Thursday, January 31, 2013

Maisy (Random Pointless Photo)

This is Maisy. I am fostering her for the Humane Society of Hobart. Note her great big belly. She is about to have kittens.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Since Maisy will be here to take care of her kittens, this project should not be as difficult as last fall's four motherless kittens, but it still is not good news for the blog.

Every spring, summer and fall, while I'm spending hours and hours working outside, I look forward to the winter when I will be stuck inside the house and have all kinds of time on my hands to fix everything that's wrong with my blog. But it never works out that way!

Hobart Then and Now: Cleveland Avenue

Cleveland St from PC PM 1909
Cleveland Ave 2013
(Click on images to enlarge)

Here we have another view of Cleveland Avenue. (Sorry about the quality of the historical photo; I did look around for a better version, but in the end I had to scan it from the tiny reproduction on my 1909 road trip postcard.) It's not the most illuminating picture I've ever seen, but it's what I've got.

I'm pretty sure that first house in the old photo is the Melin house, so we're looking eastward along Cleveland from the cemetery corner.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cap'n Jim's Hobart Memories

Through the miracle of the internet, someone I've never met has volunteered some Hobart memories, thus sparing me, for once, the crushing burden of writing an original post. So today we will hear from Cap'n Jim:
What I will recount below might be of no use in any documentation. But, it might be of some personal interest. If old timers like me don't preserve this stuff who will?

I will recall some unrelated things generally about "The J." I was born and raised within a stone's throw of the railroad.

The property now used by the lumber company on the South side of the old right of way contained no development until the mid nineteen thirties. Then the Blue Ribbon Dairy was built there. When that business was demolished I don't know. It was succeeded by a grocery store whose building still exists.

On the North side of the tracks just west of Main St., about at the end of the lumber company building was a water tank for the locomotives. (As an aside, there was a similar tank on the Nickel Plate just west of Main St. on the North side of the tracks.) From time to time Pennsy engines would use the EJ&E tank.

Moving along a little way, there was a stock loading pen and chute at Lake St. It was on the South side abutting the street and the RR track. Never saw it used. On the other hand, I never saw the hitching post in front of the high school used either

The Main Street and Lake Street crossings were guarded by watchmen. I'm quite sure the Main St. crossing was manned all night. I'm not sure about Lake. (Another aside. The Main St. Nickel Plate crossing was also guarded by a watchman. His name was Tony and he had a badly injured leg on which he wore a heavy brace. Of course, all the school kids knew him and greeted him daily.) All of the crossings had small guard houses with small coal stoves. And no lights!

There were some instances where EJ&E trains stopped for lengthy periods blocking both Main and Lake. This was a potentially dangerous situation because there was only one fire station. It was downtown.

♦    ♦    ♦

My former residences [on Main Street and Water Street] haven't changed all that much. What has changed is the corner at Eighth and Water where there was formerly a very awkward grade level crossing. And, the Main St. crossing which has been leveled out.

In 1945 or 46, five veterans just returned from service took that crossing at a high rate of speed and collided head-on with a Gary Railways bus. All five of them were killed. A short time later five others struck an EJ&E train stopped at the Cleveland Ave-Rte 130 crossing. Again all five were killed. Not happy news.

Other memories. In 1936 the WPA worked on what became Brickie Bowl. An endless succession of trucks carried fill down the hill to create the area that became the field. There was a rude bridge across Duck Creek where additional work was in progress. We were told it was to be tennis courts. (And yes, I am that old!)

♦    ♦    ♦

[1947] was the year of the centennial and the year Hobart Lumber burned. I was ushering at the theater and we were wearing Indian costumes to celebrate the observance. I ran from the theater to the fire in costume.
Thank you, Cap'n Jim. That's the first I've ever heard of a stock loading pen on Lake Street.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Great Majestic

Photos taken inside the Hobart Historical Society museum.

Here's a Great Majestic kitchen range.

Great Majestic
(Click on images to enlarge)

As the oven gauge tells you, it's the range with a reputation.

Great Majestic gauge

(Those numbers can't possibly be hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit — what would you be cooking at 1100°?)

A little superficial research suggests that this is the smallest model the Majestic Manufacturing Company produced. Also, if you want to move to St. Louis, Missouri, you can rent an apartment (or "loft") in the former factory.

Well, I've been reading up a little on how to be a bad photographer, and apparently one important skill is the inappropriate use of selective coloring. Up until now I have never used selective coloring at all — shame on me! So here's my first attempt.

Great Majestic faux

Monday, January 28, 2013

Olga Foreman

From the Busse autograph collection.

Olga Foreman
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

If these lines are not original, I haven't been able to identify their source, and perhaps the poet's obscurity is well earned, since I'm able to believe that the 14-year-old Olga made this up herself.

