Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Lost Irvington--28 South Audubon Road

Built for Thomas Carr Howe in 1901, this stunning home, formerly located at 28 South Audubon Road, was one of the most elegant in the neighborhood. In 1946, James and Patricia McWilliams purchased the residence from the Cassell family. Mr. McWilliams owned a Shell Gas Station at East 38th Street and Fall Creek Road. Mrs. McWilliams was busy at home with seven children and soon four more! The large dwelling was a perfect place to raise eleven children.

Jerry McWilliams, who grew up in the house, remembers many stunning architectural details about the place including the large porch, a widow's walk where he could see downtown, and gorgeous woodwork throughout. The home sat on an immense lot with two outbuildings so there was plenty of room for play. In 1963, James and Patricia McWilliams sold the house to the Irvington Presbyterian Church, who demolished the entire property in 1964 for a parking lot. Throughout the demolition, workers would place pocket doors and other architectural features along Audubon Road with price tags on the salvage.  It was a staggering loss for the neighborhood.

More stories and photos about this property will be posted so stay tuned.  The historic images and stories are courtesy of Jerry McWilliams.

28 South Audubon Road in 1946

Ellen McWilliams rides her tricycle in front of 28 South Audubon Road in 1953

Group shot of the McWilliams family in 1958:  Richard, Joe, Ken, Jerry (driving), Ellen, and Ed in the backyard of 28 South Audubon Road

Monday, July 31, 2017

South Audubon Road in 1943 and Now

Bobby Kistner and George Long, Jr, enjoyed a playdate on Easter Sunday in 1943. The home behind the lads, located at 326 South Audubon Road, belonged to Clarence and Mary Mobley. Mr. Mobley was a factory worker at Bridgeport Brass. Some of the trees remain from 1943 and so does the Mobley residence although a front porch with a turret was added much later.

Bobby Kistner of 263 South Audubon Road pulled his friend, George Long, Jr. of 346 South Audubon Road, along their street. Behind the boys, you can see the home at 326 South Audubon Road as it looked in 1943.
You can somewhat see 326 South Audubon Road through the trees. (Photo taken on July 30, 2017) 
The historic image is courtesy of Robert Kistner and Elizabeth Bodi.  

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Beloved Neighbors--The Long Family of 346 South Audubon Road

George and Barbara Long dwelled at 346 South Audubon Road for many decades. Their good friends and former neighbors, William and Inez Kistner, lived down the street at 263 South Audubon Road. Mr. Long worked as a ruler for a ledger company. Robert Kistner, the son of William and Inez Kistner, wrote of Mrs. Long in his unpublished memoir, "I learned about being kind from Barbara Long." Mrs. Long had been in a terrible traffic accident and was blind in one eye. She had been a teacher and had no children at the time that young Bobby was growing up so she treated him like one of her own. She took him to see Snow White at the Irving Theater and she held Easter egg hunts in her yard for him. In 1940, the Longs joyfully announced the birth of their son, George.

Inez Kistner, who is closest to the photographer, visited with Barbara and George Long in their home at 346 South Audubon Road c1941.   (photo courtesy of Robert Kistner and Elizabeth Bodi)

Barbara and George Long posed with their son George in the spring of 1941 in the front yard of their home at 346 South Audubon Road. (photo courtesy of George William Long, IV) 

The Long Bungalow in September of 2015

Barbara Long posed with her son, George, Jr, Bobby Kistner, and Joseph Cummings, a neighbor at 340 South Audubon in 1942. Mr. Cummings was a factory foreman. His wife, Marceine was not pictured.  (photo courtesy of Robert Kistner and Elizabeth Bodi) 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Childhood Along South Audubon Road

Robert Kistner, or Bobby as he was known in the 1930s and 1940s, grew up at 263 South Audubon Road.  He was the youngest child of William and Inez Kistner. His twin sisters, Teresa and Dolores did not live in the house for long as they were both married by the early 1940s. His older brother Jack enlisted in 1942 for service in World War II so little Bobby was practically raised as an only child. He recalled that there were few other boys in the vicinity other than Dickie Gilmore at 262 South Audubon so he frequently played with many young girls who lived nearby. In an unpublished memoir, he jokingly tells that the young ladies enjoyed dressing him up and adding him to their stories. In the fall, they would rake leaves to create floor plans and play house.

