Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Clarence and Hazel, Signing on the Line

Among several interesting donations made recently to the Merrillville/Ross Township Historical Society are two large, ornately bound books containing handwritten records of the Lake County government.

One is titled, "Record of Recognizance Bonds," and memorializes some of the law-breaking that went on in Lake County from 1877 through 1892. I have glanced through it and was delighted to find various interesting things like adultery, and assault and battery; also a mystifying crime described as "maintaining screens on Sunday" — I don't know what that means, but it was occasionally practiced in the early 1890s by familiar residents of Hobart. I suspect that maintaining screens had something to do with saloonkeeping, but I don't have time to figure that out.

More pertinent to today's post is the other book, titled, "Applications for Marriage License," covering just a single month: January 1922. And from that book, I present to you the marriage license applications of Clarence Schavey (one of the children of Henry Schavey, Sr., and thus a brother of Mable Schavey Breyfogle) and Hazel Comstock (about whom I know nothing).

2014-9-30. C. Schavey marriage license application
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of the Merrillville/Ross Township Historical Society.

2014-9-30. H. Comstock marriage license application

Monday, September 29, 2014

Car #19

A local railroad historian has shared with me some photographs he took of Gary Railways Car #19 at the Illinois Railway Museum:

This is one of the cars that operated on the Gary-Hobart line. Some of its parts of missing, but it still has its original paint.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What the Wheat Beard Did

I mentioned that I had a few photos of Noland White; here is one of them, and you can judge for yourself whether he looks like any of the Nickel Plate section workers.

2014-9-28. lh094 a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of E. Harms.

Notes on the back:

2014-9-28. lh094 b

No date on the photo, but as we know, Noland died in 1945.

Poor horse! I had no idea that a wheat beard (aka brush, or awn) could be so dangerous.

Bill Prochno, who owned the horses, was Noland's father-in-law.

How the heck some photographer in Iowa got involved with this, I have no idea. I can find very little information on Geppert Studios.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Baby, Burn

Monday, July 11, 1921, was a day of joy the Kegebein farm, as Albert and Frieda Witt welcomed a baby boy into the world — their fifth child.

Tuesday was a day of disaster.

2014-9-26. Barn fires
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart Gazette 15 July 1921.

Going into Hobart, Albert had actually seen the town's fire engine rush by him, never suspecting it was headed towards his own place. Perhaps someone telephoned Jim Chester, who lived on Water Street, and told him go find Albert; the Herman Neef residence, where Jim caught up with Albert, was on Lake Street.

It must have been a shock to the unnamed sister (in-law) staying with Frieda when she looked outside and saw the roof of the 36' x 66' barn all on fire, and she in charge of a sick woman and five children. The Bullock home to which Frieda was carried was probably the Claude and Mary Bullock farm on the bank of the Deep River.

With no fire hydrants in the area, the Hobart fire department had to rely on its "chemical engine." When its chemicals were exhausted, the house and new granary had been saved, but the wreckage of the barn and other buildings was still smoldering. The last of the fire was put out with a hose "attached to the feed pipe running from the creek [Deep River] to Ainsworth used in mixing concrete."

Frieda recovered, and so did the baby, whom they named — not Blaise, Incendio, or even Phoenix, but — Clyde.

(You will notice just above the newspaper report of the Kegebein fire, another barn fire in Hobart.)

♦    ♦    ♦

In local sporting events we have Hobart's Everett Newman triumphing at the Roby speedway, and a mercenary baseball team from Valpo.

2014-9-26. Everett Newman racing
(Click on image to enlarge)
From the Hobart News 14 July 1921.

Additional Sources:
♦ "$5,000 Fire at the Kegebein Farm, Tuesday Afternoon." Hobart News 14 July 1921.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
♦ "Births." Hobart Gazette 15 July 1921.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The McAuliffe Farmhouse, Take 2

2014-9-25. img826
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Jocelyn Hahn Johnson.

