That item was the Perry Township/Southport Historical Society’s “An Evening to Celebrate Longacre Pool & Park. David Dodrill, son of Rufus Dodrill, who owned Long Acre during the 1950s and ’60s, spoke about his family and Longacre. We had more than a 100 pictures to look at, and there were almost 300 folks in attendance.
The original owner of Longacre was Edwin Thompson, an attorney and a Southside developer. We learned that Thompson Road and Elbert Street were named after him. Elbert was his middle name. One of his best friends was named Morgan. Elbert is the first street north of Thompson, and Morgan Drive is the second street north of Thompson.
Our family house during my early years was on Madison Avenue between Elbert and Morgan. Elbert was never developed between Madison and the railroad tracks, which are about a block east of Madison. If Elbert had been there, we would have lived on the corner of Madison and Elbert.
Our next-door neighbor who lived on the south side of what would have been Elbert was Mrs. Ethel Thompson, the widow of Edwin Thompson.
Mrs. Thompson was a special person. She lived there alone for several years. My sister, Kathy, and I were frequent visitors to her home. We never met Mr. Thompson, and I’m thinking it was many years before I was informed of her husband and their past ownership of Longacre.
Mrs. Thompson was an avid bird watcher and protector. She had several different types of bird feeders in her backyard. I remember visiting with her in all the different seasons of the year and she would tell us about the breeds of birds in her yard at the time. I really enjoyed those sessions and have always had several bird feeders in my yards. Mrs. Thompson taught me well.
She owned the first television that Kathy and I ever saw that wasn’t in a store that was selling televisions. It was a rather large wooden box with a small screen. As I remember, there was only one channel available in the Indianapolis area – WFBM. It is the oldest station in Indiana, and it went on the air in 1949.
Television wasn’t available to watchers as much as it is these days. In fact, broadcasting didn’t begin each day until around 4:30 p.m. The test pattern was all that was visible on your television for about an hour each afternoon. I remember visiting Mrs. Thompson on lots of afternoons. We would watch the test pattern and enjoy homemade cookies. One of the first shows that came on after the test pattern was a children’s show called “Kukla, Fran & Ollie.” We also enjoyed “The Howdy Doody Show.”
I have so many great memories of visits to Mrs. Thompson’s house. I remember lots of large cardboard boxes stored in spare rooms in her house. I’m sure now that those were wonderful pictures and papers from their construction and ownership of Longacre Pool and Park.
Madison Avenue is full of memories for me.