Thursday, May 31, 2012

Outlaw Bikers, 1919

Speaking of those motorcycle-riding Ballantyne boys, one of them was a wanted man by June 1919:

Motorcyclist Arrested
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette of June 17, 1919.

I don't know who Marion Hoover was, nor why the article would be headed "Motorcyclist Arrested" when the story doesn't say one has been yet.

♦    ♦    ♦

Speaking of automotive matters, the Roper Bros. are planning a new building for their auto sales business.

Roper Bros. Sell Out
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette of June 20, 1919.

The Hobart News of June 26, 1919, included this item in the "Local and Personal" column:
Roper Bros. last week sold their garage on Third street to E.E. Whisler and a Mr. Donovick of Gary, who will take charge the first of July. Roper Bros. will build a garage on their own lot at the corner of Third and School street, work to begin within the next few days.
I've been wondering where "School street" was ever since an obituary of Fred Thompson located his home there. Now I gather it was East Street, or perhaps just the part of it closest to the Hobart Township High School.

This 1922 map shows both the Brahst Bros. building and the new Roper building.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Under Construction (Random Pointless Photos)

So a pair of barn swallows have decided to build their nest on my window frame. I've never seen a swallows' nest under construction before. This ought to be interesting. As you can see in the photo, they first made daubs of mud all along the frame before settling on the south corner as the best place to build. They bring bits of grass and beakfuls of mud and plaster them together onto the vertical surface.

Barn swallow 5-29 1
(Click on images to enlarge)

Off he goes (or she — I can't even tell them apart, let alone identify their genders). I hope to learn how to photograph these things better.

Barn swallow 5-29 2

Posing for the camera in front of his/her handiwork … or beakiwork?

Barn swallow posing

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Cranesbill

Here we have some kind of cranesbill — Carolina cranesbill, I think. I found it blossoming in Jerry Pavese Park.

(Click on images to enlarge)

And back in Ainsworth, beside the Canadian National tracks, we find it already fruiting. In this picture you can see the long, narrow fruit that supposedly resembles a crane's bill and gives the plant its name.

Cranesbill seedpods

The most interesting thing I learned in reading up on this plant is that our word "geranium" derives from the Greek word for crane. Cranesbills are geraniums and vice versa — but we're talking about wild geraniums, because those domesticated geraniums you buy at the nursery are really pelargoniums, not true geraniums. Or so says Jack Sanders, anyway.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Need a Smoke (WWI-Era Photo Album)

On page 30 of the album, we have these two photos with no identifying notes, but I'm inclined to think we're still at the convention of the Epworth League South Bend District in Hobart, June 17-18, 1918.

In the first photo, apparently that young fellow is so desperate for a smoke that he's about to light up, not only at a religious convention, but in the presence of ladies. The only person aware of the camera, the man at left, looks at the photographer with an expression that seems to say, "Why on earth are you taking a picture of that?"*

I Need a Smoke, 30a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

I have a special place in my heart for pictures in which the subjects don't realize they are being photographed, and are just spontaneously doing what they want to do. I'm sure if that young lady at left had noticed the camera, she would have arranged her face more conventionally, and we would have missed this moment where her mind has wandered from the conversation and gotten lost in thought … or perhaps she's just really annoyed with that skirt she's trying to adjust.

Chatting on the Steps, 30b

The building behind them (in both photos) is probably the old high school on Fourth Street.

*My notions of 1918 propriety may be mistaken.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day, circa 1920

Memorial Day ca 1920 1
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Memorial Day ca 1920 2

Per the notes on these photos, they show a Memorial Day celebration circa 1920. None of the marchers are identified; what a pity!

I think what we're looking at in the first photo is the assembling of the parade in front of the High School, and in the second photo it has set off north on East Street.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tuberculosis Yet Again

On June 23, 1919, the youngest of the Nolte brothers died.

E. Nolte obituary
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette of June 27, 1919.

That's all very touching, but it was left up to the News to give the actual cause of death:

E. Nolte death notice
From the Hobart News of June 26, 1919.

Yes, the old family curse.

What's really strange is this:

Edward Nolte
(Click on images to enlarge)

Now, I can certainly understand getting a sibling's birth year wrong. But if you're burying your brother in 1919, don't you know it's 1919?