She was the daughter of William and Emma Foreman. The 1910 Census found them living on Front Street, sharing a home with Emma's parents, Julius and Augusta Manteuffel.

I believe Olga married Fred Rossow in 1916 (Indiana Marriage Collection) and the 1920 Census shows them running a dairy farm in Porter County, with a baby daughter who was not named after Olga's dead friend.

♦    ♦    ♦

Since I can't find a picture of Olga, you'll just have to make do with a picture of her father: William Foreman was a long-serving school engineer — or janitor, as the 1910 censustaker puts it plainly — and so beloved that one of Hobart's elementary schools was named for him after his death. Of course, native Hobartites know the story better than I do. Here he is in the Hobart High School Aurora yearbook of 1927:

W. Foreman portrait 1927 Aurora
W. Foreman caption, 1927 Aurora

And here is the Foreman school — photo undated, but probably near the time of its demolition, since I think that's the newly built Joan Martin school in the background.

Foreman school
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hobart Then and Now: Whip Factory/Lumber Co.

Circa 1911, and 2013.

Smith and Stoddard Whip Factory
Hobart Lumber
(Click on images to enlarge)
Top image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Thanks to the Sanborn maps, we now know the location of the Smith & Stoddard whip factory; however, I don't know exactly how to apply that knowledge to the historical image above — that is to say, I can't determine where the original photographer stood. I'm not entirely sure it's possible, these days, to stand where the original photographer stood and still get a decent picture. You might be rubbing your nose against the blank wall of Hobart Lumber.

So I just took a general picture.

Here's another old photo, of the whip factory employees.

Smith Stoddard Whip Factory employees
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How Not to Get Anything Done

This camera of mine came in a set with a second lens, called a macro lens. I didn't know what a macro lens was for and never even took it out of the box in the two or more years I've had it … until yesterday. The instructions it came with were rudimentary, so I had to go on the internet to try to find out how to use a macro lens, and most of the advice boiled down to: learn by trial and error.

So this morning I took my macro lens to the Hobart Historical Society museum and spent an hour and a half taking (and ruining) pictures.

This photo, of organ stops, is one of only a few that weren't entirely ruined.

Vox humana
(Click on images to enlarge)

And late in the afternoon I simply had to go outside and take pictures of stuff. Took 22 pictures. Only three of them weren't ruined.

Phragmites communis gone to seed

Don't know what it is but it's cute

Apple tree twig

I think I should probably put my macro lens back in the box and forget it ever existed.

Samuel Bartlett Woods, Enumerator

In light of the fact that my microfilm reading (remember when I used to read microfilm, instead of just posting pictures?*) has now gone through the taking of the 1920 census, I thought I'd post this picture of one of Ross Township's enumerators, Sam Woods, who was also something of a local historian.

Sam B. Woods
(Click on image to enlarge)
From The First Hundred Years of Lake County, Indiana by Sam B. Woods (1938). Image courtesy of the Merrillville/Ross Township Historical Society.

He was born in Ross Township in 1856. You can find the farm belonging to his parents, Bartlett and Ann Woods, southeast of Ross Station in the 1874 Plat Map, and in the 1908 Plat Map, Sam's own land is just north of Lottaville.

Sam lived to be 100 years old.

Here he is counting people in the heart of Ainsworth:
Ainsworth 1920 by Sam Woods
(Click on images to enlarge)
Census images from

And in the village of Deep River:
1920 census, Deep River

*This is a facetious remark. I still read microfilm and I'll get around to posting something from it one of these days.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Updated Again! More Photos!

Believe it or not, we now have three more photos of the Buchfuehrer farm auction of November 1917. I have added them to the original post.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Children's Shoes

Photos taken in the Hobart Historical Society museum.

Children's Shoes
(Click on images to enlarge)

Toes Worn Through

Fancy and Plain

High Tops and Slipper

Ankle straps and lace-ups

Today's desecration of Art is the "ink sketch" effect from Paint.NET.

Children's Shoes ink sketch effect

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sister Bertha

From the Busse autograph collection.

Sister Bertha Busse
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Bertha Busse was four years younger than Brother Bill and a good deal less cynical. For Adeline's album she used these words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, expressing ideals that sound lofty at the first reading, but when you think about them more closely — especially the "speak what we think" part — you find they constitute a recipe for being tiresome.

Bertha was strikingly lovely, as we see in this photo, which was printed as her senior portrait in the Hobart High School Aurora of 1913.

Bertha Busse 1913 (Mrs. George Smith)

This photo is on display at the Hobart Historical Society museum. Someone has added a typewritten caption: "Bertha Busse (Mrs. George Smith)." At this point I know nothing about George Smith or their marriage.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ainsworth Then and Now: John Wood School(?)

