Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Hobart Then and Now: Center Street North from Third

Circa 1909, and 2019

2019-03-20. Center St from 3rd 1909-07-30 a
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2019-03-20. Center St from 3rd 2019

This is a depressing update to my previous then-and-now post of the Guyer building.

The top photo comes from a postcard postmarked 1909.

2019-03-20. Center St from 3rd 1909-07-30 b

The photo doesn't tell us much about what businesses occupied either of the two commercial buildings on the corners, except that Dr. Fred Werner had his dental office there.

The building on the right might have already been the Amazon restaurant. Somehow, I have the impression that this is where, a few years earlier, Hans Thune had operated the Farmer's Home, but I may be mistaken.

Further down Center Street on the same side is the Rifenburg/Mackey house.

And looking straight up Center Street, you can see in the background the smokestack of the National Fireproofing Co. brickyard.

As those of us in Hobart know, the Guyer building was badly damaged by fire on the night of January 15, 2019. Then the second floor had to be knocked down because it was unstable. I am not sure whether the building's ultimate fate has been decided yet.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Diphtheria on the Berndt Farm

In mid-July 1923 diphtheria broke out in the home of John and Minnie (Harms) Berndt. It took only a few days to kill their youngest child.

2019-03-11. Berndt, News, 7-19-1923
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Hobart News, July 19, 1923.

Diphtheria can be transmitted through the air or by touching a contaminated object, so the Rev. Schuelke and those few relatives who came to the farm for the funeral were risking their own health.

Additional Source:
"Diphtheria Causes Sudden Death," Hobart Gazette, July 20, 1923.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A New Home for the Union Sunday School

Somehow I thought Hobart's Union Sunday School was meeting in a church from the start. I just learned I was wrong: in its early years, it met in the Hobart schoolhouse — the old wooden structure, I suppose, on Center Street.

By January 1876 the Sunday School had outgrown the schoolhouse. This page from the record book tells us that the "leading members" of the M.E. Church had been asked to allow the Union Sunday School to meet in their building, and they had refused. (This was the original M.E. Church, built in 1871.)

So the Sunday School appointed a committee to approach the Unitarian Church leadership for permission to meet in their brand-new house of worship, which had just been finished that very month.[1]

2019-03-05. USUN1873B 170, 171
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Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Of the committee members, Mr. Hansen is a mystery to me. Elsewhere in the record book we find a reference to H.C. Hansen being appointed to another committee, but I cannot find anyone with those initials in the censuses of 1870 or 1880. I do find a John Hanson in the 1880 Census (with daughters whose names appear in the Sunday School records: Lena, Mary, and Sarah).

Jessie Spray was the older sister of Jane Spray. Her name appears again and again in the records as a teacher of the Sunday School classes. According to her grave marker, she did not have long to live.

Mary Lambke,[2] I believe, belonged to a Valparaiso family. She and her siblings appear in the Union Sunday School records, here and there, as both students and teachers. The 1870 Census of Valparaiso shows the family consisting of Christian and his wife, Caroline (both of whom, along with their eldest son, were German immigrants), Christian Jr., Caroline Jr., Mary, Henry, Eddie, Charles, Minnie, and William. But the family seems to have stayed in Valparaiso; I can find no record of them ever moving to Hobart, so why did the children attend Sunday School here? I'm mystified. Anyway, Mary Lambke married Michael Burkhardt in 1886 (Indiana Marriage Collection), died in Chicago in 1941, and is buried in Valparaiso.

♦    ♦    ♦

At the meeting on February 13, the committee reported that the Unitarian Church leadership had responded favorably to their request, so starting February 20, 1876, the Union Sunday School would have a new home.

2019-03-05. USUN1873B 174, 175
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

[1] Elin B. Christiansen, Hobart's Historic Buildings (Hobart Historical Society, 2002).
[2] This surnames appears in various spellings — Lambke, Lembke, Lampke. I am going to index it as Lembke.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

In-Law Troubles: Extreme Edition

Accusing one's in-laws of meddling in one's marriage is not all that rare. But on July 6, 1923, in-law troubles reached an unusual level, involving attempted murder.

2019-02-27. Mize, Gazette, 7-13-1923
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Hobart Gazette, July 13, 1923

The last time we met Clifford O. Mize, he was brawling on Main Street. Evidently that was not out of character for him.

The 1920 Census places the Schreffler household on Indiana Street, and that seems to go along with the references in the article to the Bruhn factory and the Nickel Plate and "J" tracks. So these events probably happened in the general area of 400 South Indiana.

♦    ♦    ♦

I had noticed Harriet "Hattie" Schreffler in February of 1919, when she opened a millinery shop on Main Street.

2019-02-27. Schreffler, Gazette, 2-7-1919
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Hobart Gazette, February 7, 1919

In June of that year, she married Clifford Mize. It was his second marriage, and a child of the first was reported living with them in the 1920 Census. Harriet and Clifford had two sons together.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Put Your Foot in the Air Like You Just Don't Care

We know nothing about this photo, but I like it anyway.

2019-02-21. EvaT025
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of Eldon Harms.

It is from the collection of Eva Thompson. None of these people are identified, and I don't recognize them (except that the guy with his foot in the air looks a bit like the guy getting his hair cut here, or am I imagining things?). The location is unknown.

The car at center in the background is a Ford that dates circa 1915-1922, according to Eldon Harms (he had one like it in his garage), which helps us slightly in dating the photo.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Hit-and-Run on the Lincoln Highway

Two accounts of a serious accident that happened on July 8, 1923, along the Lincoln Highway just west of Randolph Street.

2019-02-16. Niksch, News, 7-12-1923
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Hobart News, July 12, 1923.

2019-02-16. Niksch, Gazette, 7-13-1923
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Hobart Gazette, July 13, 1923.

Donald was the son of Edward and Tillie Niksch, who had turned the former Deep River schoolhouse, on the northwest corner of Randolph and E. 73rd Avenue, into a dance hall.

I find that casual hospitality interesting: strangers from Gary traveling along the Lincoln Highway just happened to stop at the Niksch place for water, and for the lady to amuse herself playing the piano in the dance hall, though no dance was going on. Then she got thirsty again and gave the little boy a dime(!) to fetch her another glass of water. That's when everything went bad.

But little Donald recovered from his injuries and went on to live a full life.

♦    ♦    ♦

Below that story in the Gazette we find another accident, caused by drunk driving, involving Charles and Etta (Sohn) Kisela, who were a few weeks short of their first wedding anniversary.

The story in the News about camping along the Deep River mentions Camp 133, which we know about, but also some other camps that I've never heard of. The early summer's hot weather probably helped drive people out of their stuffy homes and into tents by the river.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Sweethearts on the Moon

Here's something cute for Valentine's Day.

2019-02-14. Saxton-Sader 1910
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Images courtesy of Alice Flora Smedstad.

These sweethearts had their photo taken at the White City amusement park on July 4, 1910.

2019-02-14. Saxton-Sader verso

Irma Saxton was then about 19 years old. She was descended from two of the oldest families in the Merrillville area. Her parents, Alva and Jennie (Pierce) Saxton farmed just north of the village itself.

A brief glance over the records doesn't tell me anything about Willis Sader; only that they were married on June 7, 1913, and soon had two children, Mabel and Clifford. Unfortunately, Willis died young … but let's not talk about that now; let's just concentrate on the moon and other romantic things.