I'm embarrassed to admit how long I was puzzled by that, especially since, in the adjacent row, there's this:

Louis Nolte

Once again, the birth year is wrong, but the year of death is right. Stones identical. Eventually it dawned on me: Henry, Louis and Bertha did not buy a grave marker for poor Edward. Some 14 years later, when Henry had to bury Louis, he had an attack of conscience or belated brotherly love, and so he ordered a marker for Edward as he was ordering one for Louis. But by then he'd forgotten exactly when Edward died.

Either that or they didn't buy one until 1920; the stone cutter mistakenly carved "1920," and Henry, being such a nonconfrontational type (think of his declining to prosecute the guy who stole his wallet and garters), just let it slide. What's a year more or less, to one who has eternal life?

In that case, though, I think at least Bertha would have objected. Personally, I think the first explanation is more likely.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dene Rupe (WWI-Era Photo Album)

As we move on to page 29 of the album, I believe we are still at the District Convention of the Epworth League, June 1918. These two young folks are not identified, but they look familiar from previous photos.

Unidentified at Convention, 29a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

A handwritten note behind the second photo identifies its subject as "Dene Rupe."

Dene Rupe, 29b

I'm less interested in Miss Rupe, bless her smiling little face, than I am in what's going on behind her. There we see the intersection of a set of rather light-looking rails running along the side of a road with a set of railroad tracks crossing the road and then curving off in the general direction of some smokestacks far in the distance. I'm wondering: might that be Third Street just west of Duck Creek, where the trolley line and the "J" spur cross? Our "J" spur map was drawn at a time when the trolley had ceased to go further east than Main Street, but if we use our imaginations…

(Then again, for all I know, this could be in Layffatte or some such place.)

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Veteran Returns, a Veteran Departs

In early June 1919, Edward Sauter set sail from France, homeward bound.

His mother, Augusta Sauter Fiester, was showing around Hobart a memento he had sent her — "a handsome beaded hand-bag" purchased in France, which she "prize[d] very highly." That Friday the 13th was no unlucky day for her, as she received a telegram from Edward, announcing that his boat had docked in American waters. Ten days later — having made a detour to Camp Taylor in Kentucky for his discharge — Edward was back home in Hobart. According to the Gazette, he had spent nearly a year as a gunner in France, and had seen "much active service, likewise great hardships," but now he returned in triumph, bearing "numerous souvenirs." The News crowed: "Edward Sauter … is looking the picture of health. He weighs more than 200 pounds and stands more than six feet in height."

♦    ♦    ♦

As new veterans returned, old veterans were leaving — the whole generation that had fought the Civil War was passing, more and more of them, as we are now losing the generation that fought World War II.

Charles Estelle obituary
(Click on image to enlarge)

♦ "Chas. W. Estelle." Hobart Gazette 20 June 1919.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 12 June 1919; 19 June 1919; 26 June 1919.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 27 June 1919.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Methodist (WWI-Era Photo Album)

Under this photo on page 28 of the album, someone has written "Methodist." Yes, it is the M.E. Church on the corner of Fourth and Center. Just for the record.

Methodist, 28a
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Poison Hemlock

A couple years ago, hanging out by the railroad tracks, we met a black sheep of the Parsley family. Now we meet another, in a more populated place: Jerry Pavese Park.

Allow me to introduce you to Poison Hemlock.

Poison Hemlock plants
(Click on images to enlarge)

These disgraces to the Parsley family name stand some six or seven feet tall. More about their poisonous personalities here. Yes, these are the guys who did Socrates in. And now you can find them loitering around the park, waiting for another victim.

The leaves:
Poison Hemlock leaves

Pretty, aren't they? And they look so much like wild carrots.

Their distinguishing characteristic is a purple-spotted stem.
Poison Hemlock stem

The blossoms.
Poison Hemlock blossoms

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lee & Rhodes: Benefactors of Humanity

From the Hobart Gazette of June 6, 1919:

Lee-Rhodes, Gazette 6-6-1919
(Click on images to enlarge)

From the Hobart News of June 12, 1919:

Lee & Rhodes water fountain

This ad ran in the same edition of the News:

Lee & Rhodes ad

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Motherwort

These pretty little blossoms are Motherwort, a member of the Mint family.

