Saturday, April 26, 2014

Below the Dam

After that last unidentifiable and less-than-inspiring shot of Lake George's scenic beauty, you were just dying for another, weren't you? Luckily for you, I happen to have one!

4-26-2014 Below the Dam
(Click on images to enlarge)

"Below the Dam, Hobart, Ind.," it says. I think I see a smokestack peeking out at the right edge of the photo, but I'm not sure.

Well, if we can't identify the exact spot, can we identify the two fishermen?

4-26-2014 Below the Dam detail

… Nope.

But we can identify the photographer!

4-26-2014 Below the Dam verso

He was Charles R. Childs, a Chicago photographer who evidently did local pictures as well, so I have added him to my Notes on Local Photographers.

Postmark 1912.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ainsworth Then and Now: Gruel Cow Barn/River Pointe Country Club

1920s(?) and 2014.

4-21-2014 Gruel Barn - JohnGruelEnvelope6
4-21-2014 Former site of Gruel barn
(Click on images to enlarge)
Top image courtesy of Diane Barnes.

It was the pride of Superior Farm — the barn that housed the cows that gave the milk that made the Gruel dairy famous.

We have a couple of pictures to show where it stood, including the bird's-eye shot that ran with a Chicago Daily Tribune, probably in 1938. But so few points of reference from that photo are still there today — really, the north-south road running past the barn is the main one remaining — that I can only give you a general idea of where it was: about where the picnic shelter is now, and south of it as well, since the barn was much bigger than that shelter.

As to the date of the historical image above, there's not much to go on, except that it was with a group of photos, two of which appear (from the cars in them) to date probably to the 1920s.

Here is another view, from the same collection and so, I'm guessing, from the same time period.

4-21-2014 Gruel Barn view 2 - JohnGruelEnvelope7
Image courtesy of Diane Barnes.

♦    ♦    ♦

My reading of the microfilm newspaper of 1921 has got to the point where the barn is being planned, so I'm expecting it to go up in 1921 or maybe 1922.

The Hobart Historical Society has a pamphlet that was printed up for the Gruel farm, describing the methods its dairy operations used to ensure the quality of their milk. The pamphlet is not dated, but from its appearance I would place it in the 1920s, or possibly the 1930s. It includes an exterior shot of the barn as well as some interior shots, at least one of which shows the interior of the barn.

4-21-2014 Gruel pamphlet1
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society.

4-21-2014 Gruel pamphlet2

4-21-2014 Gruel pamphlet3

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

(Click on image to enlarge)

Was it only five days ago we were covered in snow?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy April 15th!

4-15-2014 April snow
(Click on image to enlarge)

Mother Nature thinks we didn't get enough snow during the winter. She sent an April snowstorm to smash my daffodils.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hobart Is No Place to Raise a Family!

I wonder what Hugo Zobjeck found so objectionable about Hobart, after all these years? — his family had lived there for more than a decade. Too many disorderly drunks, maybe? Hugo had plenty of family to raise; having lost his wife in 1919, he was now responsible for seven children ranging in age from 15 to about three, though I expect he had help from his 20-year-old married daughter, Carrie, living in his household with her own little family.

4-13-2014 Zobjeck
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart News 14 Apr. 1921.

I haven't found the Tomshak farm on a plat map, but I haven't tried very hard. The Gazette described it as "about eight miles east and two miles south of Hobart, on the North Hobart-Valparaiso road" — that road being, I believe, Cleveland Avenue/W 700 N. Anyway, I'm not sure if he actually moved there, or if so for how long. The 1930 census seems to have overlooked the Zobjecks, but by 1935 they were again in Hobart.

Also, our friend Ross Graham is selling a bunch of stuff at the old Rohwedder livery barn in Hobart. (The other "undersigned" was probably John S. Burris of Hobart. I don't know where John got all that livestock and farming equipment; the 1920 census shows him as a steel worker.)

