Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v03n26)
Naptown Memories: A book about growing up in Indy in the 1930's and 40's
posted: Dec. 29, 2006
A new book on growing up in the 1930's and 40's in the Broad Ripple area has been published by Ray Featherstone. Ray describes in wonderful detail the day-to-day activities shared with his friends and family. From the family meals to spying on his sister, Ray puts the reader right in his Carrollton Avenue bungalow. Movies at The Vogue, learning the Op language (similar to pig latin), shopping at Danner Brothers, and riding the College Avenue trolley are just a few of the memories found in this book. This is a book for young and old. It will spark the memories of older readers, while giving the younger readers a fascinating insight into life in those days gone by.
Here is a short excerpt:
"In 1932 when I was one year old, our family moved to a second rental house in the 5400 block of Carrollton Avenue. We stayed there six years until we moved into our own long-term Indianapolis house at 54th and Park Avenue. Our two Carrollton Avenue houses, both built in the 1920s, had the usual layout for a two-bedroom bungalow. The walk-through front living room was connected to a dining room and rear eat-in kitchen on one side of the house. A front and rear bedroom with a bathroom connected by a side hallway made up the other half of the bungalow. The total living area of our one-story houses was about nine hundred square feet. We never thought of them as small houses.
Similar bungalows were constructed throughout Indianapolis during the 1920's' housing boom. In fact the bungalow style house was so popular that an Indianapolis street was named Bungalow Court. It is perhaps the shortest street in the city. Bungalow Court runs east one block from 5500 N. College Avenue to the alley behind our second house on Carrollton. By 1937, bungalow style houses had become so popular in Indianapolis that a new five-room brick house in the 5300 block of Cornelius Avenue was promoted by the builder as being constructed on the "street of bungalows."
As was often true with bungalows, our house had a concrete front porch faced with brick and a single car garage fronting on an alley behind the house at the rear property line. Fortunately those small bungalows usually had a full basement, which came in handy for playing on rainy days, and had room for Dad's workbench and a fruit cellar. There was also a corner for Mom's wash tub and a clothesline for drying laundry in bad weather. In those days there were no laundromats and few home washing machines or dryers. Consequently my mother spent many hours at the laundry tub, scrubbing wet soapy clothes, linens, and bedding on a washboard. After rinsing them, she fed the wet clothes through a hand-cranked wringer to squeeze out most of the water. If it was a warm dry day, she carried the damp clothes outside to hang on a clothesline. I still remember the fresh airy smell of just-washed clothing dried outside."
Naptown Memories is available by calling (317) 471-8202. $16.00 including tax and postage, 123 pages, soft cover. Author Ray Featherstone is also an expert on Lustron houses.