Motherwort blossoms
(Click on images to enlarge)

As we know, "wort" is just an old word meaning plant or herb; but why "mother"? Some online sources suggests that's in tribute to this plant's traditional use in treating problems with the female reproductive system.

I took several photos of the whole plant, but somehow managed to mess them all up. Here's the least messed-up one:

Motherwort plant

This specimen was about 18" tall. Found in Deep River County Park. Who knew I would find so many new wildflowers even though Maya can't go for long walks anymore? Maybe because she walks more slowly, I see more things along the way.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nickel Plate, Briscoe and Holmes
(WWI-Era Photo Album)

"Myself" was very busy with his camera during the June 1918 Epworth League Convention. At least, I believe that is when and where he took the following photo, but since it has no notes, I can't be sure. This one is unusual in that its subjects are not smiling. But surely that's Miss Nickel Plate second from the left, is it not?

Possibly Epworth League Convention, 27a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

The second photo on this page has a handwritten note behind it, but once again the album's owner glued it in so enthusiastically that it's only partially legible:
Ruth Briscoe
Est___ Holmes
I'm guessing the second given name, only partially legible, is Esther. Looking through the censuses, if we go to West Creek Township in Lake County, we find an Esther Holmes who would be of an age to attend this convention; and if we go all the way to LaPorte County, we find a Ruth Briscoe similarly qualified — but that's all speculation.

Ruth Briscoe, Est[her] Holmes, 27b

Behind them, the high school on Fourth Street.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: Yellow Iris

When I saw this lovely thing blooming by the pier in Jerry Pavese Park, I got all excited. Had I found a wild iris? But Newcomb's Wildflower Guide says of the yellow iris, "Escaped from cultivation to marshes and banks of streams." So … yes and no.

Yellow Iris blossom
(Click on images to enlarge)

Yellow Iris plant

The Strattans' Winter Home

In honor of B.W. and Mertie Strattan's return from their winter in Florida, as reported yesterday, I thought I'd post this:

Rose Lawn
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

This image comes from a postcard, on the back of which someone has written:
Rose Lawn
Camp Walton
The Stattans' winter home
No one in the photo is identified. No date either. Judging by the fashions, I would guess, very roughly, somewhere in the 1910s.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Random Changes

Having auctioned off their farm things, the Rossows apparently were making plans to move to town.
Wm. Rossow last week purchased the Ray Halstead home on Lincoln avenue, the consideration being $3,000. Mr. Halstead and family will remain there until next March, when they expect to move on the farm.
I don't know exactly where on Lincoln Street this house stood (or stands). By "the farm," I suppose the writer meant some of the Halsted property between Ainsworth and Merrillville.

Speaking of Halsteds, changes were coming up for Hazard.* In July he sold his barbershop to a partnership formed by Clifford O. Mize (a barber sidelining in phonographs) and one Mr. Brown, whose first initials vary from report to report. Since none of these newspapers stories ever give an address, I don't know if the barbershop in question is the one in the photo linked to above, but it was indeed on Main Street. "Mr. Halstead has not fully decided as to his future business engagements," the Gazette commented on July 4, adding that Hazard meant to work for at least a week in the barber shop of Lawrence Niksch — filling in for the said Mr. Brown, who had worked there for several weeks.

Meanwhile, his sister, Alta, had left for Boston, intending to spend a month's vacation traveling and visiting in the East and South.

In non-Halsted news, our Deep River friend, Wilma Cullman, enrolled for the "summer courses" at Valparaiso University. While the report does not specify what courses, Wilma was likely preparing to become a teacher, as she would be by 1920. Among her classmates were Elsie Gruel and Pearl Ols.

And finally, on May 30, Benjamin and Mertie Strattan returned from Florida. They had been visiting someone named Harlan, who I believe was Benjamin's son from his first marriage, and who operated a "pleasure boat" for a living.

*I still don't know what, if any, relation Hazard and Ray were to each other.

1920 Census.
♦ "Halstead Barber Shop Sold." Hobart Gazette 4 July 1919.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 29 May 1919; 5 June 1919.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 4 July 1919.
♦ "Mize & Brown Form Partnership and Buy Halstead Barber Shop." Hobart News 3 July 1919.
♦ "Mize-Schreffler." Hobart News 3 July 1919.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wildflowers of Ainsworth: American Vetch

American Vetch blossoms
(Click on images to enlarge)

I believe what we have here is American vetch, aka purple vetch. It is a flowering vine. I found this one (along with many others like it) in Jerry Pavese Park, growing beneath the trees on the unmowed slope down to Lake George.

