Penny Post: Loved and Lost

Written by on February 12, 2014 in Penny Post - 1 Comment
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Over the course the postcard design evolution, vintage Valentines may be some of the most intricate and ornate. From intricate art deco cherubs to applique and bas relief, the vintage Valentine postcards sent in the 1900s were works of art. However, as we celebrate the sweet sentiment of love this week, let’s be reminded that not all Indianapolitans were so lucky in love. This week’s Penny Post is a nod to all of those who suffer from unrequited love this Valentine’s Day.

Postmarked: Indianapolis, IND, NOV 25, 1910 – 2:30 PM

RiversideBathing1910front

Riverside Bath Beach, Indianapolis, In.
Image courtesy of the Indianapolis Public Library Digital Collection, copyright 2009.

RiversideBathing1910back

Image courtesy of the Indianapolis Public Library Digital Collection, copyright 2009.

Message:
2230 Brookside Ave
Indianapolis, Ind.

Hello sister. I can only be a brother to you since you have refused my hand. But it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all! Ha ha! Don’t pay any attention to what I say. Percy Craig

Addressed to:
Miss Lela Randall
81 Woodlawn Ave.
Grand Raphids, Mich.

A penny for your thoughts … It is much more difficult to find concrete information on the private citizens featured in Penny Posts. After reading Percy’s heart-broken message to Miss Lela, you wonder who the ill-fated couple was, why she turned him down, and how, if– he was writing from Indianapolis to Michigan– the two met. The address that Percy posted his card from, 2230 E. Brookside Avenue, is located northeast of downtown, near Brookside Park, parallel to Massachusetts Ave. and what was at the time the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway. Today, I-70 also parallel’s the address. According to the 1910 Indianapolis City Directory, a contractor named Robert Drake lived at the address and there is no mention of a “Percy” also residing there.

2230Brookside_parkview

1916 Baist Atlas map courtesy of IUPUI Digital Library

2230Brooksidezoom

An enlarged view of 2230 E. Brookside Ave. from where Craig posted his card.
1916 Baist Atlas map courtesy of IUPUI Digital Library

2230Brookside_1910directory

1910 Indianapolis City Directory listing for 2230 Brookside Ave.

While researching Miss Lela Randall, a 1922 The American Florist newsletter, volume 59 mentions a Miss Lela Randall scoring 91 points for her clear yellow Chrysanthemums exhibited by Randall Florist, Indianapolis, Indiana. It is speculation as to whether this is the same Miss Lela Randall, although by 1913, Charles Randall was operating a florist shop near 149 E. Market, presumably at Indianapolis City Market and another location at 4907 North College Avenue by 1919, approximately where the SoBro restaurant, “Recess” stands today.

Interested in vintage Valentine’s? Check out Historic Indianapolis’ Valentine archive part I, part II, part III, part IV.

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About the Author

Ashley Haynes is from Indianapolis and grew up bringing storybook characters to life in her imagination. Now, she peers into the history of old buildings, letters, and postcards, imagining the lives of the people who touched the stair-rail or held the pen.

One Comment on "Penny Post: Loved and Lost"

  1. Tom February 15, 2014 at 9:16 am · Reply

    Ashley, I have a nearly identical version of this scene on a postcard from 1910. I haven’t uploaded it to Flickr yet, but did write this description of the scene last week.

    Riverside Bathing Beach at Riverside Park in Indianapolis, Indiana. This view was looking southeast. The arch stood along the north side of West 30th Street. The beach and structures were located east of the river and just east of the amusement rides, skating rink, etc. A note in the 1898 Sanborn™ fire insurance map set says the arch structure was 50 feet tall. The grandstand extended northwest from the arch. A café was located next to the arch on the second floor. Lockers were installed on the first floor below the grandstand. The beach was owned by the Riverside Bathing Beach Company.

    The C. C. C. & St. L. (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis) Railroad track ran from southeast to northwest just east of the bathing beach. The railroad ran along the southwest side of the Central Canal and crossed 30th Street just west of the canal. It then continued on to the northwest and crossed the river north of the 30th Street Bridge and the Indianapolis Canoe Club. However, around 1908, the railroad company decided to abandon that line and the bridge in favor of a route farther west. The 1915 map set shows the line stopping at the south edge of 30th Street.

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