Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas in Irvington--1962

Nearly two inches of snow covered the rooftops and yards of Irvington homes on Christmas morning in 1962. For a little while during the day, the sun came out and folks like the Warner family at 66 Johnson Avenue grabbed their cameras and documented the gorgeous but cold day. The morning headlines in the Indianapolis Star mainly focused on Christmas, but there was a story about a prisoner swap with Cuba after the botched Bay of Pigs invasion. Icy road conditions troubled many travelers who had to get out on the highways on that day. At the intersection of Johnson and Julian Avenues, in a beautiful American Four Square, the Warner family opened their gifts and prepared the Christmas meal. George Warner worked for the Illinois Central Railroad and later the Indiana Selective Service while his wife Louise stayed home and raised the couple's two children, Anne and Steve.
 
Photos from that day show both interior and exterior shots of the Warner home as well as Johnson and Julian Avenue scenes. Interior images reveal the beautiful china that Mrs. Warner set out for the meal and the real Christmas tree next to the fireplace. Historian Paul Diebold, who now lives in the house along with his wife Peggy, was thrilled to see the original leaded glass windows that were formerly located next to the fireplace.

Time travelers from 1962 would easily recognize many of the landmarks along both streets. At least one house is still painted the same color nearly 60 years later.

66 Johnson Avenue on Christmas Day, 1962: You can also see the residences north of the Warner home along Johnson Avenue and the bungalow west of the their house on Julian Avenue. (Photo courtesy of Steve Warner and Paul Diebold)

Aiming for the sky: A member of the Warner family documented the snow in a nearby tree at 66 Johnson Avenue in 1962. (Photo courtesy of Steve Warner and Paul Diebold)

Johnson Avenue on Christmas Day, 1962. In the photo, you can see the Maplewood Apartments that housed many Disciple of Christ missionaries north of the Irvington Presbyterian Church. Beyond the apartments, you can see both 33 and 27 Johnson Avenue. (Photo courtesy of Steve Warner and Paul Diebold)

Mrs. Warner prepared a beautiful table for the Christmas meal. The candles were lit and the butter was on the table. (Photo courtesy of Steve Warner and Paul Diebold)

Julian Avenue on Christmas Day, 1962: A member of the Warner family stood in their yard at 66 Johnson Avenue and aimed the camera east along Julian Avenue. The home most visible is that of 5603 Julian Avenue although many others on the south side of the street can also be seen. Off in the distance, you can see the rear of 108 South Audubon Road. The Irvington Presbyterian Church likely had either already held a service that day or would soon after the photo was snapped. Along the street, you will note the beautiful 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air parked nearby. (Photo courtesy of Steve Warner and Paul Diebold)

The Christmas Tree at 66 Johnson Avenue in 1962: Note the leaded glass window that used be next to the fireplace. (Photo courtesy of Steve Warner and Paul Diebold) 

Time for the gifts:  The Christmas tree in the Warner home at 66 Johnson Avenue in 1962. (Photo courtesy of Steve Warner and Paul Diebold) 


Photos and information about this post are courtesy of Steve Warner and Paul Diebold. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Beautiful Images of Snow-Covered Irvington in the 1950s and 1960s

North Audubon Road, sometimes referred to as "Lovers' Lane," is a perfect setting for local photographers who want to capture the beauty of winter in Indiana. Members of the Richardson family, who moved into 477 North Audubon just after World War II, grabbed their cameras to document several serene and fun moments over the years along their wintry street.

The Richardsons first moved into 477 North Audubon Road in 1947. Their beautiful Arts and Crafts-era home looked perfect in this wintry scene snapped c1950. (photo courtesy of Donn and Carolyn Richardson)

The intersection of East Michigan Street and North Audubon c1950: The photographer, a member of the Richardson family, stood on Audubon Road and aimed the camera towards the north. (photo courtesy of Donn and Carolyn Richardson)

Off in the distance, young sledders made their way down the hill at Ellenberger Park c1952 (photo courtesy of Donn and Carolyn Richardson)

An unidentified home perhaps along North Audubon Road or Pleasant Run Parkway c1950 (photo courtesy of Donn and Carolyn Richardson)

Believe it or not, there is a street under that snow. Branches drooped over the 400 block of North Audubon Road c 1950. (photo courtesy of Donn and Carolyn Richardson)

George and Edythe Richardson lived at 477 North Audubon for most of the second half of the twentieth century. They loved to decorate their beautiful spruce tree in the front yard at Christmas. This image was likely snapped c1965. (photo courtesy of Donn and Carolyn Richardson)

George Richardson of 477 North Audubon Road attempted to dig out his car from the deep snows dropped during the blizzard of 1978. (photo courtesy of Donn and Carolyn Richardson)
A special thanks to Donn and Carolyn Richardson for making this post possible. 

