The History of Car Dealers in Broad Ripple part one
posted: Oct. 18, 2019
This is the story of Ford dealerships in Broad Ripple as told through my uncle, Glen Hague. Glen was born in 1932. He attended School 80 through the 8th Grade and then Broad Ripple High School, graduating in 1951.
History side note: That was the year that Charles Kassebaum, of the Kassebaum Building at Westfield Boulevard and Winthrop Avenue, also graduated from BRHS, and a year ahead of Michael Graves, architect of buildings around the world, including five that your editor knows well, the Swan and Dolphin hotels at Walt Disney World, The Thomson (RCA) buildings (now Geico and St. Vincent) at 103rd and Meridian, and the Indianapolis Art Center at 67th and Ferguson Street.
Glen's story with cars starts around 1945, but there have been car dealers in Broad Ripple ever since there were cars.
The earliest listings found in my research include a 1921 ad for Osborn-Harvey Autos at 828 E. 63rd Street (today Broad Ripple Avenue). This would have been about where Sahara Restaurant and Condado Tacos is today [H4 on map]. Exact locations of early addresses is difficult as many addresses changed over the years, especially after the annexation of Broad Ripple by the City of Indianapolis in 1922.
In July 1922, Osborn-Harvey sold to Broad Ripple Auto (see ad below).
1913 ad for Broad Ripple Auto
By 1926 the car dealer moved across the street to the south side of 63rd into 819 E. 63rd Street. Today this 829 Broad Ripple Avenue, Passwater's Auto Specialists. At the time, this was the eastern-most building on the block. The Kilroy's building was added around 1934 as a Standard Grocery (After Standard, that building has housed Haag Drugs, The Garage bar, a food court, Sound Warehouse, Wherehouse Music, and Cardinal Fitness).
H.Y. Tinch & Ray Grider were the owners of Broad Ripple Auto Company. The dealership sold Fords and Mercurys and Fordson tractors.
Next door to them at the time was Kroger Grocery and Baking Co. at 817, Broad Ripple Post Office at 815, and Flanner & Buchanan undertakers at 807. These were where Old Pro's Table is today and Taste of Havana.
At the end of 1939, W. Jim Roberts bought the dealership, offering Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln-Zephyr. He also took over the used car sales at 816 E. 63rd Street, about where Rock Lobster is today. In 1940 Roberts also opened a used car lot down at Dearborn and Washington Streets on the east side.
In comes George Hoster. George had started as a car salesman in 1928 at Roy Wilmeth 720 N. Meridian Street. The 1941 Indianapolis telephone book lists Hoster-Hiser Autos at 3850 N. Illinois Street. George sells out of that in 1941 and joins W. Jim Roberts as sales manager at W. Jim Roberts Ford.
Around 1944 or 1945 W. Jim Roberts Ford becomes Hoster-Roberts Ford.
Front of Hoster-Roberts Ford in 1946
About this time, a young Glen Hague (13 years old) starts hanging out in the service department. Glen lives two blocks down the street at 6122 N. Carrollton Avenue with his brother John Hague, Mother Helen Dawson Hague (who works at Fletcher Trust Company), and Father Girstle Hague (a local mailman at the Broad Ripple Station).
Glen discussed working at Hoster-Roberts for many months for no pay, "...because I liked cars. I passed it on the way home from school every day. I was only 13 years old and couldn't get a work permit, so Roberts said he couldn't hire me."
"I got ready to leave on the day before Christmas and W. Jim Roberts said, "Don't leave, stay for the Christmas party. I was so honored that he told me to stay, I was just a 13-year-old kid." Glen stayed for the party. He saw bonuses handed out to the mechanics. Everyone enjoyed a chicken dinner. Then, Roberts called Glen's name. He handed him an envelope. Glen opened it and inside was a note "To our newest employee -W. Jim Roberts" and $5.
--- end of part one ---