Mr. Kistner noted that his bedroom, the smallest in the double, was at the rear of the home and without a closet so his parents added a chifforobe for his clothes.  He also had a small desk in the room where he displayed his rock collection. He remembered that his parents received many items delivered to the home including milk on a daily basis, eggs weekly, and sometimes fresh bread. A fruit vendor passed through the neighborhood and rang a bell so that folks would know where he was parked. Bananas and oranges were expensive in those days so the family only purchased these items once in a while.

For entertainment, he was allowed to go to Saturday matinees at the Irving Theater. Mr. Kistner recalled one amusing incident in 1939 when he decided to purchase some popcorn after the cartoons were over and instead of going home as he was supposed to do, he stayed for the next film, Gone With the Wind. His parents became frantic when he did not return so his father rushed to the theater and walked up and down the crowded rows to try to find his son. He finally found his wayward child and just as he was about to reproach him, young Bobby told his father, "Dad, the Yankees are about to burn Atlanta." The elder Kistner was intrigued and sat down next to his son and watched the remainder of the film. Mrs. Kistner was not happy with either of them when they finally returned home.

Mr. Kistner noted that World War II "was our constant companion." After his brother enlisted, the family constantly worried about his fate. Some Irvington soldiers did not come back from that conflict. Mr. Kistner recalled the day his brother left because he was in second grade at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School and the parish was in the middle of construction for a new church. His brother Jack came to the school to say good bye and he tried to reassure Bobby that he would be okay. It was an emotional departure, but it was a joyful day three years later when Jack Kistner returned home upon the conclusion of the war.

The Kistners moved out of the double in 1948. In the spring of 2017, Robert Kistner and his daughter, Elizabeth Bodi, returned to Irvington so that he could visit his childhood haunts. With a gleam in his eyes, he told both funny and touching stories as he pointed to various houses in the area.

  Mrs. Edwards lived at 261 South Audubon Road. She collected beautiful antiques. 
  The Wettles resided at 269 South Audubon Road. I used to play in that backyard. 
  The Weidekamps were a large Catholic family who dwelled at 266  South Audubon Road. 
  Dr. Lamb, a dentist, lived in the large brick house (5631 University Avenue) on the circle. The Lambs always had a beautiful harp sitting in the parlor window.  

He spoke wistfully of his parents and his siblings and I watched as his daughter carefully helped him across each crevice in the sidewalk and up each step. It was a beautiful spring day not unlike those in Irvington seventy five years ago.

Birthday Party 1939: Friends gathered in the backyard of the Wettle home at 269 South Audubon Road. The home most visible is that of the double at 261-63 South Audubon Road. The children pictured are (left to right starting with the girl in the light top):  Jo Ann Windisch, Flavian Skeets, Alicia "Mitzi" Weidekamp (266 South Audubon Road), Mary Lou Wettle, and Bobby Kistner (263 South Audubon Road)  

Sibling Fun 1937:  Teresa and Bobby Kistner enjoyed a snowy day. Behind them, you can see the rear of the double that faces both Audubon Road and University Avenue (255 South Audubon Rd and 5703 University Avenue). If you look closely, you can also view the homes at 5714 and 5718 University Avenue.  

Bobby Kister posed on a snowy day in 1937 in front of his house at 263 South Audubon Road. Behind him, you can see the Irving Circle Park and many homes on the east side of the street.  

Dolores Kistner posed with her brother Bobby along with Spot in the front yard at 263 South Audubon Road in 1937. Behind the siblings, you can see the homes located at 269 and 275 South Audubon Road.  

John W. (Jack) Kistner posed with his little brother, Bobby, and Miss Muffet in their front yard at 263 South Audubon Road in 1944. Behind the brothers, you can see the double at 245-47 South Audubon and the home at 251 South Audubon Road.  

Reunion: John W. (Jack) Kistner on leave from World War II, posed with his parents Inez and William Kistner along with his younger brother Bobby in 1944. The family is standing in front of their home at 263 South Audubon Road.  

