Saturday, August 10, 2019

A Family Rescued an Irvington Home

George and Florence Baxter Thornton likely moved into their new home in late 1910 or early 1911. The wealthy couple had hired architect Marshall Van Arman to design a fashionable manse at 75 North Audubon Road. Mr. Van Arman combined two popular movements of the day by using both the Tudor Revival and Craftsman styles. For decades local Indianapolis newspapers carried events, meetings, and parties held in the home while the Thorntons lived there. Mr. Thornton died in 1958.  Mrs. Thornton continued to reside in the house until her death at the age of 92 in 1971. The couple had no surviving children and towards the end of her life, Mrs. Thornton struggled with maintaining the large home.

The Thornton home at 75 North Audubon Road as it appeared in October of 1977: David Gauss and Pam Haase purchased the residence in 1972 and eventually planted three evergreen trees on the property in honor of their three children, Chris, Robert, and Tracy. (photo courtesy of Pam Haase) 

In 1972, the unusual property sitting on an acre-and-a-half of land came on the market for the first time since its construction.  When Dr. David Gauss, a local dentist, and his wife Pam Haase toured the home, he immediately saw the beauty and grandeur of the place while she saw plaster falling off the walls. However, once the couple committed to buying the property, Ms. Haase reports that she, too, could see the stunning beauty of the house. She loved the staircase and chuckled that she could see herself coming down and greeting her guests as if she were in a Loretta Young film.

The rear of the Thornton home at 75 North Audubon Road in October of 1977: The Gauss family resided here from 1972 to 1979. Later, a large addition would be added to the rear of the house by a different family. (photo courtesy of Pam Haase)

The foyer of 75 North Audubon Road in December of 1977 (photo courtesy of Pam Haase)

Loretta Young descends a staircase in the 1944 film, "And Now Tomorrow" (photo courtesy of hamlette blogspot) 

There was much work to be done on the residence as the boiler did not work and the property was completely overgrown. Towards the end of her life, Mrs. Thornton struggled to get upstairs so an electric chair had been installed along the stair rail. Thankfully, the bones of the house were in good shape including the tiled roof. The young couple already had two children and with a third on the way, they would soon have their hands full.

From 1972 until 1979, the Gauss family lovingly restored the Thornton home. They plastered walls, worked on the electrical issues, and updated the kitchen. The family particularly enjoyed the octagonal solarium in the front of the house during the warmer seasons. The Gauss children had plenty of room to play both out on the lawn and in the house. The 1970s, however, were difficult times to own larger older houses. The country faced two major issues with high inflation and an energy crisis. Both of these issues made it difficult to own and operate a large property like the Thornton home. The Gauss family paid $1000 a month to heat the place even in the 1970s. By the end of the decade, they decided to move on, but they had already done the neighborhood a great service by saving a property that was in decline. Pam Haase noted in an interview that they viewed themselves not just as homeowners but as stewards of this special place.

Gorgeous art glass in both the sidelights and door of 75 North Audubon Road in December of 1977 (photo courtesy of Pam Haase)

Beautiful brick fireplace at 75 North Audubon Road in December of 1977 (photo courtesy of Pam Haase)

Stunning doors into the dining room at 75 North Audubon Road in December of 1977 (photo courtesy of Pam Haase)

Built-in hutch at 75 North Audubon in December of 1977 (photo courtesy of Pam Haase)

The dining room at 75 North Audubon Road in December of 1977.  (photo courtesy of Pam Haase)

The solarium at 75 North Audubon Road could be visited during all seasons as it was heated. The  Thorntons put in Italian terrazzo floors in this beautiful room. (photo courtesy of Pam Haase)

The Gauss family preserved the original kitchen cabinets at 75 North Audubon Road (photo courtesy of Pam Haase)
    
The Gauss family added a double oven in the kitchen at 75 North Audubon Road, which Pamela Haase noted was the height of kitchen luxury in the mid-1970s. She also loved her red linoleum floor. (photo courtesy of Pam Haase)



Upstairs, the Thorntons had these built-in drawers and closets put in, each with a separate key. Mrs. Thornton came from the prominent Baxter family who made their fortune on... keys! (photo courtesy of Pam Haase)

In the fall and winter of 1977, Pam Haase walked around with her camera and snapped images of many of the rooms. She was justly proud of their hard work and decided to document the moment. I have included many of those images for this post. I have also included some original art of the family and of the house done by David Kinney in 1974. Mr. Kinney lived next door. I am indebted to Pam Haase for her stories and her photos of 75 North Audubon Road.