The flowers are pretty, but I didn't manage to get a very good picture of them.

American Vetch blossoms 2

Oh well.

In the picture below, that toothed ring around the stem at left is called a stipule. I just learned that, in the process of trying to identify this thing.

American Vetch Stipule

Yep, this is all you get today. Welcome to Extreme Summer Posting Time, aka Why Did I Think It Was a Good Idea to Start Building an Outdoor Storage Bin at the Busiest Time of Year? Posting Time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Porches (WWI-Era Photo Album)

Page 26 of the album: more smiling young women. No notes to identify the subjects, time or place.

While one or two of these women resemble subjects in the District convention photos, that doesn't mean anything if they are Hobart residents. I can't identify the house behind them; looks like a frame house with a block porch. That porch certain looks inviting — shaded, open to breezes, with that nice swing.

Block porch, frame house, 26a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Now, with this second photo, I'm more inclined to say it's the convention again (June 17-18, 1918), because of those little boxes the women are carrying. Lunch boxes? I don't know, but many of the female conventioneers seemed to be equipped with them.

In Front of Library, 26b

I'm sure you all recognize the Hobart Public Library behind them.

This photo is a bit more formal than the other convention photos; all the young ladies are wearing their hats. The woman at center looks a bit like Miss Nickel Plate, but really, without her characteristic smile, I'm not sure.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Importance of an Invitation

Two items on the front page of the Hobart Gazette of May 30, 1919, show what a different reception you may expect if you go onto Charles Chester's place without an invitation, or with one. (I believe the birthday in question was Constance's 49th.)

Charles and Constance Chester, Gazette 5-30-1919
(Click on image to enlarge)

A few other items on the same page bring us news of other old friends, and a little more information about the mysterious Mary Kipp.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Miss Nickel Plate and Myself
(WWI-Era Photo Album)

There are no notes to identify the photos on page 25 of the album, but they look very much like the South Bend District Convention we just saw.

And surely, the grinning young woman second from the right in the front row is Miss Nickel Plate.

Miss Nickel Plate and friends, 25a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

I believe the building behind them is Methodist parsonage on Fourth Street. Far in the background on the right is the high school.

The second photo on this page shows another group. I believe the guy on the left in the front row of this group is "Myself," the owner of the photo album. Thus far we've only seen rather poor pictures of him, but he does have that characteristic way of half-smiling and looking down.

This same guy was in the first of the South Bend District Convention photos (linked to above), but I didn't recognize him at first, without his camera and downcast eyes.

Myself and friends, 25b

The way that young man is clowning around with his hat and the woman next to him — maybe that's what led up to the hat-borrowing picture in the previous set.

I think that's the high school behind them.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Kittens in the Barn

On the afternoon of May 15, 1919, the phone rang in the house of William and Carrie Raschka, the house that had so recently seen a happy family reunion. When William put the phone to his ear, he heard the voice of his brother, Frank — but not as he had ever heard Frank before — pouring out a scarcely coherent story … the new barn had caught fire, had burned, they couldn't save it, they couldn't save them … the children …

The children were six-year-old Kenneth and four-year-old Esther. Not two weeks earlier they had romped around on Uncle William and Aunt Carrie's lawn. Now they were dead.

Frank and brother George, who co-owned the farm, had been out working in the fields when, around 2 o'clock, they saw smoke and flames coming from their barn, just recently built and filled with cow feed and hay.

Frank's wife, Frieda, busy with her housework, had noticed nothing amiss until she happened to look out the window and saw the men running in frantically from the field. In the next moment she saw the barn ablaze. I expect her heart sank when she thought back to the last time she had actually seen the children — 20 or 30 minutes ago — and then there was that litter of kittens one of the farm cats had had, out in the barn — the children were so fascinated by those tiny creatures — could they possibly have…?

The men tried to enter the barn, but the flames drove them back. The Raschkas called the Crown Point fire department, which responded quickly but still too late to save the barn itself. It was all they could do to keep the fire from spreading to other buildings. Meanwhile, I imagine, the parents and uncle searched around the house and yard and outbuildings, hoping against hope that the missing children were only hiding, frightened by all the uproar.