The stories and historic images are courtesy of Robert Kistner and Elizabeth Bodi. The author met both on the sidewalk as they were taking photographs of the neighborhood.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Kistners Move to Audubon Road

William and Inez Kistner moved into the double at 263 South Audubon Road in 1936. They had previously dwelled in a home at 856 North Oxford Avenue along with their four children, Dolores, Teresa, John, and Robert. Mr. Kistner worked for the Indianapolis Engraving Company, but the Great Depression had not been kind to that industry so he was out of job in 1934. For two years the Kistners resided in Columbus, Ohio where Mr. Kistner found work as an engraver. The family was able to move back to Indianapolis when he was hired by the A.J. Miller Company as a salesman of ambulances and hearses. The 1940 Federal Census reveals that Mr. Kistner earned a respectable income of $2,600 in 1939.

The couple celebrated many happy moments while living in their Irvington home including the marriages of Teresa to Paul McLoughlin in 1938; Dolores to Edward Johnson in 1941; and John to Loretta Paetz in 1947. Their time along Audubon Road was not worry free, however, as John (also known as Jack) went off to fight in 1941 during World War II. Thankfully, the family celebrated his safe return after the war.

The images and stories for this post are courtesy of Robert Kistner and Elizabeth Bodi.

William (Bill) and Inez Kistner posed in front of their home at 263 South Audubon Road in 1936. The trim and columns of the duplex used to be painted dark green. The upper story was clad in stucco. The Kistners leased the home from John R. Gray.  The 1940 Federal Census reveals that they paid $35 a month. 

Inez and William Kistner stood along the sidewalk in 1936 in front of their home at 263 South Audubon Road. Behind the couple, you can see the dwelling at 262 South Audubon and the large brick home at 5631 University Avenue. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Irving Circle 1945 and Now

Robert Kistner grew up in the double at 263 South Audubon Road. He was the youngest child of William and Inez Kistner. The Kistners moved into the dwelling in 1936 and remained until the late 1940s.  Young Robert had many friends in the neighborhood although there were few boys his age. His best friend was Dickie Gillmore, who dwelled at 262 South Audubon Road.  The Irving Circle Park was just across the street from his home and Mr. Kistner recalled that the city would plant petunias each spring and also deliver park benches. Some of the neighborhood kids gathered in the southeast quad of the circle and played on a makeshift baseball diamond.  Audubon Road was brick in those days and the park was filled with tall shade trees.

In the photo, snapped in the fall of 1945, Robert Kistner (at the far left) gathered with his nieces and a nephew. Behind the kids, you can see the south entrance to the Irving Circle Park and the brick street. A contemporary photo, shows the park in 2017.  The historic image and stories are courtesy of Robert Kistner and Elizabeth Bodi.

Irving Circle Park in 2017

Robert Kistner (left) posed with family members, Charlie and Rita Johnson, and Carolyn McLoughlin. The photo was taken in front of 263 South Audubon Road in 1945. Behind the kids, you can see the Irving Circle Park.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Butler Basketball Team--1905

The Indiana College Athletic Association was in its infancy when Butler College (later University) joined in 1905. Coached by Edgar Wingard, the team had two winning seasons in 1904 (9-1) and in 1905 (7-3).  The men played against both local high schools like Shortridge and Manual and against colleges like Indiana University and Wabash College.  In this photograph, the squad posed with their coach and championship trophy. The only known names at this time are Coach Wingard (black suit) and John Kaylor Kingsbury (top row upper right).  Mr. Kingsbury was a talented athlete and student. He grew up at 348 North Layman Avenue and later became a physician. He made history in 1925 when in his role as a doctor he rushed to the bedside of Madge Oberholtzer, who had been brutally attacked by D.C Stephenson, the Grand Dragon of the Indiana Ku Klux Klan. As she grew weaker, he summoned a stenographer to take what would later be her deathbed confession. Her words helped to bring down not only Stephenson, but also the power of the Klan in the United States. In 1905, however, young Kingsbury knew nothing of these events as he was merely celebrating a great winning season at Butler College. Mr. Wingard left Butler in 1906 for the University of Pittsburg.