Artist David Kinney created this sketch of 75 North Audubon Road in 1974 for a Gauss family Christmas card. (sketch courtesy of Pam Haase)

Artist David Kinney sketched the entire Gauss family in 1974 for their annual Christmas card. (sketch courtesy of Pam Haase)

Artist David Kinney sketched the front wall at 75 North Audubon Road in 1974 for the Gauss family. (sketch courtesy of Pam Haase)

Friday, August 2, 2019

Kids Photographed Along St. Clair Street 1948

Sometime in the winter of 1948, Ann Schmidt and her good friend, Marcia Shick, grabbed their cameras and snapped photos of their little brothers and sisters next to the Schmidt family Buick parked near St. Clair Street. Ann Schmidt lived at 5702 East Pleasant Run Run Parkway North Drive and Marcia Shick lived nearby at 5728 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. The car in the photos belonged to Dr. Henry Schmidt. For many years the frugal optometrist took the streetcar or other modes of transportation to work. After World War II ended, he decided to buy the used Buick seen in the photos. In some of the images, you can see the rear of the residences at 804 and 814 North Audubon Road.

Maureen Schmidt, Marcia Shick, and Ann Schmidt posed next to the Schmidt family Buick in the driveway at 5702 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in the winter of 1948. Behind the kids, you can see the rear and side of the Vroom family home at 814 North Audubon Road. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)

Carl and Maureen Schmidt posed with their neighbor Peter Shick in 1948. The kids are standing next to the Schmidt family Buick at 5702 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)

Marcia Shick photographed Peter Shick, Carl Schmidt, and Maureen Schmidt at 5702 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. Behind the kids, you can see the rear of 804 and 814 North Audubon Road. Ann Schmidt likely took this photo of her friend snapping this picture in the winter of 1948. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)
Editor's Note: 5702 East Pleasant Run Parkway is now numbered as 5701 East St. Clair Street. I would like to thank Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw for their contributions to this series. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Historic Wallpaper Revealed

Sometime in the late 1930s or early 1940s, Dr. Henry Schmidt of 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive put up wallpaper in the family's dining room.  Early Americana on wallpaper was quite popular in the mid-twentieth century. Dr. Schmidt likely purchased the mass-produced mural from a local store or a catalog. For years, members of the Schmidt family treasured the scene. In the tableaux, you can see a two-story colonial home surrounded by shrubbery and a fence. In front of the house and along the road, people sit in a horse-drawn carriage. Nearby, you can see a church steeple. The idealized image is similar to the earlier and popular Currier and Ives prints of the late nineteenth century. As the image began to fade, members of the family carefully and artfully touched up the colors. Thankfully, the Schmidt family documented the wall as the mural-paper was later removed.   (Editor's Note: The address of 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive changed to 5701 East St. Clair Street in the mid-1960s.)

Carl and Pat Schmidt posed in the dining room at the Schmidt family home at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive c1947. Dr. Henry Schmidt most likely put up the wallpaper in the early 1940s. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)

Dr. Henry Schmidt posed with his son Carl c1946 in the dining room at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. Behind them you can see interesting mural-wallpaper. It has since been removed. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)

Annabelle Early posed with her great grandchildren c1975 in her daughter's home at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive (later changed to 5701 East St. Clair Street) Behind the group, you can see the beautiful wallpaper in the dining room. Family members treasured the scene and touched it up as it began to fade. The children in the photograph are: seated in the chair-- Shannon Foley; seated at the table--Chris and Debbie Schmidt (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw) 


