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Indianapolis history is not just made up of buildings, historic homes, and age-old events. After all, it IS people who make history happen, so what better way to know Indianapolis history than to hear from life-long Indy residents? HI will be featuring some of Indianapolis’ oldest residents to unlock the personal memories and nearly forgotten stories of this great city.

Meet Marge Faulconer, born Marjorie Ann Arthur at Coleman Hospital in Indianapolis at the tail end of the Roaring Twenties.

Marge's senior class photo, 1946. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

Marge’s senior class photo, 1946. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

Marge in her home of 48 years, 6902 Cricklewood Rd., Indianapolis

Marge in her home of 48 years.

Marge’s Indianapolis heritage stretches back into the late 1800s, as both her paternal and maternal families were Indy residents. Marge’s father, Robert J. Arthur, was born to Scottish immigrants in New York in 1901, who later ended up living at 1402 College Ave. in Indianapolis, where Robert’s father worked as a stone-cutter, but the original house is long-gone.

Marge’s paternal grandparents, the Arthurs, Scottish immigrants who moved to Indianapolis c. 1904. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

Robert’s maternal grandfather, Hieronymus Keller, was a glassblower in a front window at L.S. Ayres, in which people could watch him blow glass from outside. Robert grew up as a paperboy, delivering The Indianapolis Star in the morning and The Indianapolis News and The Indianapolis Times in the afternoon. He never finished school, but worked as a mail carrier for 37 years around 18th and Delaware St., making 2-3 deliveries a day.

Marge's father, Robert, on his mail route around 18th and Delaware St. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

Marge’s father, Robert, on his mail route around 18th and Delaware St. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

Marge’s mother, Mary Jane, was born in Indy to William and Nanny Ward in 1899. William was a commercial realtor for Fletcher Bank, and family rumor holds him as one of Indy’s first to own a car – a 1919 Chandler Automobile. (Click here for more on Indy’s automotive roots!). Her mother, Nanny, was killed by a streetcar in downtown Indianapolis, an unfortunately frequent accident back in the day.

Right: Marge's maternal grandfather and Indianapolis native, William Ward.

Right: Marge’s maternal grandfather and Indianapolis native, William Ward.

Marge lived her first 13 years happily at 5331 Broadway Ave. with her parents and older sister, Jane. Most nights included a game of Kick the Can in the alley with other neighborhood rascals, and they made sure to always hide from Sargent Magenheimer, a neighborhood policeman who’d often catch them skating in the street.

Marge attended School #84 and would trek home midday for a lunch of tomato soup or PB&J. A self-proclaimed book worm, Marge would read anything she could get her hands on, which kept her plenty busy after school. Since her family didn’t vacation often, their special family treats were riding the rides at old Riverside Park, an amusement park, or playing mini golf at Little America, which stood across the street from the current Glendale Shopping Center. Anyone else have special memories of these long-forgotten treasures?

Marge's first childhood home, 5331 Broadway. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

Marge’s first childhood home, 5331 Broadway. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

Public School no. 84, Joseph J. Bingha, 1928. (Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society).

Public School no. 84, Joseph J. Bingha, 1928. (Bass Photo Co Collection, Indiana Historical Society).

Marge and her sister in front of their home, 5465 Kenwood, circa 1931. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

Marge and her sister in front of their home, 5331 Broadway, circa 1931. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

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Marge on a pony ride at Little America, located at 62nd St. and Keystone Ave, circa 1935. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

“Another real treat, during the Second World War, was riding to Fort Harrison to watch the guards, but boy, you couldn’t get away with speeding there because of all those guards!” she said. “Afterwards, my family would go to Wheelers Restaurant for waffles.”

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Matchbook of Wheeler’s Restaurant. Courtesy of Evan Finch.

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Wheeler’s Restaurant advertisement. Courtesy of Evan Finch.

Marge attended Shortridge High School, taking the Shortridge Special, a street car that she remembers ran only once in the morning. After school, Marge’s favorite activities were taking dancing classes at Lips and the Riviera Club or hanging out around town with friends from Tabernacle Presbyterian Church.

