1900 to 1930
Louise (Lula) Barth marries Henry J. Bollinger in 1907 at
the age of 19. They live in Evansville at 25 W. Eichel in a
home that her mother and father, Catherine and Jacob Barth,
paid a large down payment on. They did the same for Lula’s
brother Ben who lived next door at 27. Marie remembers
Lula’s house was paid for but the 1920 Census says it, and
Ben’s, were both mortgaged. Lula’s children enter the
picture quickly with twin boys Earl and Neal born the next
year in1908. Henry works as a miner at the Diamond Coal coal
mine at NW intersection of Stringtown Rd and Morgan Ave.
Marie is born in 1911 followed by Ruth in 1913.
Meanwhile, 10 miles southeast on the Williams farm in West
Franklin, mother Amelia Williams tragically dies in 1914. At
only the age of 45, she dies of spinal meningitis shortly
after the birth of her third son William. Andrew has no
chance of making the farm work and so takes his ten children
to live in Evansville where the older daughters can get
work. The first world war takes place in 1911 to 1918. The
boys are way too young to serve. Work is plentiful until
after the war.
Walter works at messenger service about 1925 and later at
Swift & Company packing house near the stockyards at the
west end of W. Eichel. Swift is at corner of Read and
Morgan. Earl works for them for the rest of his career as
accountant. Sister Ruth works for Swift & CO. also but for a
short time. Walter and Marie live with Lula for a year and a
half and rent a house across the street. The great
depression hits hard in 1929 –Walter and Marie are 21 and 18
Old Perspective Map of Evansville
In 1888 the perspective map of Evansville you see here was
prepared. It was hand drawn with a great deal of effort
since there were no airplanes at the time. It is on the
The web site allows you to zoom in on any part and can be
printed. You select the amount of zoom and then click on the
smaller navigation picture on the right where you want the
center of the zoom to be. If you zoom in to the maximum
amount you can see numbers indicating points of interest.
These three views of the map (Views A, B and C) were
compared to a current map of Evansville and reviewed with
Walter and Marie Williams in 2001 to jog their memories. The
following notes resulted.
Map - View A (Zoom on
was a busy river city at the turn of the century. The city
was built around the ship traffic and the early layout of
streets was parallel to the Ohio River rather than
north-south and east-west. As the city expanded into the
area shown in the upper portion of the map, it was changed
to a conventional layout by the compass. The east-west road
that divides the old and new layouts is named Division
Street in the eastern section and Pennsylvania Avenue in the
western section of town. The population in 1888 was 53,000.
There is one main road that goes from the center of ship
commerce to the north-east and makes a wide sweeping curve
to the north. That is Main Street. Just to the right of the
sweeping curve is the main railroad yard of the Louisville
and Nashville (L&N) railroad. Along the top of the View A is
seen low hills and some wooded areas. To the right at the
top, there is one road that angles off to the right. That is
Stringtown Road. Looking straight north from 25 W. Eichel
about 10 blocks distant will later become the area where
Walter, Marie, Ruth and Lula will live in the early 40s.
The Willard Library can be seen behind an oval shaped
driveway just to left of center of the View A. Considering
the view to be comprised of six panels, Walter and Marie
Williams always lived in the upper right panel. To show you
more of that Views B and C have been made by zooming in on
the pertinent areas. In all views the sweeping curve of Main
Street is seen to give a frame of reference.
There was a lot of industry at Evansville in 1888 and up
through the two world wars. There are some major industrial
sites shown on the map including a Cotton Mill, furniture
factory (Walter says there were many in later years), plow
works and machine works each owned by Heilman, and Cook
Brewery, Melzer Soap, and others.
Map – View B
This view is of the area at the Main Street curve. The train
tracks can be seen down the middle. This is the area that
Walter Williams grew up. Walter remembered he and Marie
separately went to Baker School as children. They did not
know each other then. The school is near the corner of Baker
and Michigan Streets seen on View B. Marie started school
there an went all the way through 8th grade. She remembers
having to take summer school to pass on to high school.
There now is a second Baker school a dozen blocks east. She
then went to Central High School. Their rival was Bosse
High. Mom remembered her 10 block walk to Baker school from
her W. Eichel Ave home and how they would play marbles all
the way on the sidewalk. There were curbs then she recalls.
Across Baker Street from the school is St. Lucas Church and
Walter remembers it was German and called "Kirchen" instead
of church. It can be seen in the map. We believe it was
Evangelical and Reformed because Lillian Bollinger sought
out that denomination when coming to California and found it
on Orange Grove Blvd in Pasadena. Howard was baptized in St
Lucas as a baby and there is a story that he wet on the
minister. Walter remembers the minister was very stern.