Little research seems to have been done on mass-produced twentieth century wallpaper, but the Old House Journal did publish an interesting overview recently. I have included that link. I am indebted to Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw for providing the stories and photos.

https://www.oldhouseonline.com/interiors-and-decor/guide-to-20th-century-wallpaper





Sunday, July 21, 2019

Irvington Brownie Troop Photo--c1942

When Ann Schmidt of 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive joined a local Brownie Troop in the early 1940s, she became part of a tradition that had been in the neighborhood for decades. Her particular group met at the Irvington Methodist Church. The girls gathered regularly and usually made some kind of craft. Ann Schmidt Brown still has a sunflower pin cushion she created as a Brownie over seventy years later.

In this photo, we have identified several of the girls, but not all. If you know of additional names for this photo, please contact me at williamfranklingulde@gmail.com. We are estimating the date to be 1942, but let us know if we are off on the date as well.

Front row:  (left to right) Marianne Baker, Dianne Hoffman; Second Row (left to right): Marilyn Moffett, ?. Ann Schmidt, Alice Aldrich, ?,?, Cassie Armstrong, Judy Wurster, ?, ?; Third Row (left top): ?, Janet Paxton, Lou Ann Bischof, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?; Top Row (left to right): Babs Fry, Dorothy Gerstner. Carol Kendrick,  Barb Swengel, Betty Cowell, ?, ? (photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)


A special thank you to Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw who opened their scrapbooks and memories to me.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Winter Scenes Along Pleasant Run Parkway


Winter in Irvington has always been a beautiful time to grab the camera and capture the newly-fallen snow. The Schmidts, who dwelled at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive, filled their scrapbooks to document these moments. Dr. Henry and Isabelle Early Schmidt moved into the house in the latter part of 1937 and immediately fell in love with the acreage on a winter's day. Their children, Ann, Maureen, Carl, Pat, and Jill had the perfect sledding hill as the property sat high above the Pleasant Run stream.  Fallen logs, gorgeous evergreens, and even their pretty bungalow all provided opportunities to capture the serene quiet around them.


The Schmidt home at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive on a winter's day in 1938. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)

Time to sled! Dr. Henry Schmidt posed next to Beverly Spencer and Ann Schmidt on a winter's day in 1938.  The Schmidts resided at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive.
(Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)


Beverly Spencer and Ann Schmidt enjoyed a winter day in 1938
(Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)


Dr. Henry Schmidt posed with Maureen and Ann Schmidt on November 11, 1941. Behind the family, you can see their residence at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. Some elm trees still existed on the lot during this era. Most elms across the United States were dying off in record numbers.
(Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)


The side porch at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in the winter of 1938.
(Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)


Beautiful newly-fallen snow on evergreen trees at the Schmidt home at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive c1938.
(Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)


Looking South: In this image, you can see the long driveway leading up to 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive c1944. In the distance, you can see Pleasant Run Parkway
(Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)


A winter storm at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive c1950
(Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)


5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1979. It was now numbered as 5701 E. St. Clair Street
(Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)


5701 E. St. Clair Street (formerly 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive) c1990
(Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)


I am indebted to Ann Schmidt Brown and her daughter, Doreen McGuire Crenshaw, for opening their scrapbooks and memories for this post.


Editor's Note: 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway is now numbered as 5701 E. St. Clair Street. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

A Perfect Place to Grow up

When Dr. Henry and Isabelle Early Schmidt purchased 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1937, they only had one child. Over the course of a decade they would add four more. Ann, Maureen, Carl, Pat, and Jill Schmidt had the perfect yard for a playground. In the winter, they could sled down the giant hill in their front yard. In the warmer seasons, they could explore the woods and nearby Pleasant Run. Family pets also had plenty of acreage in which to run. Photos taken in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s reveal some of the fun that children had while living on the property.

