsen, and her son Olaf, moved into 378 South Downey Avenue. Young Olaf graduated from Shortridge High School and landed a job with the Aetna Trust and Savings Company. World War One interrupted his career, but upon his return from the war he resumed his vocation and married Grace Davis. The Olsens set up housekeeping in the bungalow along Downey Avenue along with Mr. Olsen's mother. Olaf and Grace were members of the Irvington Presbyterian Church. Mr. Olsen was a commander of the Irvington Post of the American Legion. They lived in the bungalow until purchasing a newer home at 989 North Campbell Avenue in 1929. Sometime in 1926, Olaf sat for this image for a publication called Fellow Citizens of Indianapolis.  He was thirty-six-years-old and the Treasurer at Aetna. He would later work for the state of Indiana. His mother died in 1929 at the home on Campbell Avenue while Mr. Olsen died at the age of 62 in 1953. Grace Davis Olsen lived until 1977. Their Irvington bungalow looks much as it did when the Olsens dwelled here in the 1910s and 1920s.

Grace Davis Olsen before she married Olaf Olsen (photo courtesy of the Olsen Family via  

378 South Downey Avenue in 2016