Saturday, December 7, 2019

House in Photo Identified

It took me nearly five years, but I have finally identified a house in a photograph from the Ted Lollis collection. In the photo, Ted Lollis and most likely the Seaton twins can be seen racing around a yard on their tricycles. Even though I knew that Mr. Lollis grew up on Julian Avenue, I could not place the house in the photo. Then, it hit me like a thunderbolt. Notice the clothes drying on the line? That meant that we are actually looking at the rear of a house and not the front. The drive that is visible actually goes from an alley to the back of a house. The children were actually playing in the backyard of the Lawton home at 5915 Julian Avenue. The home most visible in the image is that of 5911 Julian Avenue. Since the photo was likely taken around 1942 that meant that the laundry drying on the line belonged to Charles and Genevieve Willis. Mystery solved.

Ted Lollis and Jean and Jane Seaton steer their tricycles in the backyard of the Lawton home at 5915 Julian Avenue in 1942. Behind the kids, you can see the home and laundry of Charles and Genevieve Willis who resided at 5911 Julian Avenue. (photo courtesy of Ted Lollis) 

Google Streetview aided my research efforts. I have marked the Lawton home at 5915 Julian where the kids were playing in the backyard. You will see that the driveway is in the same place as it was in 1942 as it connects to a back alley. If you look closely, you can see that the small back porch that still exists at 5911 Julian Avenue. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Thanksgiving in Irvington in 1956


The Caldwell family, of 81 North Hawthorne Lane, had much to be thankful for in 1956. Both of their adult children had begun their careers and Howard Caldwell, Sr. still managed a thriving advertising firm. On Thanksgiving Day, the Gruenholz family drove over from Terre Haute, Indiana to celebrate the day with the Caldwells. Lynn Gruenholz had married Howard Caldwell, Jr. on March 16, 1955, so it was their second holiday season as a couple. The Indianapolis Star revealed that on the previous evening a winter storm raked the northern part of the state but left only a few slick spots in central Indiana. The temperatures that year barely climbed above freezing as Irvington families began to carve their turkeys.
Elsie Felt Caldwell lit the candles for the Thanksgiving meal at 81 North Hawthorne Lane in 1956 while Helen Gruenholz, the mother of Lynn Gruenholz Caldwell, poured the water. (photo courtesy of Ginny Hingst)

Howard Caldwell, Sr. snapped this Thanksgiving shot  in 1956 in the Caldwell home at 81 North Hawthorne Lane just before the prayer. Seated on the left: Lynn Gruenholz Caldwell and her husband Howard Caldwell, Jr. Elsie Felt Caldwell sat at the head of the table; Seated at the right: Albert Gruenholz, Herm Gruenholz, and Helen Gruenholz of Terre Haute, Indiana. Notice the turkey and all of the food on the tray next to Mr. Caldwell's chair.  (photo courtesy of Ginny Hingst)

81 North Hawthorne Lane in the winter of 1943  (photo courtesy of Ginny Hingst)
A special thanks to Ginny Hingst, the granddaughter of Howard and Elsie Felt Caldwell, for the use of the photos and the stories.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Bob Hunt's Service Station at East 10th Street and Arlington Avenue--1950s

James Robert "Bob" Hunt, who dwelled at 336 North Arlington Avenue, operated his very own Mobil Gas Station from 1955 until 1959 at 990 North Arlington Avenue. City directories indicate that a service station had been in operation on the southwest corner of Arlington Avenue and East 10th Street since at least 1932. Typical of the times, Mr. Hunt operated a full-service station which included tire repair and replacement, oil changes, batteries, spark plugs, and engine repair. Attendants pumped the gas for those who pulled in and washed the cars. Mr. Hunt was a World War II veteran, who had been stationed in the Pacific Theater working in a machine shop and rebuilding torpedoes.

By the mid-1950s, the intersection at of 10th and Arlington had been full developed by Joseph Guidone with a grocery store,  a pharmacy, the Arlington Theater, a bank, and numerous shops. Mr. Hunt's brother, Harold, operated a jewelry store at 6006 East 10th Street. North and east of the intersection, developers were busy adding new housing additions to accommodate the building boom taking place in Indianapolis.

After four years in operation, Mr. Hunt decided that the venture had not been profitable and he went to work for US Naval Avionics to support his wife Ruth and their young son Bob. In 2019, a gas station still operates on the southwest corner of Tenth and Arlington.

