Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Gordon House

As some of you already know, the Gordon house has new owners, who have begun the difficult process of restoring this lovely old place. Because they have enough work to do, I volunteered to look into the microfilm and other records in search of some background on the house to share with them … and with the readers of this blog.

Let's get straight to the good part: the spring of 1909, when construction first began.

Construction of Gordon house begins
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette May 7, 1909.

The electric-line franchise is discussed in more detail in the left-hand column of this page. As we know, the streetcar line ended up taking a different route — passing a block south of Dr. Gordon's house, rather than right past it.

♦    ♦    ♦

He went by "E.R." and I'm beginning to wonder if it's because he himself didn't know whether his first name was Edwin or Edward. It shows up both ways. With the help of Paula Isolampi of the Hobart Historical Society, I've come up with a theory: he was christened Edwin after his paternal grandfather, but he didn't like that name, and as soon as he was old enough to impose his will on others, he started making them call him Edward, or just Ed. Professionally and publicly, he used his initials — a common practice at the time.

E.R. Gordon was born December 7, 1878 (Indiana Death Certificates). His parents were John and Lushia (aka Lucy) Gordon, whose brick house used to stand on the southwest corner of Center and Second Streets (and where four-year-old E.R. was photographed on the porch). His father was a druggist, and his uncle, Pliny P. Gordon, a doctor, so medicine ran in his blood, I suppose you could say.

To find out the details of his life, we must look to his death — which came early; the poor soul had scarcely three years to enjoy living with his family in his beautiful house. Here are his obituaries from the two Hobart papers of 1912.

E.R. Gordon obit
(Click on images to enlarge)
Hobart News 26 Dec. 1912.

E.R. Gordon obit
Hobart Gazette 27 Dec. 1912.

It's interesting that E.R. went to Battle Creek originally as a patient. He did more there than rest and recuperate, according to accounts at the time of his marriage (1908), which described him practicing his profession in a sanatorium. But we'll get to that later.

No comments: