Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tenants of the Owen Block - Evansville, Indiana

Owen Block
121-127 Chestnut Street
Evansville, Indiana

The Owen Block in Evansville has been in the news a lot recently. Should it be demolished because of its poor condition or should it be restored because of its unique architecture? I am pleased that it looks like the proponents for restoration are currently in the lead. Built in the second empire style most popular after the Civil War and with its blue color, the Owen Block stands out in the downtown historic district.

Dr. A.M. Owen built the Owen Block in 1882 and the building consisted of four three-floors-plus-basement townhouses at 121-127 Chestnut Street. The building was also known as the Owen Flats. Dr. Owen and his family lived in one townhouse and the other three were rented out.

 This type of housing was new to Evansville. In a newspaper article[1] in 1909, the following was written: "Flats are increasingly popular in Evansville. Thirty years ago the only buildings in the city which were known as flats were the Owen houses on Chestnut street between Second and Third streets. Now flat buildings are springing up in all parts of the city."
I will leave it to others to decide if Dr. Owen was a visionary of what Evansville needed. At any rate, he provided something new in housing for the citizens of Evansville, but who was Dr. Owen and what part. if any, did he play in the history of Evansville?
Abraham Miconius Owen was born 19 March 1849 in Madisonville, Kentucky, the son of Dr. A.B. Owen. After a common school education, he studied medicine and received his diploma from Bellevue Medical College in 1870. After serving  on the staff there for a short while following graduation, he moved to Evansville, where he was associated with the local medical college.
Dr. Owen married Laura Jerauld 20 October 1875 at the home of her parents in Princeton, Indiana. Three children, Amelia, George J. and Leartus, were born to the couple.
 In 1880 A.M. Owen was a physician and surgeon and professor of surgery at the Medical College of Evansville. His medical office was located at 504 Upper 1st Street and his residence was at 615 Upper 1st Street,[2] not far from where the Owen Block would be constructed in 1882.
Dr. Owen was involved in the municipal as well as medical affairs of Evansville. He served as president of the local medical society and, with two other physicians, published a medical magazine. One of his biggest ventures was with Dr. Edwin Walker in the establishment of the Evansville Sanitarium in 1894 at 712 Upper 4th Street. The sanitarium, later renamed Walker Hospital, was the forerunner of Welborn Baptist Hospital. Evansville Sanitarium contained three floors, each one supplied with hot and cold baths and provided the latest facilities for patients. The sanitarium had accommodations for 20 patients - 12 in private rooms and the remaining  in two wards.  
Ironically, Dr. Owen died 18 September 1898 in the Evansville Sanitarium after being in poor health for about a year. Funeral services were held at his home in the Owen Block with burial at Oak Hill Cemetery.
The tenants of the Owen Block were among the more prominent residents of Evansville. Many worked nearby and a number worshiped at St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 301 SE 1st Street  or Grace Presbyterian Church at 601 SE 2nd Street. Social events at the Owen Block were often described in the local newspapers. One such event, hosted by Mrs. Owen, was a "high tea" with an orange theme - from the ribbons tied around sandwiches to the dress of the hostess. Color-theme parties  were described as "in vogue in Washington, Brooklyn and New York."[3]
Other tenants of the Owen Block will be discussed in the next post.

Published 24 March 2015, Rambling Thoughts ...Out of My Mind, http://brendasopinions.blogspot.com/

[1] "Modern Flats Are More Popular," Evansville Journal-News, Sunday, 4 July 1909, p. 18.
[2] Evansville City Directory, 1880, p. 228.
[3] "High Tea," Evansville Journal, 12 April 1887, p. 5.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

John Morgan Joyce 1913 - 1975

In my mind's eye my dad is still middle aged, but in my heart I know he would be 102 years old if he were living.  He left this world at the age of almost 62 in 1975.

My memories are growing dimmer and I can barely remember the sound of his voice. That bothers me.

John Morgan Joyce 
1913 - 1975

Published 13 January 2015, Rambling Thoughts by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG.