Marie’s brother Earl Bollinger played the French horn in the
church orchestra and brother Neal the coronet. Lillian
Bollinger's uncle was in charge of the church orchestra.
lived four places in Evansville before he was married. The
two in his earlier boyhood are very near (within 5 blocks or
so) the court house and Walter remembers his father walking
with the family mantle clock to set it by the court house
clock and as a boy Walter got a kick out of the fact that it
chimed while he was carrying it. The first house was on 10th
Street about a block below Pennsylvania Ave and very near
Main St. Then they moved across Pennsylvania Ave to Indiana
St (one block above) and apparently close to 10th.
The third was a double tenement house on Governor Street, on
the west side he believes, near the corner of Indiana Ave.
It was there that Walter and Bob witnessed a terrible
accident between two motorized fire engines. They were both
on the same call and from different stations. Their paths
intersected near the Williams home. There were injuries
involved. Walter saw they were headed for each other but
could not do anything to prevent it. On Governor Street they
had a rat problem and had to fight them with sticks
sometimes. The girls were upstairs and guys downstairs. A
rat crawled into bed with one of the sisters and everyone
was awakened by the screams that followed.
As young men, Walter and Bob moved together to a place on
Harriet Street that was fairly close to downtown so was
likely in the vicinity of about Virginia Street. Walter
didn't know it but he was gradually moving closer to Eichel
Avenue where Marie lived and also didn't realize she was
waiting for him. After they were married in 1931, over 70
years ago, Walter moved in with Marie in Lula's home. Earl
and Neal had moved out by then. Neal moved to St. Louis for
awhile. They were able to save rent money and buy their
first home at 2517 N. Lafayette Ave above Diamond Avenue
(not yet built on the 1888 map). Up until after WW II,
Diamond Ave from Baker to about Governor was a city dump.
Howard and Bob used to play there a lot. Sometimes it would
be crossed to get to Henry Reis School.
Walter's sister Grace moved to Mary St. a couple blocks away
when she got married. Howard remembers visiting her there as
a boy and how big the house was to an 8 year old. The
staircase and the porch seemed especially large. The house
may have been built before the turn of the century and could
possibly be shown in the 1888 map.
Marie worked for at least 5 years or so at Plumbers Supply.
It was located on Division Street not far from where Walter
lived as a boy for so long. She said she walked from Eichel
and it was about 14 blocks or so. There was a trolley on
Main Street so she may have taken that. At least in bad
weather she may have taken it. Plumbers Supply sold
wholesale including heating and cooling equipment. Shortly
after Marie quit, they opened another office in Louisville.
Walter's sisters were said to have walked to their jobs at
Fendrich Cigar Factory. That was started in the 1850’s in
Evansville and a new large factory was built in 1912 at
corner of Oakley and Pennsylvania. An advertisement in 1922
shows it to be huge. It was close to where Walter Williams
and his sisters lived downtown. They only had to walk a few
blocks. Fendrich made Denby Cigars and used Cuban tobacco
shipped up the Mississippi. It was the world’s largest cigar
manufacturing factory. It also made corn cob pipes. Cigar
making takes great skill to cut the leaf for best usage and
roll with perfect tightness and it takes about four years to
get the skills. Women are especially adept to those skills.
Lula Bollinger had a much longer commute from Eichel Ave. It
was about 18 blocks down Main St and 8 more blocks down
Pennsylvania. There was a streetcar line that she must have
Marie remembers clearly her dad having a car. It had plastic
like windows that could be dropped down. Her Dad, Henry
Bollinger, worked at the Diamond Coal Mining Company which
had a coal mine operating with the power of horses, mules
and men’s aching backs. The 1888 map shows the mine to be on
the north side of Morgan Ave. and on the east side of
Stringtown Road. This is about 6 blocks from 25 W. Eichel
Ave where the family lived. So they could easily hear the
noon whistle and Marie’s brothers sometimes would go to the
mine to share a hot bowl of soup with their dad. Henry
worked in the mines at first and later got a position as
accountant in the main offices above ground. There is a
photo of the mine on a postcard in the Willard Library. We
have seen on family photos that Lula’s older brother Ben
lived next door to Lula at 27 W. Eichel and assume the house
number where Marie and Walter bought across the street is
likely either 24 or 26.
Marie supposes her mother Lula walked or rode the trolley
the 18 blocks to Fendrich Cigar Co. as she worked there
also. Lula was determined that her daughters wouldn't work
there and sent them to Business College to be sure. Making
cigars took a lot of concentration and must be very tiring.
Map - View C
this view you can see Eichel Ave is laid out in 1888, but
apparently there are no homes yet. It is to be a part of the
Garvin's Park Subdivision which is at the north boundary of
the city then. I suspect that Pigeon Creek, as it crosses
from west to east above Morgan Ave in the north, it
supported the grove of trees which are sketched there. You
can see the stockyards that used to be a half block or so
from the Eichel house which was near Main St. They intrigued
William “Stocky” Williams, Walter’s younger brother, and
hence his nickname. Walter remembers the stockyard smell
being a problem some times. To make things worse, once in a
while they would burn the hides and leave a pall of stinky
smoke over that area of town. He remembers people from Posey
County bringing livestock by the head for processing. Swift
& Co was close by as it processed much the meat for shipment
to other cities. There were a lot of electric streetcars but
Walter always walked even as a boy. In the 1888 map there
seems to be two coalmines and Walter remembers that fact.