Ann Schmidt provided milk for Teddy on a warm summer day in 1939 at her home at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)

Dress Up: Ann Schmidt had fun in her "new" adult clothes in July of 1940 at her home at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. Behind her, you can see the barberry bush that used to be on the property for decades. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)

"General" Tobias T. Smith greeted Paul Schmidt and his daughter Barbara in 1937.  Paul was the brother of Henry Schmidt. Although General had plenty of acreage in which to roam, he preferred the entirety of the neighborhood frequently causing problems for the family who had to retrieve him.  (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)

Ann Schmidt remained a dog lover for her entire life. In this photo, snapped in 1947, she posed with Rags on the family property at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. Rags loved to nip at people's feet. He was especially interested in their shoestrings. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)

Cute little Pat Schmidt posed in her bedroom in the attic at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1951. Ann Schmidt, her older sister, likely took this image. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)

Carl Schmidt went for a bike ride in 1950. In this photo, he posed along the Schmidt family driveway at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. Behind him, you can see the doghouse. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)

Carl Schmidt posed for this photo along the sidewalk at the Schmidt family home at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive c1951. Behind him, you can see a family car. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw)



Editor's Note: The address of 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive changed to 5701 E. St. Clair Street in the mid-1960s. 

I wish to thank Ann Schmidt Brown and her daughter Doreen McGuire Crenshaw for their kindness in allowing me to scan photos from their scrapbooks. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Schmidt Family Arrives in Irvington

Dr. Henry Schmidt and his wife Isabelle Early Schmidt purchased the beautiful bungalow at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1937. The pretty home situated on a bluff overlooking the boulevard and stream had been designed and built for the Jenney family in 1922. The Jacksons and Marions had also dwelled here before the successful 27-year-old optometrist and his wife moved onto the property. The Schmidts already had one daughter by 1937 named Ann and would have four more children: Maureen, Carl, Pat, and Jill. The children had the most amazing yard in which to play. A side porch offered stunning views all seasons. The Schmidt children grew up with dogs who also had the run of the acreage. Family photos from their early years in the house, reveal the lovely setting as well as the close friends and family who stopped by for a visit. The Schmidts remained in the house until the early 1990s.

Dr. Henry Schmidt sat on his front stoop in 1937 shortly after purchasing 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. Nearby, General, whose real name was General Tobias T. Smith, relaxed on the front yard. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw) 

Ann Schmidt, the oldest child of Henry and Isabelle Early Schmidt, posed in front of her home at 5702 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in the summer of 1938. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw) 
In this sweet image, Ann Schmidt stopped to smell the lovely peonies most likely planted by Walter Jenney, in the spring of 1938. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw) 

Dr. Henry Schmidt surveyed his new acreage at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive with Anita Platte and Isabelle Schmidt in 1937. Bob Platte (not pictured) likely took the photograph. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw) 

Brothers: Dr. Henry Schmidt and his daughter Ann posed with Dr. Paul Schmidt (also an optometrist) and his daughter Barbara on the grounds of 5702 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw) 

From their side porch at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1937, the Schmidts could enjoy the seasons as their home sat perched upon a bluff over looking Pleasant Run Parkway and Creek. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw) 

A long drive led to and from the Schmidt home at 5702 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw) 

A giant walnut tree near the garage of the Schmidt home at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive existed in 1937. The family later had it removed. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw) 

 Isabelle Schmidt stood in doorway of her home at 5702 East Pleasant Run Parkway in the spring of 1938. Nearby, Bob Platte, Ann Schmidt, and Henry Schmidt worked in the yard. The photo was likely taken by Anita Platte.  The Schmidts and the Plattes were very good friends. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw) 

Isabelle Schmidt posed with her daughter Ann along the brick path leading to their home at 5702 Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in the spring of 1938. (Photo courtesy of Ann Schmidt Brown and Doreen McGuire Crenshaw) 
I am indebted to Ann Schmidt Brown and her daughter Doreen McGuire Crenshaw who opened their scrapbooks and memories to me. 

Editor's Note: To learn more about the earlier eras of this house click on the Jenney Family link below. Today the house now has the address of 5701 East St. Clair Street.