Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Labor Day 1920something

From Mildred Lindborg's photo album.

6 Labor Day 192_
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of N.B.

Mildred wrote, "Labor Day 1921" — I think, but the last digit is nearly illegible; it could also be "4" or "6." Judging by the clothing, I'm inclined to think it is 1921.

Labor Day IDs
(1) Hulda Palm (wife of Peter). (2) Peter Palm (Anna Lindborg's brother). (3) Grandma Larson. (4) Anna Lindborg. (5) Mrs. Bowman. (6) Mabel Larson(?). (7) [first name unknown] Hanson(?). (8) Franklin Lindborg. (9) Gust Lindborg. (10) Helen Palm(?). (11) Gladys Lindborg. (12) Esther Palm(?). (13) Norma Lindborg. (14) June Bowman(?).

Location unknown.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pennsy Ticket, 1913

Miss Minnie Rossow got a reduced fare on the Pennsy line because she was under 18 — 16 years old, to be exact. It was April 1913 and she was commuting between Hobart and Gary to attend Gary Business College. If the train stopped to pick her up near her parents' home, close by the crossing of the tracks over (present-day) Wisconsin Street, that was very convenient. The streetcar would have been likewise convenient — I don't know why she preferred the Pennsy.

Pennsy 1913 1
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of E.H.

Pennsy 1913 2

This little note identifies the ticket (there is only one) and the examination questions we've already seen, although, as I've said, it doesn't make the chronology clear. There was no little leather billfold, by the way: these items were loose in the steamer trunk.

Note on ticket and questions

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Roads Excellent … Outside of Indiana

Elmer Bullock's road trip with Grandma came to an end, and the travelers' report appeared in the "Local and Personal" column of the Hobart News of July 22, 1920:

Faulkner/Bullock/Kipp road trip
(Click on image to enlarge)

(By the way, per the 1900 Census, J. Harmon and Ella Kipp had 11 children, Mary being the eldest.)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Parsonage

This lovely little house is, according to a legend on the back of the postcard, "The Parsonage/Merrillville, Ind."

(Click on images to enlarge)

While we have noticed a house on 73rd Avenue (south side of the road, west of Madison) that looks quite similar, I don't know for certain it's the same house and so I chose not to do a then-and-now.

The message on the back is from an old acquaintance, Silas E. Zuvers, who in the early years of the 20th century taught at the Ainsworth school.

Parsonage reverse 1

His obituary, from the Hobart News of August 17, 1916:

S.E. Zuvers obituary

Additional related items from the Lake County Star (courtesy of Alice Smedstad):

S.E. Zuvers obituary & misc. items

Friday, April 26, 2013

Merrillville Then and Now: West from the School

Circa early 20th century, and 2013.

Merrillville from school
Merrillville west from school building
(Click on images to enlarge)
Top image courtesy of the Merrillville/Ross Township Historical Society.

We really do not know the date of the first photo. Unless the photographer climbed a tree, the view must be from the upper part of the building that now serves as the Merrillville/Ross Township Historical Society museum — originally a school. I believe it was built in 1896, but I could be mistaken. The road in front (73rd Avenue, aka the Lincoln Highway) appears unpaved; if only I knew when it was first paved, that might help me date it.

The church is still standing, now serving as the township trustee's office. I'm told that the white frame building in the left foreground of the 2013 picture (the insurance office) is in the original picture as well — I'm guessing it's the second house in the left foreground of the original. Several other houses look similar between the two pictures. I leave it to someone else to figure it all out.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Raschka News

This social column of the Hobart News of July 15, 1920, was just crammed with news of the Raschkas and their relatives.

Also, you can get that 100-lb. bag of sugar you needed at George Sauter's store.

News about the Raschkas and their relatives
(Click on image to enlarge)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Jolly Three

From Mildred Lindborg's photo album.

A couple more photos from the same Hegewisch yard as "The Kiddies."

Mildred called this trio the "Jolly Three."

5 Jolly Three - Hegewisch 1
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of N.B.

Left to right: Mabel Larson(?), Franklin Lindborg, Ollie(?) Larson.

What a contrast in attitudes between Mabel and Franklin!

She and Franklin are "Only Cousins," according to Mildred's caption of the next photo.

5 Only Cousins

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Getting into Hobart High, 1913

From the steamer trunk.

Minnie Rossow Harms saved these questions, dated May 1913, from the high school entrance examination that would determine whether she would be admitted to Hobart High School, or any Indiana high school.

HS exam 1
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of E.H.