1910 Census.
1920 Census.
1940 Census.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 14 Apr. 1921.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 15 Apr. 1921.
♦ "Public Sale." Hobart Gazette 15 Apr. 1921.
♦ "Public Sale." Hobart News 14 Apr. 1921.

Friday, April 11, 2014


A reader suggested that I join the rest of the human race on Twitter. So I signed up for Twitter as @Ainsworth_Ind and perhaps the future will reveal to me what the heck that means. If I ever get back to regular posting, that is. I'm only posting this to see what happens, since I think I signed up for a thing that is supposed to tweet automatically from my blog.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ainsworth Then and Now: The Guest House

Back when I took pictures of the house in the woods, I never expected to have a picture of it for a then-and-now post!

1947 and 2014

4-9-2014 Guest house photo
4-9-2014 Guest house now
(Click on images to enlarge)
Top image courtesy of Chester Wasy.

Mr. Wasy writes:
[T]he front porch faced the south and in the winter you could see the cabin from Ainsworth Road, of course that was when cattle grazed in the woods and kept the area clear.

During the winter my friend Cleston Brenan and I used to sled down the valley slopes then go back to the cabin and light a fire in the fire place to dry out. O what a good old time!!!
Another neighbor remembers sledding back there with friends as well, but being uninvited, they had to keep a lookout so "old man Wasy" wouldn't catch them — the senior Chester Wasy, that is.

The 1947 photo was taken for a report prepared on the property assessing its value.

4-9-2014 1947 Report on Atlasta Farms
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of Chester Wasy.

4-9-2014 Guest house information

I am sorry to have to tell those of you who think this cabin belonged to Al Capone … well, it's a good story, but it's not true.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

1969 Darley Champion Diesel Pumper, Take Two

4-5-2014 1969 Ford 9-19-1983
(Click on image to enlarge)

Here we have probably the very same truck featured in the 1971 advertisement.

The photo was taken on September 19, 1983, by Charles "Chuck" Madderom, from whom I purchased the slide. His handwritten notes on the original read:
1969 DARLEY — FORD 1000/1000
What little I can see of the building in the background looks like the Ainsworth-Deep River Fire Department building.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"A Small Ugly Looking Still"

The last I heard, Albert and Frieda Witt had come back to farm the Kegebein land north of Ainsworth. Now it's the spring of 1921 and the outbreak of pertussis at the Ainsworth school has infected all of their children — a little girl of eight and three boys ranging from six to three years old.

Happier news out of Crown Point, where 18-year-old Elmer Bullock has been demonstrating his musical abilities.

Beyond that, the news was disorderly drunks and a raid on a still.

4-2-14 Witt-Bullock, News, 4-14-1921
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From the Hobart News 14 Apr. 1921.

(I believe Floyd Bayor was a Ross Township native, son of Frank and Flora Bayor. In 1920, he was a 41-year-old bachelor living in Hobart with his parents, plastering houses for a living. As for Walter Hensel, he is a mystery to me.)

The Gazette's description of the seized still was a little more informative.

4-2-14 Still, Gaz, 4-15-1921
From the Hobart Gazette 15 Apr. 1921.

I believe that the previous still raid mentioned was in 1919.

Neither paper ever gives "Mr. Osborn" a first name, so I'm not going to try, either.

… And in other places, other Prohibition-flouters.

4-2-14 Liquor, Gaz, 4-22-1921
From the Hobart Gazette 22 Apr. 1921.

If "sand-hills" = "sand dunes," that seemed to be a popular location for illicit stills.

4-2-14 Liquor, Gaz, 5-27-1921
From the Hobart Gazette 27 May 1921.

I like the way they reassembled the still and put it on display so the public could come and get still-making tips.

1920 Census.
♦ "Capture Another Still in Hobart." Hobart Gazette 15 Apr. 1921.
♦ "Local and Personal." Hobart News 14 Apr. 1921.
♦ "Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 15 Apr. 1921; 22 Apr. 1921.
♦ "Was Making Good Whisky." Hobart Gazette 27 May 1921.