Same farmhouse, different day. That is, it looks like a different day to me, but since neither photo is dated, who really knows? This one comes to us printed on an unused postcard, with a divided back (so it was printed after March 1907) but no stamp box or photographer's name that could help us date it further. What little I can see of the fashions suggests roughly the first decade of the 20th century.

And again, no one is identified.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ice-Cream Plumbing

Our plumbing friends, Lee & Rhodes, got to spend some of their summer days inside Sherman Henderson's ice-cream factory.

2014-9-24. Plumbing the ice cream factory
(Click on image to enlarge)
"Local Drifts." Hobart Gazette 8 July 1921.

The "Mrs. Wm. Carey" who mothered young picnickers at the campground was born Augusta Stolp; the widow of Henry Rossow, she became the second wife of William H. Carey in 1903, and was widowed again in 1916.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

You Can Have a Good Time in Hobart, Ind.

2014-9-23. 1913-03-03-a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of E.H.

… especially if you're with the right person. For Herman Harms, the right person would be Minnie Rossow.

2014-9-23. 1913-03-03-b

The postmark is March 3, 1913.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Heat, Dust, Fire, Fists, and Speed

The Hobart Speedway's event of July 3, 1921, organized by the Gary Auto Racing Association, was described as a "free for all" — meaning that any driver, from anywhere, could participate who paid the $20 entry fee.

Among the entrants was a 27-year-old Hammond resident, Emil Huff, who owned an auto repair shop; a racer of at least four years' experience, he seemed to be something of a local celebrity. Riding beside him in a remodeled Essex roadster (maybe something like these) would be Earl Nussear, his mechanic, who, the previous year, had been "pit man" to the famous Gaston Chevrolet.

A Chicago driver, Eston "Bill" Winston, would be driving a Ford. Other out-of-towners came from East Chicago, Indiana Harbor, Gary, and Whiting, including Bill Harris, driving the "Red Devil," and Bill Vogt, piloting the "White Streak," also known as the "Million Dollar Ford."

"The track has been chemically treated to eliminate dust," the Gazette promised. But as the racers and the spectators — about 2,000 of them — gathered on Sunday, July 3, the temperature reached 98 degrees and the sun beat down pitilessly. The dirt track and the vegetation around it baked to dryness, with predictable results.

The Gary Evening Post gave the most complete account of that exciting and miserable day:

2014-9-22. Race at Hobart Speedway 7-3-1921
(Click on image to enlarge)

♦    ♦    ♦

By sheer luck I have acquired a series of eight photographs that I believe show the July 3, 1921 race (since the details in the handwritten captions match up to that unusual race). They were taken by Willis J. Imes, an 18-year-old letter carrier from Hammond.*

2014-9-22. Race 1
(Click on images to enlarge)

2014-9-22. Race 2

2014-9-22. Race 3

2014-9-22. Race 4


*I have a whole album of his photographs, dating generally to the 1920s, most of them with captions, but since only the eight above relate to Hobart and none to Ainsworth, I don't know if I can ever come up with an excuse for including them in the blog.

1920 Census.
1930 Census.
♦ "3 Spills, One In Hospital, Fire, Fist Fight, At Hobart Speedway." Gary Evening Post 5 July 1921.
♦ "Auto Races Here July 3rd." Hobart Gazette 1 July 1921.
♦ "Bad Spill in Hobart Auto Races." Lake County Times (Hammond, Ind.) 5 July 1921.
♦ "Hobart Was a Very Quiet and a Very Warm Place Over the 4th." Hobart News 7 July 1921.
♦ "Lake County Racers Tune Up Machines for Hobart." Gary Evening Post 1 July 1921.
♦ "Race Fans Receive Several Thrills at Speedway, Sunday." Hobart News 7 July 1921.
Smith's Directory of Hammond, Ind. and West Hammond, Ill. for 1921-1922. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
♦ "Two Hurt at Auto Races." Hobart Gazette 8 July 1921.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The McAuliffe Farmhouse

Since we've been talking about the Hobart Speedway, which sat on the McAuliffe farm, it's a good time to begin showing you selections from another collection of photos and other materials recently donated to the Hobart Historical Society by Jocelyn Hahn Johnson. These materials came to her through her father, Edward Hahn.

