Monday, December 16, 2013

Oil Truck v. Lincoln Highway Mud

We've already heard about the bad condition of the Lincoln Highway east of Ainsworth. In January 1921 came news that the Federal Paving Company intended to bring its equipment from Chillicothe, Ohio, to commence work as soon as weather permitted, with hopes of completing the paving across Lake County by the middle of the summer.

But the summer of 1921 was a long way away for people who had to get somewhere in the winter of 1921.

Oil Truck v. Lincoln Hwy
(Click on image to enlarge)

Late in February the Gazette brought the "cheering news" that paving work might start in the near future: "Workmen are busy repairing machinery at Ainsworth and Merrillville and getting things in shape for an early start, 'tis said. It is stated that construction work will proceed both ways out of Ainsworth and Merrillville."

I expect that any machinery repair in Ainsworth was going on at Gust Lindborg's blacksmith shop.

♦    ♦    ♦

When I read that story above, about the oil truck, I naturally wondered where the "Ols corner" was, and proceeded to waste about an hour of my life trying to figure it out. My best guess is that it was the intersection of present-day Clay Street and E. 73rd Avenue, because I think that Charles Ols then owned the parcel of land shown on the 1908 Plat Map as belonging to Orrin Pierce:

Ols farm ca. 1921?
(Click on image to enlarge)

I've previously noted that in 1908 Charles Ols bought a farm from Reuben Pierce, and while I can't find a plat map showing that parcel in Charles Ols' hands (the 1926 Plat Book attributes it to A.D. Paine), I still think Charles owned it for some time after 1908 because (1) Orrin Pierce was Reuben's son, and (2) some newspaper reports about Charles' land purchases suggest that location: February 1908, Charles bought a farm from "Reuben Pierce, who live[d] west of Ainsworth," but rented it out while he continued living on another farm that he was renting; in November 1908, Charles advertised for rent his farm "one mile west of Ainsworth"; October 1916, Charles, having previously "bought a part of the Orrin Pierce farm," now "purchased from Chas. Chester 23 acres, a part of the original Pierce farm, which join[ed] his farm on the north across the Grand Trunk railroad."

So that's my theory.

♦ "Additional Local News." Hobart Gazette 27 Oct. 1916; 28 Jan. 1921.
♦ "Cheering News." Hobart Gazette 25 Feb. 1921.
♦ "General News Items." Hobart Gazette 14 Feb. 1908.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 13 Nov. 1908.
♦ "The Lincoln Highway Through Lake Co. to Be Finished This Year." Hobart News 20 Jan. 1921.

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