HS exam 2

HS exam 3

The chronology of Minnie's education isn't clear at this point. She completed the eighth grade (1911? 1912?); then she attended Gary Business College for a year, then entered Hobart High School — or maybe it was the other way around? The owner of the steamer-trunk collection believes she did attend Hobart High for a year or two, although she did not graduate. I can't find her in any of the yearbooks, but then the yearbooks of that time focused on the graduating seniors.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ed's Brush with Notoriety

In June 1920 the Chicago area was horrified by the "Case of the Raggedy Stranger": a Great War veteran and former Army lieutenant named Carl Wanderer took his pregnant wife, Ruth, out for an innocent evening at the movies; coming home, they were accosted by a raggedy stranger in the foyer of their apartment building; the stranger demanded money; both men drew handguns; shots rang out; and when it was all over, Ruth and the stranger were dead. Only Wanderer survived to tell what happened.

Within a few weeks, Wanderer confessed that he himself had set up the supposed mugging as cover for the murder of his wife, whom he wanted to be rid of. He had nothing against the stranger (who seems not to have been identified for certain) — that was just how it had to be done. And the Chicago area was even more horrified.

Among those horrified, and perplexed, was Ed Sauter, Jr., who had served with Lieutenant Wanderer in the Great War.

Edward Sauter - Carl Wanderer
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart News of July 15, 1920.

I first read of this case a few years ago in Murder City: The Bloody History of Chicago in the Twenties by Michael Lesy (2007). (An interesting book; I recommend it.) Internet research turns up a somewhat different account (e.g., here and here) drawn from Bloodletters and Badmen: A Narrative Encyclopedia of American Criminals From the Pilgrims to the Present by Jay Robert Nash (1973). I have no idea which is more accurate. But every source agrees on two things: Carl Wanderer was convicted of killing his wife and got a 25-year prison sentence for it; and he was convicted of killing the stranger and hanged for it.

Carl Wanderer
Carl W. Wanderer, from Murder City.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fitch's Green Bottle

As I may have mentioned, occupants of my house over the years were in the habit of tossing garbage out just beyond the backyard, so when I'm working out there I tend to find little treasures like broken bits of teacups, shards of glass, plastic miniature billiard balls, squeezed-out tubes of toothpaste, etc. Here's what I found yesterday:

Fitch's green bottle
(Click on images to enlarge)

On the bottom is stamped "Fitch's."

Fitch's stamp on bottom

A little internet research suggests that this bottle held some kind of hair-care product, invented by Frederick W. Fitch of Iowa, whose products were widely used for several decades in the first half of the 20th century.

I spent some time yesterday trying to get all the dirt and roots out of the bottle, not quite successfully, since the neck opening is small.


I don't know exactly what this bottle held, nor can I date it. It doesn't seem to be particularly valuable.

And that's some backyard archaeology for ya.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ainsworth Then and Now: The Harms Farmhouse

Circa 1915-1938?, and 2011.
Harms house ca 1915-1938
Harms house 2011
(Click on images to enlarge)
Top image courtesy of E.H.

This house at 8842 Ainsworth Road was built by Henry (Sr.) and Anna Harms in (I believe) 1882 to replace their log cabin. In 1915 it became the home of the newlywed Herman (Sr.) and Minnie Harms. In 1938 they sold it to Michael Carrozzo.

We do not have a date on the historical photo, but if it was taken during Herman and Minnie's occupancy, it would date to between 1915 and 1938. However, it may possibly be even older.

You will note the profusion of decorative plants in the front yard. Both Herman and Minnie loved flowers.

(Yes, 2011. "Now" is a relative term.)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Wild Mushrooms of Ainsworth: Witches' Butter

Not 100% sure, but I think this is a baby specimen of Witches' Butter.

Witches' Butter
(Click on images to enlarge)

Witches' Butter closeup

I found this out back of my house on a dead tree limb that had been lying in a stack of dead tree limbs.

According to my Audubon North American mushroom guide, Witches' Butter appears as an "irregularly lobed mass of golden jelly" on deciduous wood, and can be found year-round. I haven't got any lobes here, just dots; but an image search turns up a few similar pictures.

It is edible. (As usual, I didn't eat it.)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

October 1941 Telephone Directory

I finally finished scanning Bonnie's October 1941 directory and added it to the Directories page in the Downtown Hobart blog.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Kiddies

From Mildred Lindborg's photo album.

These two photos are together on one page. Mildred captioned them: "The Kiddies."

4 The Kiddies - 1
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of N.B.

4 The Kiddies - 2

In both photos, Norma Lindborg is on the left, with little brother Raymond next to her. (He is so cute in his white stockings and Mary Jane shoes!) In the second photo, their big sister Gladys is at right. The occasion was a visit to the home of some relatives in Hegewisch, Illinois. Raymond appears about five years old, which would set the date around 1923.

