Sunday, October 29, 2017

Life along Rawles Avenue

Perry and Lucille Owen Roehl moved into their modest bungalow at 5715 Rawles Avenue in 1937. Their two children, Perry and Marilyn, were already in school and would spend the next five years of their lives in the residence. Their backyard abutted the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad so it was not the quietest location, but like most Irvingtonians in this part the neighborhood, they likely became accustomed the rumble and call of the trains.

Mr. Roehl was a rising businessman while living in the home as he opened a firm called P.W. Roehl Trucking Company. The couple incorporated the business in 1940. Mr. Roehl's obituary noted that he was a member of many Irvington clubs and he was an avid bowler. Mrs. Roehl stayed at home and raised the couple's two children although she was a partner in the trucking firm and later in a paint store. She was an active member of the Irvington Methodist Church.

Perry O Roehl, their son, was a talented student and athlete at Howe High School. He might have received some of his athleticism from his Dad, who was also an athlete at Arsenal Tech High School. Perry, Jr. later fought for the country during World War II.

The bungalow was not the forever home for the Roehl family. As their income increased and most likely their desire for a larger home, the family moved from Rawles Avenue in 1942 to a beautiful residence at 969 North Campbell Avenue.

The images for this post are courtesy of the descendants of the Roehl family via

Lucille and Perry W. Roehl stood in their kitchen at 5715 Rawles Avenue c1937

The Roehl family gathered in the living room of their home at 5715 Rawles Avenue c1938. (left to right: Lucille, Perry O., Marilyn, and Perry W. Roehl) 

5715 Rawles Avenue in 2016

Friday, October 13, 2017

Alfred and Lettie Trefz of Audubon Road

Alfred and Lettie Trefz moved into their Tudor-Revival dream home at 953 North Audubon Road shortly after it was built in 1929. Although the nation was beginning to struggle with the onset of the Great Depression, developers continued to erect houses in the Irvington Gardens area just south of East Tenth Street. Mr. Trefz did not lose his job as a tool engineer for the Detroit Division of the Allison plant on the west side of Indianapolis. Mrs. Trefz taught elementary children for Indianapolis Public Schools so she too had a steady income. The couple would remain in their lovely dwelling for the next several decades.

By all accounts, Mr. and Mrs. Trefz seem to have been very involved both in Irvington and throughout Indianapolis. Mr. Trefz's obituary noted that he was an amateur photographer so it was perhaps he who took the photos of the house a few years after its construction. He was a member of the Masons, the Murat Shrine, and the Nature Study Club. One has to wonder what became of his other photographs?

Mrs. Trefz never seemed to rest. She was a member of numerous clubs and civic organizations. She received several awards including one for "Woman of the Year" from the Business and Professional Women's Club of Indianapolis. She hosted meetings in her home and even in retirement she remained a consultant for the Indianapolis Public Schools.

An Indianapolis Star article noted that the couple took a cruise in 1949. They departed from New Orleans and sailed down to Guatemala and Panama. Upon their return, Mrs. Trefz plunged into more work for various sororities and committees. The couple were active members of the Irvington United Methodist Church. Mrs. Trefz, a graduate of Butler University, also remained involved with her Alma Mater. They died within months of each other. Mr. Trefz passed away in April of 1982 at the age of 86 while Mrs. Trefz died in June at the age of 83.

The historic photos for this story were provided by Todd Cloud.  

953 N. Audubon Road c1930

953 N. Audubon Road c1930: The woman in the photograph might be Mrs. Lettie Trefz. Also seen in this image is part of 957 N. Audubon Road.

The rear of 953 and 957 N. Audubon Road c1930

The home of Alfred and Lettie Trefz c1930. The vacant lot would later be the site of 943 N. Audubon Road. 

Mrs. Trefz was very involved in numerous organizations. Here is a photograph of her from 1961 as she was part of an organization that loaned money to senior citizens. (Indianapolis News, April 7, 1961)