Butler College basketball squad in 1905 was coached by Edgar Wingard (black suit). John Kaylor Kingsbury is located in the top row and at the far right. We are currently searching for the names of the other players.  
The historic photograph is courtesy of Kelly Wheat, a descendant of John Kaylor Kingsbury. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Morris Family Dwelled Along Johnson Avenue

Ernest and Grace Mitchell Morris had grown up together near New Salem in Rush County, Indiana. Deciding that the life of a farmer was not for him, Ernest moved to Indianapolis and in 1896 became one of the founders of the Indianapolis Engraving Company. In 1909, he married his childhood sweetheart, Grace Mitchell, and they lived in a variety of locations before moving into the Arts and Crafts residence at 20 Johnson Avenue in 1921.

While Mr. Morris went to work at his office in downtown Indianapolis, Mrs. Morris stayed home with their two sons, Edgar and Maynard.  Tragedy visited the family in October of 1925, when fourteen-year-old Edgar came down with the polio virus. He was attended to by Dr. Oliver C. Neier, but the virus was too aggressive. Edgar Morris died on October 12, 1925, two days before the couple's sixteenth wedding anniversary. The teen had been named for his grandfather in Rush County. The Rushville Republican reported that the family was in complete shock over the suddenness of his passing.

For unknown reasons, the Morris family decided to leave Irvington and move to the north side of Indianapolis in 1926. They sold their home to Dr. Oliver Neier, the very man who had attempted to aid their son during his illness.  Mr. Morris died in 1956 at the age of 71. He was still associated with the Indianapolis Engraving Company at the time. Mrs. Morris lived until 1967.  Their only surviving son, Maynard, died suddenly in 1970 at the age of 50.

Ernest Morris as pictured in Fellow Citizens of Indianapolis in 1926
20 Johnson Avenue in 2017

Sources:  "Engraving Official Dies," Rushville Republican, July 9, 1956; "Boy Dies Suddenly," Rushville Republican, October 12, 1925, 1; "Engravers Saw 500 Hundred Mile Race Paved Way for Color Work," Indianapolis Star, May 26, 1946, 40.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Gathering in Christian Park c1930

Located in southwestern Irvington, Christian Park has been an important recreational site for the neighborhood since 1921. The land belonged to the Christian family for many years. The Christians lived north of the site on Brookville Road in a beautiful nineteenth-century brick residence. Eventually, Wilmer and Edna Christian donated the land to the city for a park.

Sometime either in the summer of 1930 or 1931, the Stewart family gathered in Christian Park at 4200 English Avenue for a photograph. Harry and Margaret Stewart lived across the street at 3939 English Avenue. Mr. Stewart was a veteran of World War One and worked as a railroader. Mrs. Stewart stayed home and raised the couple's three children, Martha, Hazel, and Harry (Bud) Jr.

The Stewart family c1930 in Christian Park: (Left to Right) Margaret, Martha, Hazel, Harry Jr., and Harry Sr. 
Christian Park at sunset on February 21, 2017 (photo: William Gulde)
The Christian family, for whom the park is named, dwelled in this lovely home along Brookville Road for many decades in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

The historic photo is courtesy of Kenn Reinhardt.  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

South Hawthorne Lane Home Then and Now

Peter and Theodosia Lauck dwelled along South Bancroft and Linwood Avenues in the 1920s and 1930s. At some point in their early marriage, they also resided at 24 South Hawthorne Lane. This undated early twentieth-century photograph, shows the Dutch Colonial home when the Laucks lived in it. With the exception of the porch, the house has seen few alterations.

24 South Hawthorne Lane (Undated photo courtesy of the Laucks family descendants via

24 South Hawthorne Lane in 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Who Lived Here? Prominent Families Dwelled in Audubon Road Home

The first two families to reside at 19 North Audubon Road played an important role in the history of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana. The beautiful American Four Square located along the north circle was built in 1908 for Joseph and Mary Ketcham Piercy. Mr. Piercy was a respected journalist who worked for a variety of newspapers including the Indianapolis Sentinel and the Indianapolis News. He was also a published writer and poet. Some of his short stories appeared in the Atlantic and Century magazines.  His wife, Mary, also appears to have been a writer and journalist. Their only child, Josephine, who was 17 years old when they moved into their newly built home, later became a writer and professor of English at Indiana University. The Piercys did not remain in their new residence for long as Mr. Piercy received an appointment in 1910 to head up the journalism department at the University of Washington.  In 1911, he returned to Bloomington where he took the same position at Indiana University. Mr. Piercy helped to train thousands of budding journalists at I.U. until his retirement in 1938.  Mrs. Piercy passed away in 1940 and Mr. Piercy followed her in 1943. Their daughter, Josephine, never married and lived in their Bloomington home for the rest of her life. She died in 1995 at the age of 99.