Of the two women behind the screen door in the first photo, I think the one at right is Anna Lindborg, but I'm not sure. The other, in shielding her eyes from the sun with her hand, has made herself unrecognizable to posterity.

Monday, April 15, 2013

He Has Played His Last Note

My notes, skeletal though they are, give some notion of how much dancing was done over the years to the music of Charles Wesley Spencer's violin.
A masquerade dance will be given by W.K. Deitz at Deep River on Washington's birthday, on the evening of Feb. 22d[, 1901]. Music will be furnished by Spencer and Pierce.

A public dance under the management of Ed. Maybaum will be given in Sauter's hall at Ainsworth on Saturday evening, Dec. 12[, 1903]. Music will be furnished by the Spencer orchestra. Tickets per couple, 50 cents.

A masquerade ball will be given by J. Miller in Sauter's hall at Ainsworth on Saturday evening, Feb. 6[, 1904]. Music by Spencer's orchestra. Tickets, per couple, 50 cents.

Ed Maybaum and Jud Blachly have gotten out bills for a series of dancing parties [in 1905] in Sauter's hall at Ainsworth. Prof. C.W. Spencer will furnish the music.

A public dance under the management of Bodamer and Hovel will be given this (Friday) evening [October 19, 1906] in Dietz hall at Deepriver. Music will be furnished by the Spencer orchestra. Tickets will be 50 cents per couple.

A public dance will be given in the public hall at Ainsworth on Saturday evening, June 15[, 1907]. Tickets will be 50 cents and the Spencer orchestra will furnish the music.

A public dance will be given in the hall at Ainsworth on Friday evening, Oct. 4[, 1907]. Music by the Spencer orchestra. All are cordially invited.

A masquerade ball will be given at Ainsworth on Saturday evening of next week, Jan. 8[, 1909]. Music will be furnished by the Spencer orchestra. Tickets will be 75 cents per couple. Prizes will be given to the gentleman and lady wearing the most handsome costumes; also to the gentleman and lady wearing the most comical costumes.

A Harvest Home dance will be given by the married people in the vicinity of Deepriver in the hall at that place on Saturday evening of this week [December 3, 1910] and while it is given by the married people all young people will be welcome. The music will be furnished by the Spencer orchestra from this place. The tickets will be 50 cents per couple.

A masquerade dance will be given this week Saturday evening [January 7, 1911] in the hall at Ainsworth and a cordial invitation is extended. Prizes will be awarded for the best and most comic characters represented by both sexes. The Spencer orchestra will furnish the music.

There will be a masquerade ball at Ainsworth hall on Saturday evening, Feb. 17th[, 1912]. Spencer will furnish the music and tickets will be 75¢ per couple. Prizes will be given those wearing the handsomest and most comical costumes.
Charles is also interesting to us (well, to me) as the brother of Orsemus Spencer, who married Lucy Hanks, sister of Harriet.

C.W. Spencer obituary
(Click on image to enlarge)

The News stated that he was to be buried in Hobart Cemetery, but I cannot find him in the Hobart Township cemetery listing compiled by the Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society.

♦ "C.W. Spencer, Hobart Pioneer, Passes Away." Hobart News 1 July 1920.
♦ "General News Items." Hobart Gazette 1 Feb. 1901, 4 Dec. 1903; 29 Jan. 1904; 7 Apr. 1905; 19 Oct. 1906; 7 June 1907; 4 Oct. 1907.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 31 Dec. 1909; 2 Dec. 1910; 6 Jan. 1911; 16 Feb. 1912.
♦ "Obituary." Hobart Gazette 9 July 1920.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Two Chester Sisters at the Centennial

Two more photos from Chester-Raschka descendant Bruce McLain!

The first shows (l to r) Lovisa (Chester) Nelson, Carrie (Chester) Raschka and Lilly Davis in costume for the 1947 Hobart Centennial celebration.

Chester sisters at Centennial

Don't you wonder how much of their clothing is really antique? I know that many people sewed "old-fashioned" costumes for the occasion, but I can image Lovisa and Carrie's mother wearing those black mitts on Lovisa's hands.

I do not know who Lilly Davis was. (Anyone who does is invited to leave a comment.)

Next, we have a summery Christmas greeting card, showing Mabel Brown and her husband, the Rev. Charles A. Brown, pastor of the Methodist church.

Rev. and Mrs. C.A. Brown
(Click on image to enlarge)

The card is undated. The 1920 Census shows the Browns in Lowell; the 1930 Census has them in Hobart (he 64 years old, she 45); and the 1940 Census has them in Chesterton, with the Reverend "retired." Beyond that, I don't know; and, of course, the card could have been sent from anywhere.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

1940-41 Hobart City Directory

Bonnie has kindly allowed me to borrow two more directories from her private collection to scan for the Downtown Hobart blog. I have just added the first, a 1940-41 directory (for Hobart only), to the Directories page. The other will follow as soon as I can get it scanned and uploaded.

