Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The War Days and Post 7403

We haven't found a lot of information on the house's history during WWII; those were lean times for many people. But we do have a lot of history on one of the daughter's of the house. Norma became a WAC and a war correspondent. They called her Ed or Eddie as short for Editor and Morgan being her married name. Here's a great photo from the "War Years."

It took three of us to translate the writing on the back, but I think we finally managed it:

Ed Morgan and Wade Jolly (Folly?)
-only WAC correspondent in
Transportation C(350,000 men)
-and only WAC doing Field Trips alone

Wade - an artist with the soul
and talent of one - the
sweet disposition of an angel

atop the Fort overlooking Cherbourg
Normandy, France
August, 1944

What a great little piece of history....

We also know that, at some point after the Terrill Family sold the Horner House, it served for a very brief time period as VFW Post 7403. There is little to no information about this time in the home's history, but we did get one tiny hint at the State Library. (Gotta Love the State Library!)

This lovely little gem ran in two separate papers in October of 1948. It ran first in The Woman's Angle in the evening edition on Monday the 4th and then on Wednesday the 6th in the Logansport Press. Back in the day it was not uncommon for pieces like this to be written by society matrons and submitted to one or more local papers for the "society column," and then just run as written.

So what's so very interesting about this little piece? It lists the names of Mrs L. Dickerson and Mrs. Navel Hallinin as co-chairmen of Post 7403 of Indianapolis, which is us! So now we have the names of two of the people who were part of the post! And an event that they attended! Which is more than we had before. It's not much to go on, but maybe we can track down something from it.

For us, this is such a fascinating time in our house's history, and yet, there is so little information out there.  But we'll keep digging!

-The H.H. Family

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Dangers of Owning Old Homes

There are many downsides to owning one (or more) old homes. The upkeep, the covenants, finding replacement items, bleeding time and money... The list goes on and on. But did you ever think your old house could have it in for you? Would be out for your blood? We're not talking about ghosts, poltergeists, or even the evil ivy. Just the house itself. Sad but true. Or more specifically, all of the things that have been living in that house since lonnng before you took up residence. So let's discuss this before another hospital visit occurs.

Currently Legionnaires' Disease has been making the evening news all across the country due to the outbreak in New York City. At this time there have been four deaths in that outbreak. It turns outs that this very deadly form of pneumonia is what landed Eric in the hospital last week. We are so blessed and grateful that he is now safely home with us and recovering. Unfortunately, we don't know where he picked it up, BUT it is complicated by the fact that we do own the old houses. And we WILL BE doing some special testing, cleaning, and construction to make extra certain that it did not come from any of our homes or gets spread. Paranoid much? YES!!! We have to be! With Amanda's compromised immune system, we can't take any chances.

Front Parlor of the Toad Hall. Looks perfectly clean to me!

The point here, is this is the second time in three years we have had a family member in the hospital, and the doctors were running a lot of extra tests because we live in, and own a second, old house. Looking for things like special fungus, bacteria, etc. And this time they found one. It just might not have been living in the house. 

So. Precautions. This is why all those masks, gloves, and other bothersome safety items are suggested for cleaning, painting, and repairing your old home. It's a matter of health! And the next time your significant other reminds you to clean the gutters, replace a furnace filter, clean an air conditioner, or set a good example for the kids and wash your hands, please think twice before arguing. They love you and want a happy, healthy home environment!

Keep safe, well, and stay blessed. We know we are, to have our Eric with us tonight.

- The Horner House Family.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bay Windows (Plural)

The house is supposed to have two, yes two, bay windows on it. One was removed long ago. Currently there is a lovely hole where the original bay window on the South side once resided. It was most likely structurally unsound when it was removed, as they shortened the two windows in the bedroom above and added a support beam in the remaining opening. Initially, this was the only "evidence" that a second window had ever existed.

 Here you can see the windows and the beam referenced above.

As time wore on were able to clear away enough of the brush at the base of the boarded up area that we found a portion of what looked to be the original limestone foundation of the window. This was very exciting and for a long time was the best evidence we had that the window really had existed.

 On left side of the photo up against the house there is a tree growing out of the middle of the remaining limestone and on the right side the limestone comes away from the house in a nice solid line until it stops pretty abruptly at the block wall. 

Then came the day we had some young men from the neighborhood come and do some work for us. They were asked to take any loose bricks and pile them up and cut down anything and everything, which they did. Bricks were pulled, pryed, dug, and stacked. The next thing I know they are asking questions about bricks laid out patio style... Wait! Wait a minute! What are we looking at?

 The black arrow points to a stack of foundation bricks that run along the inside of the limestone foundation. There is a matching pile that runs along the inside of the foundation on the other side of the opening. 

