Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Switching Tower

This photo has nothing to do with Ainsworth or Hobart, but I like it.

Switching tower, Wanatah
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Hobart Historical Society and Fred Ols.

The identifying notes read: "Ollie James — Wanatah. Aunt Clara's husband."

According to the Wanatah Historical Society's website, two railroads — the Pennsy and what eventually came to be called the Monon — ran through Wanatah, crossing there. In fact, the switching tower above looks much like the one on their railroad history page, but I don't suppose that switching towers were the playground of architects' imaginations.

This picture is undated. It was printed on a postcard with a divided back (thus manufactured after March 1907).

I think Aunt Clara was Clara Rhoades, sister of the Ralph Franklin Rhoades who married Elizabeth Ols (daughter of Henry and Bertha (Wischman) Ols). I believe Clara Rhoades married Oliver James in Michigan in 1908, when he was about 31 and she 27. I can't find them in the 1910 Census; the 1920 Census shows them in Whitley County. Not until the 1930 Census do we find them in Wanatah (he working as a railroad telegraph operator). In the 1940 Census, if I've got the right Oliver James (this time his wife's name is Cecelia and their age gap is wider; they live in Wanatah/Cass Township), his job is described as a railroad operator-leverman.

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