Many a Saturday afternoon was spent at the Vogue or Uptown Movies, watching Western serials for a mere 20 cents. (If only the Vogue was still an old-timey movie theatre!) But, as she grew older, Marge had to be a responsible student and find a part-time job, which landed her at L.S. Ayres downtown, losing many of her Saturdays and evenings to a 75 cents/hour shift in second floor lingerie.

Post-high school, Marge followed most of her friends to what she labeled the “Shortridge Annex” – Butler University. And, like many college girls, Marge joined a sorority – Delta Gamma.

Marge (front and center - the only one not looking at the camera!) and her friends in the Butler Delta Gamma house.

Marge (front and center – the only one not looking at the camera!) and her friends in the Butler Delta Gamma house.

Marge holds other memories of old Indianapolis close to her heart. She remembers going to the Circle Theatre to see shows, then standing in the alley to get the autographs of celebrities – including Frank Sinatra’s! When Race Day came around, she and her friends would park in the Speedway infield and get a tan…more interested in bronzing and socializing than in watching the speeding cars. Sound familiar to anyone else?

But what Marge misses the most is the Tee Pee, a drive-in restaurant previously on the corner of 38th St. and Fall Creek Parkway.  The Tee Pee, built in 1932, was a popular milkshake and burger joint for teenagers. Marge has many joyous memories of the Tee Pee, but chuckled at the memory of hiding from her then-boyfriend (and future husband), Tom.

“I once got mad at Tom when we were dating, so I went out with my friends to the Tee Pee,” she said. “But then I saw his car pull in, so I got under the table to hide, not knowing that he had called my mother to find out where I was!”

With the rise of fast food in the 1970s, drive-in restaurants suffered. The Tee Pee was torn down in 1988.

“It broke everyone’s heart when they tore it down, including mine,” she said.

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The Tee Pee Drive-In circa 1975 with the Pepsi Coliseum in the background. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

The Tee Pee was torn down in 1988. Indiana State Library.

“Tee Pee No More,” Indianapolis News, Sept. 1988 – The Tee Pee is demolished. 

Marge met her husband, Tom, while working a 4-girl office insurance agency at 129 E. Market St. Tom worked across the hall as a claim adjuster at Buckeye Union. She had nicknamed him “the fat boy across the hall,” but finally agreed to go out for coffee with him one afternoon, trying to hide her guilt for dating someone from a rival insurance company. Unbeknownst to Marge, Tom had to snag money from friends to take Marge on dates to the Athletic Club.

The two married in Indianapolis in 1951 at Sweeney Chapel (now Robertson Chapel) at their alma mater, Butler University, and soon moved into their first house at 4706 Hillside.

Tom and Marge's first house, 4706 Hillside Ave. off of Keystone Ave. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

Tom and Marge’s first house, 4706 Hillside Ave. off of Keystone Ave. (which still stands) Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

4706 Hillside today. 2013 Google Street View.

4706 Hillside as it looks today. 2013 Google Street View.

Marge and her husband, Tom, 1989. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

Marge and her husband, Tom, 1989. Courtesy of Marge Faulconer.

By that point, Tom started a career in law, and Marge became a stay-at-home mom for their 4 children. In 1959, Tom earned nationwide recognition as Judge of the Criminal Court during the Connie Nicholas trial, a 5-week long murder case in which Ms. Nicholas was found guilty for murdering her lover, Forrest Teel, a top executive at Eli Lilly & Co.

Forrest Teel, top executive at Eli Lilly & Co., found dead. Indianapolis Times, July 31, 1958. Indiana State Library.

Indianapolis Times, July 31, 1958 – Forrest Teel found dead.  Indiana State Library.

Tom was later appointed to the Appellate Court of Indiana in 1963 by the governor and served our city until the mid-80s.