Timothy Sr. and Catherine (Quinlan) McAuliffe were Irish immigrants. They moved to the Cleveland Avenue farm around 1871. They had three children: Mary, Jerry, and Timothy Jr. The younger McAuliffes would spend the rest of their lives together on that farm. None of them ever married.

I will let Jocelyn explain the relationship of the McAuliffes with the Hahns, in her own words:
Sometimes in the early 1900s Mary [McAuliffe] took in homeless boys in order to help with farm chores, as well as perhaps give extra income. Among those boys were my father Edward Hahn and his 2 older brothers, Arthur Jr., and Hubert. The 2 older boys arrived first, probably in 1911 and Edward in 1912.

(Arthur Hahn Sr., the boys' father, was born in Sydney, Australia — their mother, Lilian, perhaps born in England, later emigrated to Australia. Arthur Sr. was a singer and had been entertaining in Vaudeville in Australia as well as New Zealand. Little is known about Lilian but she may have been an entertainer as well. In 1902 they left that area, along with their 2 boys born in Australia and New Zealand. Eventually they ended up in Chicago where Lilian died in 1906, having given birth to my father sometime earlier there although his birth registration has never been found. After Lilian died, Arthur continued traveling on the Vaudeville circuit; the boys went to orphanages and/or lived with friends of their father's. In 1911 the 2 older boys arrived in Hobart at the McAuliffe farm, but it is unknown to me how Arthur Sr. found this place. Edward later arrived to join his brothers.)

As the boys grew into their teens, Arthur and Hubert left the McAuliffe's in order to find jobs. Occasionally they came back for awhile, but in general did not stay. Arthur Jr. became a stonemason and eventually built at least 3 homes in Hobart which remain standing today; he and his family stayed in the Lake County region all his life, as far as I know. Hubert soon moved to the west coast where he remained until he died.

Edward, however, spent his teen years on the farm and attended Hobart High School. In 1931 when he married Mildred Nelson from Lake Station/East Gary. During these years he and Mary developed a close bond which lasted through the rest of her life (she died in 1945). Edward paid the taxes on the land when she couldn't, helped her with maintenance, and supported her in many other ways. He became the heir to the McAuliffe property since Mary, Tim (junior) and Jerry had no children.

To begin the McAuliffe/Hahn collection, here is the McAuliffe farmhouse, in an undated photo.

2014-9-20. img827
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Jocelyn Hahn Johnson.

No one in the photo is identified, but I like to tell myself that the man at left is Timothy McAuliffe, Sr., and the woman standing by the fence with her arms crossed is his wife, Catherine. (We have a photo of Catherine, but this photo is too blurry to make a positive ID.) Perhaps the younger woman at right is their only daughter, Mary.

If that man is Timothy, then the photo must date to before February 23, 1911; if that woman is Catherine, then it must date to before October 26, 1899.

Here is Catherine's obituary, from the Hobart Gazette of Nov. 4, 1899:

2014-9-20. Catherine McAuliffe obituary
(Click on image to enlarge)

And here is Timothy Sr.'s, from the Hobart Gazette of March 3, 1911:

2014-9-20. Timothy McAuliffe Sr. obituary
(Click on image to enlarge)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tobacco Hornworms of Ainsworth

There was a smooth ground cherry plant out by my garden with a magnificent crop of fruit … until this guy came along:

Tobacco hornworm on ground cherry plant
(Click on image to enlarge)

Better known as the destroyer of tomatoes (along with the tomato hornworm), apparently tobacco hornworms like destroying ground cherries too. This one is hiding its ugly little face behind the ground cherry it was devouring.

It will grow up to be a Sphinx moth — if I understand correctly, one of those moths that hover like hummingbirds to drink nectar from flowers. I like those moths.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Skeleton Ford Polo

The Hobart Speedway's 1921 season — its second — was busy. Though built for motorcycles, the track was now hosting auto races as well (not to mention baseball games).

