We have monthly meetings and guest speakers about six times a year. Our most recent guest was Larry Davidson, who formerly owned Davidson’s Lumber Co., which played a vital role in our township and Southport.
About three years ago the society hosted a program in memory of Longacre Pool and Park. It was owned by the Dodrill family, and the presentation was made by David Dodrill. It was an amazing evening as David illustrated more than 100 photographs, which had been placed on a DVD.
Last year we presented a program titled “Perry Township’s Contribution to the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race,” in which Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson served as master of ceremonies.
We had Joe Langley’s daughters, Linda and Sally, make a presentation, and the daughters of Howdy Wilcox, Donna, Nancy and Sandy, showed photos and told stories about their father. The Langleys and the Wilcoxes resided on Madison Avenue.
The programs on Longacre and the Indy 500 were held at The Atrium on Thompson Road, where more than 300 people attended each event.
Our next project will take a look at the residential and business areas on or near Madison during the 1950s and ’60s.
We will start at Manual High School and work our way south of Southport. Baker’s Cleaner was on Thompson Road, just east of the railroad tracks. I’m sure we will have some stories that involve the Southern Circle Drive-in Restaurant.
We are looking for people who owned businesses along the thoroughfare during this era and for former employees of those establishments. We would love to share your pictures.
My father operated a Sunoco station on Madison for several years, and I plan to invite the guys I worked with. We later operated a garage (now Long’s Bakery) in Southport, where we maintained our small fleet of school buses and operated an automotive repair business.
I’m sure there are dozens and dozens of wonderful pictures and stories of the exciting times on Madison. If you have any photos or know folks who do, call me at 371-7654. We could have a cup of coffee at the Burger Chef on Madison ... whoops ... it’s Flapjacks now.
This is going to be a blast!
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools. He is married to Lyn Shonk.