Tom and Marge raised their kids on the far northside of Indy in a 50s-style ranch house, which Marge still lives in. The home originally sat amidst farm land, and she remembers a cattle stampede happening once in their backyard. Now, it hides in a subdivision beside strip malls and busy traffic. Today, Marge is involved in her church, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, and enjoys spending time with friends, both old and new. She still speaks with a first-grade friend, Jane Biller Steinhart, every morning.

Marge misses the smaller size of old Indianapolis, but wouldn’t ever want to move from her childhood hometown. She would love to see Indy implant a better bus system, because the traffic is just too much for her liking.

17 responses to “Flashback Fridays: Marge Faulconer”

  1. Tom Davis says:

    Loved this piece (and I’m not related to Ellen, the author.) My main interest in history is the stories about people. For those who don’t know, Tom and Marge’s son, Tom, has written an excellent account of the Forrest Teel murder-Connie Nicholas trial entitled In the Eyes of the Law.

    I suppose it’s just a coincidence, but Judge Faulconer and Forrest Teel are buried within a couple hundred feet of each other in the same section of Crown Hill.

  2. Louis Mahern says:

    I believe that Little America was located on the West side of Keystone and on the South side of 62nd St. Pretty much where the Goodwill and the LA Fitness is currently located. I hit balls at the driving range there in 1965 after I got out of the Marines. Glendale had already been around since about 1958 or so.

  3. Norm Morford says:

    Thanks Ellen for this great account. Loved the shot of the “horsewoman!”

  4. mike says:

    US Highway ‘367’? Would that have been Shadeland Ave.? <From the postcard with Wheeler's Restaurant.
    I know Shadeland was called Road 100 for a long time, but I am wondering about this US Highway 367 that intersected US-67.

  5. John Ellis says:

    I had forgotten all about some of the places and names you mention. Reading about them brought back memories of my own. I’m glad Mrs. Faulconer was willing to share her memories with us. Thanks.

  6. dmikelsshea says:

    What a nice story about my long ago very nice next door neighbor–Marge (and Tom) Faulconer. They were l door north from our first home at 5646 Rosslyn (not sure but they were probably 5648–both homes still standing and looking as lovely as when we first saw the For Sale sign and “bit the bullet” to come up with asking price of $12,500. (Last time we saw an Open House sign at our old home, my daughter Kelly and I impulsively parked and went in….what a shock! The size of the rooms somehow had “shrunk” from our memories but the asking price was over $100,000!!!. So I am sure that Marge & Tom’s home too has passed through many hands since we lived in the area in the mid to late 50’s.

    At that time the city limits for our sec tion were at 54th st. just south of us. It was a friendly neighborhood of young marrieds and some older retired–worst neighborhood problem was yipping, barking “Fluffy” always tethered in front yard of the Goldmans on our block. Marge and husband Tom were good neighbors–on Sundays he always shared his NYTimes with me coming over to discuss local politics. So it is good to get and update and learn things we never knew about Marge–hope this reaches her to say HI.

  7. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    I hope I don’t offend either the writer or her subject by my comments, here, but the seventh photo from the top of the article — the one with the caption, “Marge and her sister in front of their home, 5464 Kenwood, circa 1931” — is NOT 5464 Kenwood Avenue. I am familiar with every home on that block. The exteriors of the homes in that part of Butler-Tarkington are mostly brick, and the styles are primarily Cape Cod or Tudor. Many are one-and-a-half-stories with dormer windows on the upper level. There are no alleys behind these homes in which kids could play Kick The Can. In addition, most of the homes in this northern part of BTNA were not built yet in 1931. They weren’t constructed until the late ’30s or early ’40s.
    .
    The one-story frame home that appears in this photo of Marge and her sister is more typical of the homes that were built in the early 1920s in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood. I believe the yard in which the Arnold girls are standing is 5331 Broadway Street, and the 2-story frame home next door to it is 5335 Broadway Street. These homes do have an alley behind them where kids could play Kick The Can. A home near 54th and Broadway Streets would have been in the School 84 district, whereas a home near 54th and Kenwood would have been in the School 86 district. Perhaps 5331 Broadway is where Marge spent the first 13 years of her life, and her parents moved to Kenwood Avenue when she was older?
    .
    Check out this Google map view: of 5464 Kenwood Avenue: http://goo.gl/maps/LNkic , and then check out this Google map view of 5331 Broadway Street: http://goo.gl/maps/0MvOF .
    .
    I have one other comment, and that is regarding the location of Little America. It was on the southwest corner of E. 62nd street and Keystone Avenue. It was NOT where Glendale Shopping Center was built in 1958 or the remodeled Glendale Town Center stands today. My husband’s family lived just south of Little America, at 61st and Hillside Avenue, and their property backed up to the amusement park. Mike and his brother used to collect the errant golf balls that landed in their back yard and return them to the operators of the driving range for a little pocket change.
    .
    I don’t mean to be unkind by mentioning these corrections, just striving for accuracy.