Joseph and Mary Piercy built 19 North Audubon in 1908. They sold it to the Jeffries family in 1911. (Pictured in 2017)

Joseph William "Will" Piercy was a journalist for the several newspapers including the Indianapolis Sentinel and the Indianapolis News where he served on the editorial board. He likely worked with another nearby resident, Hilton U. Brown, the publisher of the Indianapolis News. (Undated photo courtesy of Jeffries relatives via 

Joseph Piercy is shown in this photo a few years before he moved into his home at 19 North Audubon Road in 1908. He would later serve as the first chair of Indiana University's journalism department. (Undated photo courtesy of Jeffries relatives via Ancestry,com) 

Josephine Piercy, the daughter of Joseph and Mary Piercy, was a brilliant student. She earned her Bachelors's and Master's degrees from Indiana University. She later completed a second Master's degree from Columbia University and a Ph. D in philosophy from Yale University. She taught English at Indiana University for many years before retiring in 1966. (Photo of Josephine Piercy taken in 1918 and appeared in an Indiana University Yearbook)

On November 4, 1911, the Indianapolis Star recorded the sale of the Piercy home to Guy and Augustine Routiers Jeffries. The Jeffries family would remain in the house for over thirty years. Guy Jeffries had a storied career in the rail industry as he worked his way up from telegraph boy to becoming the General Superintendent of the Terre Haute, Indianapolis, & Eastern Traction Company. Thousands of local residents traveled in and out of the city of Indianapolis via traction lines and Mr. Jeffries managed those day-to-day operations. Like the Piercys, the Jeffries had one daughter, who never married. Lorene Jeffries attended nearby Butler University and remained close to her parents. Mrs. Jeffries did not work and was an active member of the Irvington Presbyterian Church. Newspaper articles from the 1920s reveal that Mr. Jeffries dined with Governors and Mayors and was a well-known figure in the city. He also joined the Hoosier Motor Club where he served as an officer. He must have known that automobiles would seal the doom of the traction companies because in 1931 he told a journalist for the Greenfield Daily Reporter, "People want individual transportation. They can run an automobile whether they have the money or not. If they can't buy gasoline and oil, they can borrow it." His prophesy eventually came true and the traction lines closed down in the mid-twentieth century.

Mrs. Jeffries died suddenly of stroke in their home in 1930. Mr. Jeffries passed away in 1941 leaving their only daughter, Lorene, in charge of the pretty home across the street from the Irvington Methodist Church. Diagnosed with heart disease in 1941, Miss Jeffries was advised to live with a friend for two weeks after a spell she experienced at home. Guinevere Ostrander, a neighbor at 323 North Audubon Road, invited her to convalesce at her residence until she felt better. Two weeks turned into thirty years as Miss Jeffries sold the home at 19 North Audubon Road and rented a room from the Ostrander family for the rest of her life until her passing in 1974.

Guy Jeffries, of 19 North Audubon Road, submitted this photo of himself for a publication titled Fellow Citizens of Indianapolis in 1926

Lorene Jeffries, the only child of Guy and Augustine Jeffries, moved into the Ostrander home at 323 North Audubon Road in 1941 to convalesce from heart problems. She came for two weeks and stayed over thirty years with the family. She died in 1974. (Photo taken in 2015)

Sources for the Piercy Family:  "Joseph W. Piercy, Former Professor of Journalism at Indiana U., Succumbs," Indianapolis Star, November 24, 1943, 12; "Miss Piercy, I.U. Author, Will Retire," Indianapolis Star, May 25, 1966, 14; Obituary for Josephine Piercy, Indianapolis Star, February 16, 1995, 41.

Sources for Jeffries Family:  "Guy K. Jeffries Resigns," Hancock Democrat, July 2, 1931, 4; Obituary for Guy Jeffries, Indianapolis Star, March 28, 1941, 16; Obituary for Mrs. Jeffries, Indianapolis Star, September 29, 1930, 12.  Information about Lorene Jeffries, Interview with Nancy Ostrander, February 9, 2017.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Snapshot from 1915 Reveals University Avenue Double

Edward Lollis had only recently moved in with his Uncle Robert and Aunt Mary Stevenson in 1915 at their home at 275 South Audubon Road when this photograph was snapped in the Stevenson's backyard. Young Edward, dressed up in costume, stood near the family garage. Behind him, you can see the rear of 5727 and 5729 University Avenue, a double that had only recently been constructed. The Lollis and Stevenson family is well-documented on this page. Click on the links below to learn more those interesting families.