Since the Bollinger twin boys (Marie’s brothers) walked to
the mine at which their father worked, we suspect it is the
one shown in the upper right of View C and is seen better in
the enlarged inset. It is very close to where Henry Reis
school was later built – the school where Howard went to K -
3rd grade. His cousin Bob Bollinger went K-6th there. If
Henry Reis were built early enough it would have been closer
for Marie to walk to it. And Howard’s Uncle Bob and Aunt
Mary lived only a few blocks east of that Henry Reis school.
Addresses of Relatives in 30s and 40s
who visits Evansville and has an interest in the early
locations of relatives can drive by those places with this
information. Lula Bollinger's home where Marie grew up, and
Walter and Marie lived in their first 1-1/2 years married,
is 25 W. Eichel Ave. Walter and Marie then rented a house
(1931) across the street until about 1934 when they bought
their first house about a half mile away at 2517 N.
Lafayette Ave (between Negley and Parkland Avenues). The
house cost $1700 and they paid it off in 1936. Ruth and
Frank and also Neal and Lillian lived on Elsas Ave across
Heidelbach Blvd from Lafayette. Their houses were adjacent
and on the middle of the east side of the block. The two
houses had adjacent driveways and the lots were fairly deep.
Lula's house when she was married to Henry Felts was on the
east side of the same street (Elsas) and was on the corner
Walter's sister Eva and husband Bill lived at 2527 W.
Franklin St. Oldest sister Lulu Orth lived at 2464 W.
Virginia which runs 2 blocks north of Franklin. Sister
Lillian Shelton lived at 3059 N. Grove which is west of
Kratzville Rd and just north of state route 66 (Diamond
Ave). Mayme lived at the parsonage she shared with another
lady from the church at 1110 E. Virginia Street. Before that
she lived at a church compound in Louisville KY. Brother Bob
and wife Mary lived at 1920 Harding Ave. which is just north
of Boonville road (Morgan Ave) and the first street east of
federal highway 41. It is only a few blocks as the crow
flies from the Henry Reis school that Howard and Harold
attended. The school is still there at New York Ave and Reis
Ave. That is just south of Diamond Ave. and just west of
Bill and Alice Williams lived in Indianapolis at 1740 Wade
St. off the Raymond State Expressway. Howard was fortunate
to be able to visit all these homes on a business visit to
the ALCOA plant on the Ohio in Warrick County in the mid
80s. Coincidentally, Leroy Orth used to drive a truck for
the plant. Harold and Beryl were able to visit Bill and
Alice before they died.
Of Grace's kids, Edward "Wayne" Diamond worked for Southern
Gas and Electric. Marlene moved to Indianapolis and very
graciously took care of Bill and Alice there in their old
age. The youngest, Darrel Diamond, went on to law school and
became a judge in Delphi Indiana. Jack Bullock was an
accountant. Billy Dartt owned a gas station on or near
Franklin Street near downtown Evansville.
remembers as a boy the family once drove east from
Evansville, past the north end of the airport, and out into
the country where they visited a farm and had a farm meal.
He remembers the cellar with canned pickles and the dinner
including chicken and dumplings. He wonders if it could have
been a relative near Tennyson town near Boonville. Walter
and Marie do not remember the visit. Could it have been an
uncle or aunt Bollinger who did not move to Evansville as
Baseball and basketball have always been big in Evansville.
Bosse Field is the name of the ball diamond at Garvin’s Park
that within walking distance from Walter and Marie’s family
home on Lafayette Ave. It is where they to see 4th of July
fireworks. Howard remembers spraining his ankle walking on a
curb in Garvin’s Park. And also how the fireworks looked
like they would come down on the observers. And he remembers
sliding on the winter ice in the ponds there. The relatives
watched the people ice skating on the ponds.
This 1888 Perspective Map is 116 years old. It was made 33
years after the Civil War ended and the same year Marie’s
mother Louise (Lula) was born. When Walter Williams was born
in 1908, the map was only 20 years old and Evansville likely
looked very much as you see in the map. When his son Howard
was born (1937) nearly 67 years ago, the map was only 49
years old. The city had expanded mostly north and east by
then. The main expansion was north of Morgan Ave. and east
of Highway 41. Dress Airport was added in the northeast.
Garvin’s Park was added in the north. The University of
Evansville in the east. After WW II many of the old
factories (mostly brick) shown in the map were closed. Some
were torn down and some in the downtown area were abandoned.
Others mostly downtown remain empty.