Circa 1962 and 2013.
John Wood School ca 1962
John Wood 2013
(Click on images to enlarge)
Top image courtesy of the Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society.

According to the handwritten caption on the first photo, this is the John Wood school, and the school looks pretty freshly built. The lettering on the building is not clear; however, to me it looks more like "Jonas E. Salk" than "John Wood." I would never have recognized the building — and what are all those structures behind it? It seems to have been placed in a densely built suburban neighborhood. Yet the 1965 aerial view of the school does not show those houses, or whatever they are.

I am mystified. It would be very nice to have a photo of the just-built John Wood School, but I'm not sure I do here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ironic, Isn't It?

— that the more irons have been improved to be convenient and effective, the less we use them.

Photos taken inside the Hobart Historical Society museum.

Irons 1
(Click on image to enlarge)

This monstrosity was meant to be filled with hot coals. The embossed curved plate under the handle was there to shield the user's hand from the heat. Theoretically.

Hot coal iron

Early electrical irons.

Irons 2

Today's low-rent artsiness is the "oil painting" effect in Paint.NET. It's a desecration of Art, of course, but I think it's cute.

Oil painting effect

Ad for American Beauty electric iron
From the Hobart News of June 17, 1920.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Brother Bill

From the Busse autograph collection.

Brother Bill Busse
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

"Brother Bill" was Adeline's older brother, William John Busse, and he was 19 years old when he wrote this cynical advice. The 1910 Census found him with no job, but by the time of the Great War he had moved to Chicago and was employed by Wells Fargo (WWI Draft Cards). However, he was back in Hobart in time for the 1920 Census, and I think he remained there until his death. He is buried in Hobart Cemetery.

So far as I can tell, he did indeed paddle his own canoe through life, in a sense, for he never loved and trusted anyone outside his family enough to marry.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Updated Again With More Photos!

I believe we have a candidate for the title of Most Photographed Farm Auction of 1917. I now have four more photos of the Buchfuehrer auction, from another source, to add to the original post.

(And yes, again, that's all you get today.)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Updated with Photos

A Buchfuehrer descendant has made it possible for me to update a couple of previous posts with relevant photos.

We now have a portrait of John and Lillian (Buchfuehrer) Call.

We also have a couple of very interesting photos of the 1917 auction that took place on the Buchfuehrer farm.

(And that is all you get today. But isn't it enough?)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Barred Plymouth Eggs

I get a little thrill every time one of the Noltes breaks their silence voluntarily — that is, not because of a death or a crime — even if it is only to sell some Barred Plymouth Rock chicken eggs.

All kinds of Wants
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette of April 2, 1920.

John Sievert, the one selling the colts, was a Ross Township farmer who has earned only one individual mention so far in this blog, though his parents are buried in Chester Cemetery.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mary Kegebein

From the Busse autograph collection.

Mary Kegebein
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

Mary was about 13 years old when she wrote this. The 1910 Census shows her living on Lake Street in Hobart, with her parents, Charles and Anna Kegebein — the third of their nine children. At that time both her father and older brother were employed in a brickyard. Her 17-year-old sister was a telephone operator. Her father was a brother of the John Kegebein, Jr. who owned a farm north of Ainsworth (see also the 1891 Plat Book).

I believe Mary became Mrs. Homer R. White in July 1917 (Indiana Marriage Collection) and in the 1920 Census can be found in South Bend, Indiana, with her husband and a little daughter, Gertrude.

As for the "angles," this is one of those traditional children's prayers with a morbid twist (like "if I should die before I wake…"). A little research suggests that the more common form is:
Four corners to my bed
Four angels round my head
One to watch and one to pray
And two to bear my soul away.
These days you can buy a sanitized version to hang on your wall.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Photos taken inside the Hobart Historical Society museum.

Here we have a luxury item: an upholstered reclining rocker.

Reclining rocker
(Click on images to enlarge)

This is on display without comment, so I don't know how old it is. Nor do I know to whom it belonged — but I'm guessing someone in comfortable circumstances.

You all know the history of the term antimacassar, don't you? This one looks so delicate that I wonder how they laundered it. But even buying a new antimacassar was less expensive than having the chair reupholstered.

Lace Antimacassar

And now for some low-rent artsiness! Here I just messed with the brightness and contrast.

Antimacassar contrast

This is an "effect" from Paint.NET called "polar inversion":

Antimacassar polar inversion

It's a great tool for procrastination.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Update to Estelle Keilmann

I found a photograph to go with Estelle Keilmann's autograph in Lena's album. It's cute — see for yourself!