On Sunday, May 29, some 2,500 people turned out to watch five races (three motorcycle, two auto). A June 12 event featured not only races but a dangerous stunt — "picking a rider from a racing auto by an airplane," which involved said rider grabbing a rope ladder that dangled from the airplane, climbing up it and being wafted off to Gary, fortunately without injury. Another novelty that day was a polo game with "skeleton Fords" taking the place of horses, where injuries to the players and the loss of some wheels just added to the excitement. The whole event was handled by a professional promoter, who took 85% of the gate receipts; the Hobart Motorcycle Club retained 15%, plus all the concession stand earnings. Heavy advance advertising brought some 5,000 to 10,000 people to block traffic on Cleveland Avenue, swarm over the McAuliffe farm, devour all the pop and sandwiches the concession stand could supply, and choke on the clouds of dust from the dirt track.

The Motorcycle Club netted around $1,000, and swore to do something about that dust at the next big event.

2014-9-18. Speedway ad
(Click on image to enlarge)

♦ Advertisement. Gary Evening Post 1 July 1921.
♦ "Big Attendance at Hobart Speedway Races Sunday." Hobart News 16 June 1921.
♦ "Races Draw Big Crowd At Speedway, Sunday." Hobart News 2 June 1921.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Country Wedding Portrait

After the less-than-dignified photo in that previous post, I thought I had better show you the formal wedding portrait of Robert and Bertha (Berndt*) Rossow, lest you think he went through the ceremony in his gingham workshirt, and she in her calico apron.

2014-9-16. img036
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Tom Rainford.

It's interesting that the photographer was A.O. Merrill of Hobart. Just recently, he had sold his photograph business to August Haase — the sale being reported in the Hobart Gazette of November 28, 1902, and the wedding took place November 29; so this was probably among the last photographs he ever took in his Hobart studio.

*Or Burchman, according to the marriage records I'm finding on Ancestry.com, and I do not know which is correct.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hobart Then and Now: The Mill Business

Circa 1947, and 2014:
Mill site ca 1947
Mill Site 2014
(Click on images to enlarge)
Top image courtesy of E.H.

We've already seen a then-and-now of the old mill's picturesque side. This one's for the business side.

I wish I knew the actual source of the top photo, so I could credit it properly; but that photo comes down to us as a page cut out from some unknown publication and placed in a photo album, the owner of which was kind enough to let me scan it.

Said owner once worked in the mill, and on the night of February 15, 1953, stood in the driveway leading into the mill complex (where the red "X" is) and watched it burn. He told me that driveway was approximately where those blue panels are in the windows of the bank building.

It's his identification of the various buildings and their functions that I've previously linked to the Downtown Hobart blog.

Here is my extremely crude attempt to update the 1922 Sanborn map to show the location of the Lake County Co-Op feed store in the circa-1947 picture, as well as the driveway that wound through the complex.

Mill site 1922

Here is the site today, viewed from the west. The "X" marks roughly where the mill itself was. (Very roughly.) Water actually flowed under part of the mill, I'm told.

Mill site 2014 from back

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Country Wedding Festivities

2014-9-13. img033
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Tom Rainford.

This photograph was taken on Robert Rossow's wedding day. What we know about that day comes from the "Local Drifts" column of the Hobart Gazette of Dec. 5, 1902:
Last Saturday, Nov. 29th, Miss Bertha Berndt was united in marriage to Robert Rossow, Rev. E. Schuelke officiating. The ceremony was performed at four o'clock at the home of Theodore Rossow, brother of the groom. In the evening the groom gave a free dance at the K. of P. hall which was largely attended by the numerous friends of the happy couple.
By four o'clock on November 29th, the sun would have been far down in the sky, so the pictured festivities must have preceded the wedding ceremony. I image the women were inside the house, making ready, and the men went outdoors to goof around. Only one person in this photo is identified: William Rossow (another brother of Robert), who stands at left against the wall, wearing a white shirt and a big mustache.