The black arrow shows a line of bricks that is most likely part of the original foundation wall of the house. 
A significant amount of new evidence to show that a bay window was originally on the
South side of the house. Still not convincend? Then check this out? Photographic proof. Thanks Gail!
 A photo of the Southside bay window. Intact. From the Terrill Family Collection. 
-The H. H. Family




Friday, July 17, 2015

Terrill Family Artchive - Gail's Visit and What She Left Behind

For those of you who follow the FB page, you saw that on July 1st Gail R. Anderson came to stay with us for a few days. Her great grandparents, George C. and Mary Amelia Terrill, owned the house for just over two decades in the early part of the twentieth century. Gail was here to do some genealogy research and to pass on more records for the Terrill Family Archive. 

The archive already consisted of digital copies of photos and documents, original deeds to the house, one day journal written by Mary Amelia from 1932, three scrap books made by Norma Terrill (Mary Ameila's youngest daughter, or going the other direction, Gail's Grandmother), and a desk once owned by George Terrill during the years of the Horner House. Memorabilia from at least one of the scrap books is somewhat pertinent to the Irvington neighborhood, as they lived there during the time period it was created. Until it is cataloged and the contents researched we will not know just how many gems and tidbits of neighborhood history we will find.

The new addition to the archive is much larger. Here are some photos to help tell the story:

To start things off with a bang we have two hand crocheted items with the Terrill family name on them. They are complete cylinders and having no idea what they could be used for Amanda showed her Grandmother the photos. She (Grandma) immediately recognized them as "pillow covers." They are fancy ends that would be stitched to the end of a pillow case to "dress it up." Both will need to be taken to the conservitors at the Historical Society for some minor repair work, but beyond that... WOW!

One box chock full of military correspondence, photos, notes, etc. Norma Terrill was a war photo journalist and was sent to Europe. One of the scrap books goes along with this box too. For those interested in the WACs this is a dream come true!

This bucket contains loose pictures and negatives. It's about half negatives. Be still my heart!

This stack of annuals has three from Shortridge High as well as one from the school where Mary Amelia and George met. We need to go through them and mark where the family is referenced and shown in photos.

Now for the crazy part. Yes, we are just getting there. Fourteen, count them, fourteen photo albums on this table! Oh my! Yes there are! They are all piled up there in the upper left hand corner. The large pile to the right hand side middle is genealogy research that was mostly compiled by Mary Amelia back in the early part of the twentieth century.

Here we have miscellaneous items including a 78rpm record made by Norma's son sent to her in place of a telegram.

Another stack of diaries! Seven more!!!

Last, but certainly not leaset, a drawer from George's desk. This has two of the photo albums in it, a few of the loose photos, and a few of the negatives. These were ones that Amanda pulled out while her and Gail were going through things. This is because these were ones that are specific to the Horner House or Irvinton. There is also a book in this drawer that once belonged to George Terrill that Gail has graciously gifted to the archive as well.

We are very grateful to Gail for the amazing gift that she has given to us. Getting this cataloged,  protected, and researched is going to be a massive undertaking, but with the all the support that we have received we know that it will get done. Many thanks to Gail for her gift! And many thanks to the members of the community for the continued love of everything old!

-The HH Family


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I Fought the Lawn and the Lawn Won - Part Two - Revenege of the Chain Saw

When we last left it, the lawn was giving as good a beating as it was taking. And I can't say it didn't go down without a fight. One broken chainsaw blade, one mild case of poison ivy, the standard cuts, bruises, fatigue and we are mostly victorious. It only took Two grown men, one woman, three teen boys, and four days. And there's still work to be done. Stumps to kill, more brick to pick up, and a thorn tree to cut down. For now, though, we are claiming victory!

Since I didn't get a chance to do an interim update, but I did get pictures, I am just going to follow this with the photos, in the order I took them, so you can see how it progressed. Here they are:

The North side is still covered in the evil ivy, but the trees on the fence line are mostly gone. (Or at least laying on the ground.)


Here are downed trees in the trailer and on the ground. We had already hauled off two full loads of trees at this point. 

Another "in progress" photo. This ivy had wrapped around the back and getting that carpet threaded through the posts was a real challenge. We eventually had to cut it free, but were worried that by doing so we wouldn't get it all off.

A back view of the evil ivy. It picks up the paint from the house and you can see the lines where the mortar is. Strangeness.

The South Side after *much* hard work. Many thanks to the young men from the neighborhood who worked so hard to clear this area!

It's bald! Most of the ivy came off and what didn't is dying out!!! It looks sooooo good!

Another view that shows clean cropped house!

A slightly crooked picture. (I was probably dancing with joy!) There's still some clean up to do, but we'll talk about that later!

And last, but not least, the evil ivy has been beaten!!! As long as we kill the roots, we are home free!!!

Yes, it's a small victory, but still a victory, and we'll take it!

-The HH Family


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I Fought the Lawn and the Lawn Won

All of the vegetation that is up close to the house has to go. Nature is doing her thing and slowly taking trying to take back the land, but this is NOT what we want. We want this glorious house to survive! The war is on. 