The Fire Next Door

I was looking through the files at the museum for a picture of the original First Christian Church that stood next to the Raschka house … and this is what I found. At least now I know why the congregation wanted a new building.

First Christian Church from rear
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

According to a handwritten note on the back, these photos date to 1948. The above was taken from the northeast; in the next three, taken from the south, you can see parts of the Raschka house in the background at left. (So the porch was enclosed by 1948.)

First Christian Church

First Christian Church from south

First Christian Church demolition

I think the last photo shows the demolition underway.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Raschka Family

As promised yesterday, we have a couple photos of the assembled Raschka family.

The first is undated (but judging by the women's fashions, I'd guess sometime in the 1940s). Pictured here, left to right: Lesta, Daisy, Bernice, William, Wilma, Carrie, and Leona.

Raschka family
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of Bruce McLain.

The second is dated June 28, 1954 — William and Carrie are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Left to right: Daisy, Leona, Carrie, William, Lesta, Wilma, and Bernice.

Raschka family - June 28, 1954

I did check the Gazette microfilm for any report of this event, but found none. However, we can get some notion of that day's festivities from the following accounts of William and Carrie's 50th, 54th and 61st anniversaries. (Whoever clipped these for the Hobart Historical Society did not note which newspaper they came from.)

50th anniversary
(Click on images to enlarge)
Newspaper images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

54th anniversary

61st anniversary

♦    ♦    ♦

During the spring of 1920, the Hobart News ran a series entitled "Hobart in Epitome and Brief Biographies of Its Builders," written by one J. Frank McDonald. (I don't know who he was. While the 1920 Census does show a Frank McDonald living in Hobart, it may be a coincidence, and I would not want to accuse a man on such slight evidence.)

One of the articles, from the April 15, 1920 issue, was about William Raschka. In many words, it tells us little we didn't already know, but I thought I'd retype it here anyway.
Dean Swift saw a century ago that "the man who causes two blades of grass to grow where before had been but one is a public benefactor," and the great truth embodied in the epigram is so universally recognized that it has become axiomatic. What the philosopher meant to stress and impress, was the fact that whoever in creases production of the staples upon which man and his domestic helpmeet animals exist was the best benefactor of the human family, and he might with truth have gone further than this along analogous lines. For a coadjutor and co-worker for the common good with the soil tiller who produces the necessities that sustain life is the man who furnishes a ready and convenient market for staple products at the highest going price. The man who worthily fills this utilitarian field in a community like Hobart and eastern Lake county that is largely dependent upon agriculture for material support, plays an important part in the drama of that community's every day life and the creature-comforts, contentment and happiness of many are largely in his hands.

And in the person of Wm. Raschka, the largest grain and hay dealer of Lake county, who handles the major portion of all these staples raised in eastern Lake county, Hobart and its tributary country has a very valuable asset.

Mr. Raschka is a native son of Indiana, was born and raised on a farm, and all his life, though he has managed large mercantile interests and other barks of business nature, has been a tiller of the fertile soil of the Hoosier state. He first saw the light at Bass Lake, Starke county, May 22, 1869,* and there lived, and where he still owns fine farming property, until 1892, when he removed to Ainsworth, in Lake county. Shortly after taking up his residence there he led to the hymenial altar Miss Carrie Chester, the winsome daughter of Henry Chester, one of the largest and most successful farmers of the Ainsworth section, and in association with his father-in-law he for several years progressively and profitably cultivated 1,200 acres of this fertile land that has few peers in productiveness in the country. Later he purchased the large Ainsworth general merchandising store of W.H. Halsted, and this he conducted with the success that has attended every enterprise he has launched in life for fourteen years, or until determining to devote his entire time to the purchase and sale of grains and hay about four years ago.

Although having removed to Hobart at the time of selling the Ainsworth store, to give his family greater educational and social advantages, his grain business interests still centers at Ainsworth, where he maintains a commodious warehouse.

Mr. Raschka's success in the grain business has been remarkable due in great measure to his thorough knowledge of all staple products and his business sagacity, but more in especial to the fact that his name is a synonym for truth and integrity in every confine of Lake county. The grain and hay dealers of this section well know that the name of William Raschka stands for the square deal in every transaction of life, and that is why he last season handled over one thousand carloads of these products, which was probably double the amount dealt in by any other dealer or dealers in Lake county.

Mr. Raschka resides in his sightly, substantial and modernly appointed brick residence on Lake street, adjacent to the Christian church, of which church he and his family are active and leading members, and of which church organization he is one of the board of trustees.

Although his business interests do not lie in this city he is accounted one of Hobart's most public spirited citizens and plays a progressive's part in every movement making for the advancement and uplift of the city in which he makes his home and habitat.
*His birth year is given as 1868 on his grave marker; I don't know which is correct.