As for the location of Theodore Rossow's farm, I can't confirm it, since I can't find Theodore in the 1900 census. He did eventually own a farm in Union Township, Porter County, but that ownership is not reflected in the 1906 plat map. Here it is on the 1921 plat map:

2014-9-13. Rossow 1921
(Click on image to enlarge)
From http://www.inportercounty.org/Data/Maps/UnionTownshipMaps.html.

The 1910 Census suggests that Theodore and his wife, Annie, already owned at least a part of that land (based on the enumerator's margin note placing them near the "North Township Line Road," and the other residents recorded on the same page). Oddly enough, the Hobart News, in May 1921, described their residence as "southwest" of Hobart, but that have been a misprint for "southeast" ("Local and Personal," 5 May 1921).

Robert and Bertha Rossow are even more elusive. The 1930 Census records them farming rented land in northern Ross Township, west of Ainsworth. In April 1921 the Hobart News placed them somewhere southeast of Hobart ("Local and Personal," 7 Apr. 1921). I cannot find them in any other census, or on any plat map.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Monarchs of Ainsworth

Last spring, on a whim, I bought a package of Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) seeds. I thought they'd be pretty, and they are …

(Click on images to enlarge)

… but it turns out they are also a magnet for Monarch butterflies.

Monarch 0

Monarch 1

Monarch 2

Monarch 3

Monarch 4

Monarch 5

The hummingbirds like them too, but the hummingbirds don't want their picture taken.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Two Bloody Days

Twice in two days — the last days of June 1921 — Dr. Jacob Ader and Dr. Dwight Mackey were called on to deal with the carnage of railroad accidents.

2014-9-10. Accident at Ainsworth crossing
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 1 July 1921.

The following week's Gazette reported that Louis Hershall had died the afternoon of the same day. His remains were shipped back to New York.

Another story on the page above concerned the farmer-owned milk-marketing company, which was "in a bad way financially"; but the story gave no clue as to the reason — whether poor management, or the effects of the depression the country had been going through since early 1920, or some other cause.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Saloon Reprieve

The Post-Tribune is reporting that nobody wants to pay the $8,000 it would take to knock down the Sauter building. Sounds as if it will be standing until next summer, anyway.

Random Artsy Hobart Pics

I had to take my camera downtown yesterday evening to get mill location pictures. One of the sites being blocked, I had to kill some time taking artsy pictures. Here you go:

Ducks 1
(Click on images to enlarge)

Ducks 2

Main and Front


Yes, I ended up at Strack & Van Til because the site I needed to photograph never did get unblocked before dark. So I'm going to have to go downtown again with my camera in the near future …

Monday, September 8, 2014

Helen Hildebrand

2014-9-8. 14a
(Click on images to enlarge)
Images courtesy of E.H.

Since this photo comes from the steamer trunk, this lovely young lady was probably a friend (or possibly a relative) of Minnie Rossow Harms — but I can't identify her, beyond the name written on the back of the postcard.

2014-9-8. 14b

To be dressed like that for her confirmation or eighth-grade graduation portrait, Helen was probably born around 1900, give or take a few years. The 1920 Census shows a Helen Hildebrand, born in 1898, living in LaPorte, Indiana; and another, born 1900, living on the north side of Chicago. Either, or neither, could be our girl. I guess Helen will have to remain a mystery.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Lincoln Highway Progress Report

It's late June 1921 and the Lincoln Highway has been paved from the town of Deep River west to the "Smith corner" — which I previously identified as the junction of present-day E. 73rd Ave. and Ainsworth Rd./Greene St. The "Boyd corner" would probably be the Mississippi Street intersection.

2014-9-6. Lincoln Hwy news
(Click on images to enlarge)
"Local Drifts," Hobart Gazette 24 June 1921.

Among the social items on that page we find a party at the home of Mrs. John Fleck, whom we first knew as Daisy Raschka. As for the Deppe farm … well, I thought perhaps I should mention it, if only because up until now I've ignored the Deppe family and dropped the name of the "Frank Deppe farm" only in order to say that I didn't know where it was. I still don't. But here's the farm shown in the 1926 Plat Book as belonging to Catherine Deppe:

2014-9-6. Deppe 1926

OK, now let's get back to the Lincoln Highway progress report:

2014-9-6. Lincoln Hwy news
Hobart News 30 June 1921.