Bob Hunt operated a service station on the southwest corner of East 10th and Arlington Avenue from 1955-59. Across the street, you can see the Arlington Supermarket owned by Joseph Guidone, a fabric shop, and a water tower. (photo courtesy of Bob Hunt's son, Robert Harold Hunt)

Bob Hunt held the grand opening event for his new service station at 990 North Arlington Avenue on July 27 and 28, 1955. (photo courtesy of Bob Hunt's son, Robert Harold Hunt)

Bob Hunt operated a full-service Mobil Gas Station at 990 North Arlington Avenue. In this photo, snapped c1955, Mr. Hunt stood next to his service truck. Behind him, you can see the Arlington Theater and the American Fletcher National Bank on the northeast corner of East Tenth Street and Arlington Avenue. Local residents who needed to get ahold of Mr. Hunt simply called Fleetwood 7-0836. (photo courtesy of Bob Hunt's son, Robert Harold Hunt)
Image courtesy of Bob Hunt's son, Robert Harold Hunt

Bob Hunt, at the far left, stood with some of his employees c1955 at his gas station located at 990 North Arlington Avenue. (photo courtesy of Bob Hunt's son, Robert Harold Hunt)


A special thanks to Robert Harold Hunt for making this post possible.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Daily Life at Pleasant Run Home

The Doran children, who used to live at 737 North Campbell Avenue, suddenly had plenty of room in which to play or work on cars after they moved into 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. Wilbur and Julia Cooper Doran commissioned a local architect, Orlando Little, to design their new home on the parkway in 1949. It was completed in the summer of 1950. In the images below, Jim and Phil Doran and a friend named Dick Foley can be seen working on Jim's 1937 Opel in 1954. In a stunning color slide photograph, a very young Miriam Doran, enjoyed a day out on her bike in front of the family home in 1951.

Jim Doran and Dick Foley worked on the engine of his 1954 Opel while Phil Doran assisted with the ignition next to the family garage at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji)

Backyard Scene: Jim and Phil Doran and Dick Foley worked on a 1937 Opel on the driveway at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1954. What Hoosier driveway would be complete without a basketball goalpost and net? (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji)

Miriam Doran enjoys a day out on her bike in 1951 in front of the family home at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji)

5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway was built for the Doran family in 1950. (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji)
I wish to thank Miriam Lash, Jennifer Lash, Susan Boyle, Jim Doran, Alicia Schwering, and Kevin Yamafuji for making this post possible. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Construction Photos of Pleasant Run Parkway Home

Throughout the summer of 1950, construction workers busily erected a brand new home at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive for the Doran family. Incredible photographs still exist of the house under construction in the family's collection. Wilbur and Julia Cooper Doran commissioned architect Orlando Little to assist them with the design. The plan is based upon a builder's catalog design called "The Collingwood." Mr. Little modified the design for his clients. The images show the house under various phases of construction and family members can be seen excitedly examining their new environment.

Miriam Doran stood in her new front yard at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in the summer of 1950.
(photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji) 

Julia Cooper Doran stood in her future home at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in the summer of 1950 while her daughter, Miriam, posed next to the bricks that would be used for the exterior of the residence. (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji) 

5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive under construction in 1950 (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji) 

Taking Shape: Children dashed about the new house under construction at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in the summer of 1950. (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji) 

An unidentified construction worker examined plans in the new living room at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1950 (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji) 

5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1950 (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji) 

The tub had been installed at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in the summer of 1950 (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji) 

5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1950 (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji) 

5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1950 (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji) 

The home at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway Drive is a modified version of the "The Collingwood"

Notice the bike tracks in the snow in this artistic shot of 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive taken in the winter of 1951 by the Doran family. (photo courtesy of Kevin Yamafuji) 
A special thanks to the following people for making this post possible: Miriam Lash, James Doran, Jennifer Lash, Susan Boyle, and Kevin Yamafuji. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Orlando Little Designed Irvington Home

Wilbur and Julia Cooper Doran had been living in Irvington since their marriage in 1934. They resided along both Burgess and Campbell Avenues. As their family grew, the couple knew that they wanted a bigger house. In the 1940s, the Dorans lived in a small two-bedroom house at 737 North Campbell Avenue with three small children. Mr. Doran earned a comfortable salary as a chemist for the Eli Lilly Company so they had options. After World War II ended, veterans flooded home and houses were hard to find. Many folks began to build ranch houses in new subdivisions in the far parts of the county, but the Dorans were not interested in leaving Irvington. By the late 1940s, there were few available lots in Irvington, but around the corner from their home they noticed an old apple orchard on a single lot in the 5700 block of Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive and purchased it.

5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 2019 (photo courtesy of Alicia Schwering) 

Sometime in 1949, the Dorans commissioned an architect named Orlando B. Little to design their new home. Miriam Doran Lash, the daughter of Wilbur and Julia Doran, remembers sitting in Mr. Little's office and playing with the model of the house that he had prepared for the family. While more research is needed on this interesting architect, it is known that some of his religious and state-owned structures are still around today. In the 1920s, he designed the barracks for the Indiana Boys School in Plainfield. In 1931, he received the commission to draw up the plans for structures at the Indiana School for the Feeble Minded in Butlerville, Indiana. It is also known that he designed the West Michigan Methodist Episcopal Church at 2132 West Michigan Street in 1924 and the Ray Street Nazarene Church at 1242 West Ray Street in 1952 in Indianapolis.