Eventually the firefighters doused the blaze. The men were able to enter the smoking wreck of the barn. And there they found the charred remains of the two children, near where the nest of kittens had been.

Their parents could do nothing but pick up the telephone and share the heartbreak with all the extended family.

Two days later, after a funeral in their home, Frank and Frieda laid the little ones to rest in the Salem Methodist Church cemetery.

Raschka, Kenneth

Raschka, Esther

Decades would pass before the family was reunited.

Raschka, Frank

Raschka, Frieda

I don't believe Frank and Frieda ever had another biological child, although by 1930 they had adopted two little children, a boy and a girl.

1930 Census.
♦ "Shocking Accident." Lake County Times 16 May 1919.
♦ "Two Children and Barn Burn." Hobart Gazette 23 May 1919.
♦ "Two Children Meet Death in Burning Barn Near Palmer." Hobart News 22 May 1919.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

South Bend District Convention
(WWI-Era Photo Album)

Our League Convention, 24a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

In addition to the handwritten caption above the photo, a handwritten note behind it reads:
South Bend District Convention
at Hobart
I believe that would be the South Bend District of the Epworth League, a Methodist association for young adults. Its convention took place in Hobart from 3 o'clock the afternoon of Monday, June 17, 1918, until the evening of June 18. About 100 young people came in from out of town to attend, and I gather that numerous Hobart residents opened their homes to these visitors for the overnight stay. (See "Methodist Episcopal," Hobart Gazette, 14 June 1918, 21 June 1918.)

The young lady at the right end of the back row looks like Miss Nickel Plate, doesn't she? And this gives us another clue to the identity of "Myself" — he was a Methodist. Well, that's not much help.

The second photo on the page is not identified, but general appearances suggest it is the same convention. The setting is the same — the grounds of the high school on Fourth Street — and the young lady at center in the front row looks a bit like Miss Nickel Plate, although it's difficult to tell, with the quality of the photo.

The women have borrowed the men's hats, and are evidently getting a big kick out of it.

Convention, 24b

In the background at left is the M.E. Church; at right you can see part of the library building, and behind it one side of the house that used to stand where the parking lot is now.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wild Mushrooms of Ainsworth: Wolf's-milk Slime

Wolf's-milk Slime
(Click on image to enlarge)

Found on a log in my field. I popped that one at the bottom to see what was inside. It looks like brains, doesn't it? Well, some people think it looks like toothpaste, which is why another name for this stuff is Toothpaste Slime.

Says Wikipedia: "Lycogala epidendrum, commonly known as wolf's milk or groening's slime, is a cosmopolitan species of plasmodial slime mould which is often mistaken for a fungus." I made that mistake myself, at first, thinking these were mushrooms.*

Its growing season is supposed to be June through November, but what with the early spring this year, I guess it got a head start.

*Yes, the title of the post says, "Wild Mushrooms," and so does the indexing label. So sue me.

Another Update re: Annie and Olga Peterson

I have updated the post with the glass-plate image of Annie and Olga Peterson to add a couple of pages from a Melin family history at the museum. One page gives a sketch of Olga's history, along with some details about Annie; the second page gives Olga's recipe for Swedish pancakes!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Look! Up in the Sky!

The Hobart Gazette took notice of a most unusual event on May 12, 1919 — an airplane in the skies over Hobart.

By chance, the same page carried glad tidings of Asa Bullock. Apparently he had somehow managed to recover from the tragic end of his first love — or perhaps we should just say his first marriage — and was once again a husband and father.

(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette of May 16, 1919.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Miss Nickel Plate (WWI-Era Photo Album)

Those of you who have looked through the Downtown Hobart blog have seen this young woman before. We're now going to see her again. We don't know who she is. Aside from a handwritten caption under the first photo — "Nickel Plate Depot" — we have no information on these photos.

Nickel Plate Depot ca. 1920
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Near the Nickel Plate Depot, ca. 1920

I find the background of that second photo interesting. That frame building is probably a railroad storage shed. Then some advertising billboards, I think. Main Street would run left and right across the far background, and just beyond the street, a water tower on the left, and on the right — you can just make out the outline of the Nickel Plate Garage, yes?