  8. Ellen Davis says:

    Sharon,
    Thanks for pointing these out. Marge lived in 4 different homes during her childhood, so I focused on just one so as to not bore our readers with many addresses. She did live at 5331 Broadway and then moved to 5464 Kenwood. I apologize for the errors and have made changes where necessary.

  9. Patty Faulconer Didandeh says:

    Ellen: Would you please send me your email address? My brother (Tom Faulconer IV) would like to get in touch with you. Thanks

  10. Gay Rivet Pearson says:

    Just want to say how much I enjoyed the story of Marge Faulconer. I am 79 yrs old and grew up in New Orleans but though my experiences were different from her’s in some ways they were the same! I sure hope the little house can be saved. Far to many all over our country are gone with the wind.
    My connection to Indianapolis is my great-great grandmother Julia A. Rogers. She came to Indianapolis in 1835 from Vermont to be a teacher in the new Sunday Schools.started by Rev. Dr. Coe. There she met a young man Thomas Brown, a journeyman printer for the Journal in Indianapolis. They were married in Cass County by Dr. Coe and soon left Indiana to become Presbyterian missionaries to Smyrna, Turkey!
    Thanks for Marge’s memories.

  11. Richard says:

    I just found this article and enjoyed reading it. I grew up in Indy and enjoy the local history. But what got me to this article is the reference to Little America. I was trying to find some history on the amusement park. Very little is available. I remember going to the amusement park as a child in the 50’s and I agree that it was located on the southwest corner of 62nd and Keystone. They had a number of rides but my favorite was the miniature train. I rode that train more times than I can count. I grew up thinking I would locate that train, restore it and run it around my property. I never got around to seriously searching for the train but after reading this article and with so much information on the internet I thought that maybe, just maybe, I might get lucky. I did. If you’re interested go to this website (http://www.arizonaandpacificrr.com/history/582/582.html) where you will find photos not just of a similar train but the train from Little America. It appears to have found a good home. Thanks, Ellen, for the memories.

  12. Joan Hostetler says:

    Richard, If you’re on Facebook you can see an aerial photo of Little America that was scanned for the Indiana Album. Thanks for posting about the restoration of the miniature train. https://www.facebook.com/IndianaAlbum/photos/pb.267308883401355.-2207520000.1406432490./479071508891757/?type=3&theater

  13. Judy Brown Pfeifer says:

    John,

    I too found myself remembering some of the places in this article. I remember going to Riverside Amusement Park and to the

    Tee Pee restaurant; that was when they had “car hops”. A term used for young people (usually girls,) who took orders to

    people while they sat in their cars in the parking lot. Thanks to both Ms Davis and Mrs. Faulconer for bringing wonderful

    memories to an old woman.

  14. Judy says:

    Oh my, how very fortunate I feel to have come across this piece today. So many memories for this ‘old lady’. Has she passed?….if not, please thank her for sharing.

    Judy Wright

  15. steve gibbs says:

    sorry to let you know, Marge, a dear friend of my wife’s passed yesterday.

  16. Tiffany Benedict Browne says:

    Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. May she Rest In Peace.

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