Friday, August 2, 2013

147 Years Ago

One hundred forty-seven years ago Reddick Smith and Mary Ann Wolstenholme married in Goodlettsville, Davidson County, Tennessee. Reddick had served in the Union army during the just-ended Civil War. Apparently, he met Mary Ann while stationed in Tennessee and elected to remain there after the war. Shortly after 1870, however, they moved to Hardin County, Illinois, where Reddick had been reared and where his family lived. They settled into life on a farm and remained there except for a brief time in the state of Washington.

Reddick died 14 April 1913 and Mary Ann died 7 January 1933. Both are buried at Central Cemetery, but Mary Ann has no tombstone.

Reddick Smith
Born 28 Sept. 1842
Died 14 April 1913

View from Central Cemetery
November 2012
Published 2 April 2013, Rambling Thoughts, http://brendasopinions.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lost Art of Letter Writing

After my parents married in 1937 and moved across the Ohio River to Illinois, Mother's father kept in touch with her through notes and post cards. Some of these notes said little more than he was thinking of her and hoped she was well. Other times he wrote about the rest of the family, their illnesses and their day-to-day life. As I read these notes today, it strikes me that no great event was ever mentioned, but these notes were important enough to my mother that she saved them.  This was the way my mother and her father anchored their connection when they could not be together.

When I married and moved away, I stayed in touch with my parents through long letters in which I told of life as a newlywed in a large city and with a new job. After the children were born, I wrote about their activities, from their first words to their first steps and to their first days of school. After my mother died, I found a stack of these letters that she had saved and I have a few letters she wrote me. These letters were our way of staying connected even though we lived far apart.

It is sad that the art of communication through letters has been lost. Because we all seem constantly in a hurry,  we dash off an email or send a text message to our loved ones. But it isn't the same. Maybe I  am showing my age by mourning the loss of what used to be?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Humor Has Gone Missing

Somewhere along the way, we lost our sense of humor. What used to tickle our funny bone ceases to amuse us. What formerly made us laugh out loud no longer brings a grin to our face. What happened?

Since everything appears to relate to politics today, it seems natural to blame it on the Republicans ... everyone else does. Or should we blame the Democrats? Which shall it be?

The way I figure it, politics was still fun when Bill Clinton asked us to believe that he never had a relationship with Monica of the Blue Dress fame. We all knew he had his fingers crossed behind his back when he said that. So, we laughed and wondered how he would next entertain us.

Then along came George W. Bush with his wicked little boy grin and habit of saying the wrong thing. Who wouldn't be tickled by our 43rd president? The animosity between the two political parties was increasing, but there were still fun moments, even after 9-11.

But when the Bush family left for Texas and the Chicago Crowd took up residency on Pennsylvania Avenue, the mood changed. Fun was out.  Humor vanished. Jokes taboo. Now people of different political persuasions don't talk or laugh or even attempt to have a good time.

Life is dull. Where is the humor?   We miss Tim Russert.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Anniversary of My Dad's Birth

Copyright by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
May not copy without written consent

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of my father, John Morgan Joyce. He was born in Sharp County, Arkansas shortly after his family had moved there from Hardin County, Illinois. The family didn't stay long in Arkansas and returned to Hardin County.

He graduated from high school during the Great Depression and, because there were no jobs and there was no money for college, he continued attending high school classes. He used to say that he was the only person he knew who had five years of high school Latin.

On the 24th of July 1937, my dad married my mother, A. Lavern Croft,  in Crittenden County, Kentucky. They lived in Rosiclare, Hardin County, Illinois, New Harmony, Posey County, Indiana and Salem, Livingston County, Kentucky. His life was not easy and he had many health problems.

My dad passed away on the 6th of December 1975 at a hospital in Paducah, Kentucky and was laid to rest at Salem Cemetery, Salem, Kentucky.

He's been gone now more than 37 years. May he Rest in Peace.

John Morgan Joyce
13 January 1913 - 6 December 1975

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gone Too Soon


Winifred Adams Lockwood Meinerding
 5 December 1895 -  7 May 1973
Born and died in the Lockwood family home on Oak Street,
Poseyville, Posey County,  Indiana
Daughter of Elmer E. Lockwood and Mary "Molly" Waters.