Orlando B. Little, an architect, designed 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. (photo Indianapolis News, January 21, 1958, 9)

Orlando B. Little designed the West Michigan Street Methodist Episcopal Church in 1924. It still stands at 2132 West Michigan Street in Indianapolis in 2019. 

Orlando B. Little also designed the Ray Street Nazarene Church in 1952. It still stands at 1242 West Ray Street in Indianapolis in 2019. 

Wilbur and Julia Cooper Doran purchased this lot at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1949. They hired Orlando B. Little to design a home for them on the site. (historic photo courtesy of Miriam Lash, Jennifer Lash, and Alicia Schwering) 

In the autumn of 1950, the Dorans moved into their brand new house at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. The two-story brick home was ample for their family. With a long living room with a fireplace in the middle of it, the Dorans would have plenty of room to host gatherings in their residence. Mrs. Doran was very active in various clubs and associations and held several meetings in her home. For instance, on February 4, 1952, she invited the local chapter of the American Association of University Women to gather in her home. The purpose of the meeting was to examine the local school system. Several women spoke at the event including Olma Bruck, a former Indianapolis School Board Member.

While Mrs. Doran stayed home to raise their three children, Mr. Doran was a very busy person at Eli Lilly.  He was an important research chemist who not only authored articles on barbiturates for the American Chemical Society, but his research on hypnotics led to a patent for Seconal. A publication put out by Eli Lilly revealed that Mr. Doran actually obtained several patents on hypnotics. He was considered one of the leading authorities in the world on barbituric-acid chemistry.

For the Doran children, the new home was a perfect place in which to find areas to play. Across the street, the boys used a small field next to Pleasant Run for all kinds of ball games. The stream itself was also an inviting place for the children to explore nature.

David Lash, the son-in-law of Wilbur and Julia Doran, attempted to dig out the family driveway at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive c 1965.  (photo courtesy of Miriam Lash and Alicia Schwering)

Family dinner, January 1954:  Wilbur, Miriam, Julia, and James Doran gathered for a meal in their dining room at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive.  Philip Doran likely took the photo. 

The Doran family dog reclined next the fireplace at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive in 1967. (photo courtesy of Miriam Lash and Alicia Schwering) 

Julia Cooper Doran, who had deep roots in Irvington, posed next to her Christmas tree c1966 (photo courtesy of Miriam Lash and Alicia Schwering)

Happy Day: Miriam Doran married David Lash of 47 North Layman Avenue at the Irvington Methodist Church on August 6, 1965. After the wedding, the Dorans hosted a reception. In this photo, the newlyweds departed out a back door of her childhood home at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive. Judy and Barbara Doran can also be seen in the image. (photo courtesy of Miriam Lash and Alicia Schwering)

House for sale c1982: The Dorans had lived in their home for over 30 years when they put it on the market. Harold Papiska was the next resident of the house. (photo courtesy of Miriam Lash and Alicia Schwering)

Today, the home at 5770 East Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive looks much the same as it did in 1950. The pin oak planted by Mr. Doran in the front yard now towers over the house. The Dorans sold the dwelling in the early 1980s. Later residents altered a few things on the back of the house, but the residence is largely as Mr. Little designed it.

Sources:  About Orlando Little:  "Orlando Little, Architect, Dies," Indianapolis News, January 21, 1958, 9; "Notice to Bidders," Indianapolis Star, October 21, 1925; "West Michigan M.E. Church Work Started," Indianapolis Star, September 8, 1924, 17; "Sealed Proposals," Indianapolis Star, May 21, 1931, 8; "New Ray Street Nazarene Church to be Dedicated," Indianapolis Star, April 21, 1954, 8; The Doran family:  "AAUW Study Groups Schedule 6 Meetings," Indianapolis Star, February 3, 1952, 65; "Lash-Doran," Indianapolis Star, January 6, 1965, 98; "Irvington Mother's Club," Indianapolis Star, January 12, 1964, 73. Clipping from Eli Lilly Company Promotional, "Wilbur Doran Scores Scientific 1st in Synthesizing New Anesthetic," Undated. (collection of Miriam Lash)

I am indebted to Miriam Doran Lash for her stories and information about the photos. I would also like to thank Alicia Schwering who introduced me to the Doran/Lash family. Jennifer Lash, the daughter of Miriam and David Lash has also assisted with the post. Thank you to all three of these ladies!