John and Ida Battenfeld dwelled on the 5727 side of the double in 1915. They had already lived there for two years and would continue to do so for another eighteen years. Mr. Battenfeld was a buyer for the Wm. H. Block's Department Store at the time. They had no children. On the other at 5729, resided John and Louise Isaacs. They had three children, Mildred, Coleman, and John, Jr. Mr. Isaacs sold Ford Automobiles at a dealership in the 1300 block of East Washington Street. The Isaacs quickly outgrew the double and were gone by 1917.

Edward Lollis posed in the backyard of his new home at 275 South Audubon Road in 1915. Behind him, you can see the rear of the double at 5727-29 University Avenue.
The historic photograph is courtesy of Ted Lollis.  

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Postcard to Irvington--Mary Dale of Johnson Avenue

On July 12, 1967, "Marie" walked into a post office in Gillette Wyoming and sent her friend, Mary Dale of 37 Johnson Avenue, #12, a lovely postcard of the Badlands in South Dakota.


The vagabonds enjoyed seeing the phenomena of nature at sunset last night. Quite a sight! We had such a good time in Boulder and are now heading toward Yellowstone and Tetons. Know you enjoyed your company over the week-end.  Love, Marie

While we have no idea at this point about any information regarding "Marie," Mary Dale was a well-known resident of Irvington from 1957 to 1979. Born and reared in Alva, Oklahoma, Mary Mondy was a bright student who received her Bachelor's Degree from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma and her Masters in Arts from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. For a brief time she taught high school in the Dallas area. So how did she get to Irvington and why was she living in Maplewood Court?   

In 1944, Mary Mondy married Jack Dale who sadly died at a young age.  As a young widow, Mary Dale became very involved in the Disciples of Christ Church so much so that in 1957 she was ordained.  In that same year, she packed her bags and moved to Indianapolis to work at the Disciples of Christ headquarters at 222 Downey Avenue. She became the Executive Secretary for the Department of Homeland Ministries, a position she held until 1970.  Many of the employees and missionaries for the Disciples rented apartments at Maplewood Court at 37 and 47 Johnson Avenue. Mrs. Dale leased #12. She likely walked to work.  Upon her retirement in 1970, Mrs. Dale spoke at Christian churches throughout Indiana before retiring first to St. Petersburg, Florida and eventually back to Dallas, Texas. Incredibly, she lived to be 100 years old passing away on December 26, 2003. If any of our readers remember Mrs. Dale, then drop us a note and we will share them.

Mary Dale dwelled in Irvington and worked at the Disciples of Christ headquarters. She moved to Indianapolis in 1957 and left in 1979.  She died in 2003 at the age of 100.  (Photo:"Woman's Day Set at Church," Daily Journal, Franklin, Indiana, February 21, 1975) 

Postcard found in a local flea market

Maplewood Court at 37 and 47 Johnson Avenue on January 16, 2017

Sources:  Obituary, Dallas Morning News, December 26, 2003; "Woman's Day Set at Church," Daily Journal, (Franklin, Indiana), February 21, 1975, 2.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Builder Theodore Benson Brydon dwelled on South Bolton Avenue

Theodore and Mary Brydon moved into their newly-built bungalow at 124 South Bolton Avenue in 1915.  Mr. Brydon constructed many homes and apartment buildings in the city so it is possible that he also erected this house. Located just north of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Brydon children, Julia, Howard, Marie, and Louise, would have likely become accustomed to the noise and rumbles of the nearby trains. For a few years, Mrs. Brydon's Mother, Elizabeth Schwappacher, and her Uncle John Schwappacher resided with the family in the 1920s. 

Mr. Brydon's largest building projects in Irvington included the Washington-Audubon Apartments at 5730 East Washington Street (1925); the Arlington Court Apartments at 5901 East Washington Street (1926); and the Butler Apartments at 5230 East Washington Street (1927). At the Arlington Court Apartments, Mr. Brydon created a courtyard to protect century old trees from a previous estate. 