Round one went to the ivy, way back when we first bought the place. Eric attacked. The ivy battled back and although Eric fought valiantly he crawled away with a badly broken ankle. One surgery later he's doing better, but we've rethought how to attack this problem. Amanda tried last year to kill it with "non-chemical" (vinegar based) spray. Between her bad health, (too few applications) and there being just too much of it, this didn't work too well either.

This year, we have no choice but to persevere. So the cutting implements have come back out and work has begun. We must stop the damage that Mother Nature is doing to the house and clear the way for work to begin!

Back when Mary Amelia Terrill lived in the house, she was a spectacular gardener and kept Mother Nature in check. This is a beautiful and unusual view of the North face of the house from most likely the 1930's.

In May I took two photos of the crazy growth on the North side of the house. Mother Nature at her worst!

The first inroads we made this week on the overgrowth. One catalpa tree ready for the chain saw and you can see some brick!

More work done! Check out that pile of brush! Looks like a trip to chipper is in order.

Anyone want to volunteer to spend some time hacking line. We've still got a thorn tree that needs to come down. :)

-The HH Family


Friday, June 12, 2015

1889 Irvington Map

Being a Surveyor Eric has a fascination with old maps. Being Eric, he has a fascination with many other things old, so it's not unusual to find him haunting an auction or antique shop if he has a few spare minutes. (Not that he has many of those these days!) But, recently there was one such auction that had some Survey related items and he made the time to go. It turned out to be even more interesting than that once he got his purchase home. :D

What he found was an Atlas of Indianapolis from 1889. It's huge! But the part that's most interesting to you all is that this was before Christian Park was established and you can see that the lands that will eventually become CP were owned by Thomas Moore at that time. But there is a detailed map of Irvington... so here are the pictures I took of the maps. I apologize in advance for the quality.

This is the Irvington Page. Or more correctly two pages. It's really cool. I'm going backwards here. This is the most detailed map in the book. It shows the house outlines on the lots in the shapes that the houses really are. The following seven maps are blowups of this map.

Starting in the lower left corner. Hi the Horner House!!! Notice the strange shape? We now know that's because of the porches that were on it. It's approximately right. 

Next square above the HH. Here you can see Emerson Avenue labeled as the National Road.

Upper Left hand square. You can see how they had the boundary of Irvington going past Emerson in a very jagged pattern. This accounts for where people came up with Howe High School being part of Irvington.

Center top section. See Pleasant Run. (Oh Bad Amanda!) You can see that at this time there were only a few large houses in this whole area.

Bottom center section. Hello Butler University! Hello the Bona! Again, notice how few houses there are in this entire area.

Top right corner. The North Circle and again a very few houses. Irvington in it's early days. But these houses were huge!

Bottom right corner. The South Circle. Hello the Cuff's! Love that house!!! And Bill Gulde's house wasn't built yet. :D Again, few large homes.

Now, let's go out step...

This is the Center Township Page. You can see Irvington in Pink at the Bottom.

Here's a blowup of the bottom of the page. It still shows houses on lots, but they are just little square blocks here are apposed to actual outlines.

That's all the detailed maps I have, but here's the front page of the book. (To do the whole book would be hundreds of pictures and not much interest here.)

To geeks like Eric and I, this is really cool, so I'm going to add a few more blow ups.

1889 Baby!!! The house was only 14 when this was done.

Not done by computer.

So, I just had to share. Eric isn't alone in his love of old things and I thought this find was amazing!!!


***Looking back at the atlas again today not all of the lots are numbered and not all of the houses and buildings are shown on any of the detailed pages. I think they may have just chosen just the largest buildings in any given area. Makes sense when I stop and think about it. Still a cool map!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Terrill Family Archive - Part One

It's been a while since we've posted and we'll do an update later in the week, but for now, we want to start with something a bit more fun! Way back in November Amanda got the wonderful opportunity to meet with Gail, who's Great Grandparents owned the Horner House back in the 1930's and 40's. What a trip that was!!! Through the generosity of the family we have been gifted with an unbelievable treasure trove of information about the house, the neighborhood, and people that lived here during the early 1900's. It's going to take years to track down all of the leads that we have been given and that's no exaggeration. This is a gift to us, and to Irvington. We've talked to the Historical Society and to Bill Guild and will be sharing out the fun and the duties as time permits. :D 

But on to the goods. What I want to share today are two of the photos. These are just simply pictures. They don't tell us a whole lot, but are two of our favorites. Enjoy!

This first photo is of Mary Amelia Terrill taken July 5, 1932. Taken almost 83 years ago! Can you say Wow!?! It's one of Eric's absolute favorites. The front porch is still intact, there are flowers in the yard, and Mary Amelia (who's diary we have) looks so happy. It's just a great photo.

The second photo we have chosen is one of Amanda's favorites from July of 1939. There are two reasons for this. The first is that you can clearly see the fourth story tower intact and more importantly really see the iron cresting in this picture. And the second reason is that this photo shows just how far back the house used to sit from Emerson Avenue, before it was widened. You can really see the extra grass between the sidewalk and the street here. Boy how times have changed!

Hope you enjoy these photos as much as we have. There are many more to come!