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

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