While his business career roared during the 1920s, the Brydons suffered from a series of tragedies for which Mr, Brydon never recovered. On May 15, 1924, while driving on North Illinois and Ohio Streets, Mr. Brydon failed to see Edith Kellum, a thirty-five-year-old woman from Connersville, Indiana as she walked out in front of him after crossing between two parked cars. He blew his horn to alert her, but Miss Kellum was going deaf and did not hear him. Sadly, she died shortly after being struck and Mr. Brydon was arrested for vehicular manslaughter, a seemingly automatic charge in those days. He did not go to jail. 

A little over a year later on September 25, 1925, the Brydons received a call from an official in Jefferson County, Indiana telling them that their only son, Howard, had been killed in an automobile accident near Hanover College. Two other students also lost their lives that day. Howard had just graduated from the college the previous year and was on campus to give another Irvingtonian, Mary McDonald of 45 North Irvington Avenue, a ride back to Indianapolis. Two other Hanover coeds asked Howard if they could be transported to Madison before the couple headed back to Indianapolis and he agreed. Apparently, Howard lost control of the car when the breaks failed as he drove down a hill near campus. The group plunged into a ravine killing three of the four riders. 

The news hit the Brydons like a bomb. Mr. Brydon was at the apex of his building career and he had recently named his company Brydon and Son as Howard had agreed to join the family business. Mr. Brydon became ill after Howard's death and when the elder Brydon died around Christmas in 1930, the Indianapolis Star attributed Theodore's passing at age 55 to a broken heart over the death of Howard. Mr. Brydon's death certificate lists the cause as a cerebral hemorrhage.  

Mrs. Brydon and her young daughter, Louise, continued to dwell in the bungalow on South Bolton Avenue. Mrs. Brydon eventually moved into the Julian House at 115 South Audubon Road as it was a nursing home by 1945. She died in that house after falling and breaking her hip.

Dozens of residences and at least three apartment buildings still stand in Indianapolis as part of the legacy of Theodore Brydon. 

Theodore Brydon submitted this photo to Fellow Citizens of Indianapolis in 1926

Tall catalpa trees, perhaps planted by the Brydon family,  still tower over their family home at 124 South Bolton Avenue in 2017.

Theodore Brydon built the Washington-Audubon Apartments at 5730 East Washington Street in 1925 (Indianapolis Star)

Theodore Brydon's most beautiful apartments were the Arlington Court Apartments at 5901 East Washington Street built in 1926. He preserved the large trees on the site from a previous estate. (Indianapolis Star)

In 1927, Theodore Brydon constructed the Butler Apartments at 5230 East Washington Street. 
Sources:  "Theodore B. Brydon Contractor, Dies," Indianapolis Star, December 26, 1930, 10; "Inquiries Started in Auto Fatality," Indianapolis Star, May 15, 1924, 24; "Six Dead, Auto Toll in State; One Motor Car Leaps Bridge; Another Plunges From Cliff," Indianapolis Star, September 25, 1924, 1; "Preserves Old Surroundings," October 31, 1926, 38.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Aerial Photograph of Irvington--Winter of 1908

A small crowd gathered on Butler College's (now University) Irwin Field in the winter of 1908. Were they watching a football scrimmage?  A game? A practice? One lone automobile--a rarity in those days--parked near the tall fence. The unknown photographer snapped this image for the 1909 Butler Drift. 

The photographer faced east so the most visible street in the picture is that of Ohmer Avenue as it snakes its way towards Downey Avenue. The dwelling closest to the photographer with intersecting gables and a long front porch still stands at 307 Ohmer Avenue. The barn or outbuilding associated with the property is long gone. Note that there are no other homes along the north side of Ohmer Avenue. On the south side of Ohmer Avenue, the most visible home is that of 5338 Ohmer Avenue. (Near the fence by the athletic fields)  If you look closely, you can see the rear of the Benton House at 312 Downey Avenue along with other nearby homes.  The smaller residences at the far right of the photo face Burgess Avenue.  The football field and green space would later be developed in the 1940s into housing.
Ohmer, Downey, and Burgess Avenues near the the Butler University football field in 1908