Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Mr. Whitaker's Shop Classroom--1949

Boys in the 1940s at School #57 in the seventh and eighth grades had to make a decision.  Did they want to take woodworking or metalworking from Mr. Hershel Whitaker?  Their classroom, a noisy place, was located in the basement of the school. For one young man, Bill Sohn of 378 South Downey Avenue, the choice was woodworking. Each child aimed towards creating a final product like a hall tree or a stool. Bill chose to create a lamp. At the end of the term, each student placed their item on display. Bill Sohn brought his camera to school and snapped the image seen below. Seventy years later, Mr. Sohn could still recall that the letters "D" and "P" were created by Don Peters, a boy who was a grade behind him. He also noted that for one month the boys and girls traded classrooms.  The boys went into the home economics classroom and the girls attended shop. Bill still recalls sewing a pin cushion.  Mr. Whitaker and his wife, Maria, resided at 5119 Norway Drive so he could have walked to school on nice days. You will see his hat hanging on a hook in the photo.

Boys in Mr. Hershel Whitaker's woodworking class displayed their final products in 1949. Bill Sohn, a student in the class, snapped this photo. He created one of the lamps on the table. 
The image and information for this story is courtesy of Bill Sohn.  

Monday, May 27, 2019

Two Brothers Near Beechwood and Burgess--1936

Mark and Don Gray laughed as they posed for a photo in front of their home at 5621 Beechwood Avenue on a cold winter's day in 1936. We do not know if the brothers were celebrating a special occasion or if they were just having a good time, but the image reveals the rear of several homes along Burgess Avenue. The  home most visible is that of 329 Burgess Avenue. The Fansler family dwelled in that large home in 1936. Could the Fanslers hear the laughter emanating from Beechwood Avenue? Did they peek out from behind the curtains?

Brothers Mark (Jr.) and Don Gray, laughed as they posed for this photo in front of their home at 5621 Beechwood Avenue. Behind the brothers, you can see the rear of 329 Burgess Avenue. (photo courtesy of Mark Gray, Jr.)

329 Burgess Avenue on a spring day in 2019. 
      I am especially indebted to Suzette Hagan for her amazing research on the families who resided at 5621 Beechwood Avenue. She has unearthed many photos and stories about her neighborhood.