(Also, the Gem Theater has changed hands.)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Merrillville Then and Now: Old Mill Building

Now comes the sad news that the "old mill" building at 73rd and Madison will probably have to be demolished.

Last summer I took a photo of it for a then-and-now that I never got around to posting, so here you go:

Old Mill Building, undated
Old Mill Building 2013
(Click on image to enlarge)
Top image courtesy of the Merrillville/Ross Township Historical Society.

The first photo is undated and shows the building as some point during its long use as a restaurant. You can view the original at the Merrillville/Ross Township Historical Society museum.

The second dates to August 2013. The building was standing empty then, but still had the signage from its days as the Old Mill Restaurant.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Grand Trunk Western Rules: Maintenance of Way, Signal Depts. (1916)

So, what did a section crew do, anyway? We can get some idea from this booklet printed in 1916 by the Grand Trunk Railway company for the use of its employees in the Maintenance of Way Department.

Grand Trunk Railway System: Rules of the Maintenance of Way Department; Signal Department Rules (Montreal,...

The section foreman took his orders from the Supervisor of Track, who was "responsible for the safe condition and proper maintenance of track, roadbed, right-of-way, station grounds and driveways," among other things.

The section foreman's specific duties start on page 28 of the booklet (p. 16 of this PDF). They included preventing and controlling fires along the track; and keeping ditches and waterways flowing freely, and fences, farm crossing gates and cattle guards in good repair. If cattle or other animals strayed onto the track and got killed, the section crew had to "bury or otherwise remove" them. They also had go along the track and collect anything fallen from the trains, whether freight or parts of the train itself. The maintenance of road crossings was another part of the crew's job, as well as working in cooperation with the signal department to protect and maintain the wires, pipelines and switches that made the crossing bells and other signals work (see p. 44 of the booklet, p. 24 of this PDF). One of the more miserable duties, besides burying dead animals, was going over the track "during storms" to make sure it was not damaged.

And in doing all this, the crews had to avoid being hit by trains themselves, without the benefit of wireless communication. They had to know the timetables and have a reliable watch. In emergencies, communication might depend on visual signals. The section on signals — hand, flag and lamp — starts on p. 9 of the booklet (p. 6 of this PDF), and the train signals described in Rule 28 are illustrated starting on p. 73 of the booklet (p. 39 of this PDF).

Monday, September 1, 2014

Nickel Plate Section Crew

Here we have two photos of a Nickel Plate section crew from Hobart.

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


The reason we have these two photos is because, as I mentioned earlier, Lester Harms married the widow of Noland White. She retained these photos from her first husband's days as a railroad section worker.

Noland's older brother, John, was the section foreman.

The Whites came from a farming family in Pulaski County, Indiana. John was born in 1884 and Noland circa 1902. The earliest I can place them in Hobart is 1930. By then John (already a section foreman) was living with his wife, Bessie, and their 20-year-old daughter on Lake Street in Hobart. His household included his brother William and his wife (her name was Bessie, too — confusing!). William worked as a section hand, probably in John's crew. Noland, also a section hand, rented a separate residence; in 1930 he was still single, but the following year he would marry Mathilda Prochno.

The two photos above have no identifying notes — their present owner recognized them as section crews and knew about the Whites' connection with the Nickel Plate. Since I have no photos of John or William, I have no hope of recognizing them, if they are pictured here. I have three not-very-good photos of Noland (which I will get around to posting eventually), and on the basis of those, I would say that if Noland is in those photos at all — in the first one, he may be the guy second from the left, or second from the right; in the second photo, he might be the guy standing on the car with his hands on his hips. In both cases, though, I'm really not sure.

1900 Census.
1910 Census.
1920 Census.
1930 Census.
1940 Census.
♦ "Noland White To Be Buried Saturday." Hobart Gazette 5 Apr. 1945.
WWII Army Enlistment Records.