Friday, April 12, 2013

No Place Like Home

From Mildred Lindborg's photo album.

3 No Place Like Home
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of N.B.

Another view of the Lindborg house in Ainsworth, also undated. Mildred captioned this one, "No place like home."

The poor focus makes it difficult to identify the children positively, but I think we are looking at (from left to right) Anna, Raymond, Gladys, Norma and Gust. If that's Raymond and he is about three or four years old in this photo, then it would date to around 1921 or 1922.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Portable Gramophone

Photos taken inside the Hobart Historical Society museum: portable hand-cranked record player.

Handcranked phonograph crank
(Click on images to enlarge)


Handcranked phonograph in better focus

Speeds from slow to fast. It looks as if the user could make gradual adjustments along the speed continuum.

Speed adjustor

We seem to be missing the stylus.

Missing stylus

I think this lettering is beautiful.

The Decca The Portable Gramophone

No date on this, but I'm guessing the 1920s.

Some photos of various models of Decca portables, restored, can be found here.

Semi-artsy pic of record.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oh, Nothing; Just Another Airplane

Airplanes are old hat
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart News of June 24, 1920.

If you want people to look at your airplane these days (1920), you have to involve it in a death-defying stunt.

Airplane stunt at racetrack
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette of July 9, 1920.

Monday, April 8, 2013

It's Louise Because I Say So

Or, When an Amateur Historian Abandons All Standards

These photographs were found in the steamer trunk next to the wedding announcement we just looked at. They were taken by a photographer in St. Louis. Therefore, I have concluded that the subject is Louise Nolte Kolb.

If I have found the right birth record, Louise was born December 18, 1902. So if she's in her early teens in this first one, that would place it in the vicinity of 1915.

(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of E.H.

In this second one, she's several years older, at least. Her hair looks bobbed. I'm guessing that this photo dates to circa 1925.


A tiny bit of research turned up this listing of St. Louis photographers, which places Frank A. Kientzle at 1534 S. Broadway in this general time frame, as a successor, I gather, to Ludwig F. Hammer, Sr. and Jr.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Nolte Wedding

Since the newspaper gave so little information about "Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Nolte and daughter," I would never have been able to find them in the census records, had not this wedding announcement been saved in the steamer trunk.

Nolte wedding announcement
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of E.H.

We find the little family — William, Ada and Louise Nolte — in the 1910 Census and the 1920 Census, living in St. Louis. By the 1930 Census, Ada is widowed (as we might have guessed from the wording of the wedding announcement) and living with her daughter and son-in-law, still in St. Louis. I can't find Ada in the 1940 Census, which shows Harry and Louise (childless), living without her.

This address is written on the back of the announcement:

Nolte wedding announcement back

I'm guessing the announcement was sent to Herman and Minnie Harms. As you may remember, the Ainsworth branch of the Nolte family and the Harmses were semi-related and had been neighbors for several decades; and the St. Louis Noltes, visiting their nephews in July 1920, likely spent some time visiting their lively and charming shirttail relatives as well, thus either beginning a friendship, or strengthening an existing one.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Artsy Drawer Pull

It's been a while since I treated you all to a completely irrelevant artsy photo. So here's a drawer pull on my antique chest of drawers, in the morning sun.

Drawer Pull in Morning Sun
(Click on image to enlarge)

Friday, April 5, 2013

SS. Peter and Paul Church: Early History

A reader has sent in a link to a sketch of the early days of SS. Peter and Paul Church in Merrillville, contained in The Diocese of Fort Wayne by the Rt. Rev. H.J. Alerding (Fort Wayne: The Archer Printing Co., 1907). The reader who supplied this link is related by marriage to the Rev. Frederick Koenig, appointed pastor in 1905.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Stop the Press!

An amazing development — the Nolte brothers have company!

… it's only relatives, who probably had to invite themselves, but still …

Mr & Mrs Wm Nolte & daughter
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette of July 2, 1920.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Photos taken inside the Hobart Historical Society museum.

Whetstone, or grindstone, or honing stone, whatever you call it.

(Click on images to enlarge)

We used to call it fun, on my aunt and uncle's farm in southern Missouri. They had one of these set up somewhat like a stationary bicycle, with a seat and two pedals, and there you sat, pedaling away, sharpening things — well, we didn't; we kids thought that contraption was just for our amusement. We had to be informed that it had a practical purpose.

That one had a funnel suspended over the wheel to drip water. This one has just a can, with a small hole punched in the bottom.

Can over whetstone

I think you just stand to one side of this thing, and push the pedal with one foot.