Author: Susan C Fassbender

Letters in a Mailbox

This archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” was first published 11 Oct 2015

October 10, 1950

On October 4th, Marie’s younger brother  Leo’s celebrated his 89th birthday, and yesterday would have been his 65th wedding anniversary. Sadly, he lost the love of his life, Angela, on 26 Sep 2011. But out of this sadness, a great friendship was born. My daughter, Kate sent Leo a sympathy card at the time of Angie’s passing due to the inevitable complications from Alzheimers. Leo responded to Kate’s message of sympathy, and soon monthly letters were being sent back and forth between New York City and Hilbert, Wisconsin, and in-person visits when Kate was home to see us. 

Marie – July 1940, Calumet County Park

Kate is home for a time, and on Friday headed off with birthday cupcakes to visit Leo. They had a great visit just the two of them – no mom and dad to put a damper on the flow of conversation that happens throughout the year via the written word. We did make one request. We asked Kate to ask Leo about a story he told while we were gathered in Marie’s room at the St. Paul Home shortly before her death. What we remembered from that day, was  that Leo had gotten into trouble at school, and a letter was being sent home for his parents from the principal. Marie was asked to intercept the letter. 

Marie and Leo – May 30, 1944

As Leo told the story to Kate, it happened his freshman year of high school, which was the 1941-1942 school year. During this time it was very unusual for a student to have a car available for them to drive to school. There was such a person in Leo’s class. Kate didn’t get the impression that this car was a point of jealousy for Leo, but it must  have created some annoyance. So Leo and a friend cooked up a plan. They decided to let air out of the tires of the car. They were caught. Taken to the principal’s office, the other boy was let go without punishment. Much like in today’s school system, athletes, especially during the season, are given special treatment for bad behavior. As Leo recalls, this boy was on the basketball team. Leo’s punishment was to be a letter sent home to his parents, granted this was not much of a punishment, but the “crime” did not really harm anything, or anyone. Knowing the letter was to be sent, Leo asked Marie to intercept the letter, which she gladly did. 

Leo’s parting comment about this incident? It was not the first time that Marie helped him to get out of trouble, and it wasn’t the last.

Rainy Day Easter Egg Hunts

This archived post from “The Aroma of Bread,” was first published 20 Apr 2014

Today is April 20th, Easter Sunday. After the winter that we all just lived through, one would have hoped for a warm and pleasant day, but it is only 52 degrees. And it is raining. Which brings to mind Easter of 1984, which was a cold, rainy, April 22nd.  

Butch and Marie loved to hold Easter Egg hunts for their grandchildren. When the weather was warm and clear, they would hide the plastic eggs filled with treats in their yard and around the house. But what to do when it was cold and rainy? Five grandchildren racing around the house while Marie had the kitchen full of meal prep, was not a recipe for a relaxing and joyful Easter Sunday. Butch’s solution: head to the factory for an indoor hunt.  

Early Easter morning, Butch, Gary and Dan would walk over to White Clover Dairy armed with a bag of filled plastic eggs. Heading for the basement warehouse they would hide the eggs on racks and pallets, both high and low. 

Later that morning, the grandchildren would be let loose to run through the warehouse collecting the eggs. One flaw in Butch’s system. He didn’t count the number of eggs that were being hidden, nor did he track how many were found. For weeks following the Easter hunt the warehouse manager would appear in either Butch or Gary’s office delivering a missed plastic egg.

Marie’s Apple Crisp

8″ x 12″ pan or 1 1/2 recipe for a 13″ x 9″

6 apples
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Peel and slices apples into pan.
  2. Combine flour, brown sugar and butter until crumbly, set aside.
  3. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over apples
  4. Sprinkle crumbs over apples
  5. Bake 375° for 30-40 minutes.

The House That Cook Built – Part 7

The Chronology of the House

I started this long process by asking the question. Who built the house that is now known as 1515 South  Park Avenue?

1880 Map of NW Section of Section 30

City documents tell us that the house was built in 1875, a detached garage was built in 1899, a gazebo in 1980, and a utility shed in 1997. That’s it. We know from the newspaper records that Harry worked to improve the structure, but the city is not very helpful in providing the information we need to actually “see” the house as it was, and what improvements were made.

One of the enduring stories is that Edwin Yule built the home for his bride. Another story states that Harry Cook built the home for his bride. My answer is yes to both.

We know there was a structure on the property when S.A. purchased the 16 acres. This structure was most likely a small farmhouse. Comfortable but not palatial.[1]

Undated photo from the Facebook page of the Alexandria Monroe Historical Society Museum

The house was in the perfect location to house a manager of the paper mill so he could easily “keep an eye on things.” It was also the perfect location to host S.A. Cook when he was in town, as it was just a short walk to the mill. The house would give Harry a home, and provide a room for Maud and Charles Lancaster when they were in Alexandria visiting. In 1901 S.A. offered Ed Yule the opportunity to reside in the home following his marriage to Georgina Lemon. The couple was to oversee the remodeling needed for the home to become the family base. And so it was that Ed Yule “built” the home for his bride. 

Several years passed, Ed and Georgina were still residents in “the home south of the city.” In 1917 as Harry made plans to marry Martha Wheeler Paine, it was time to remodel and expand the home, to make it the Cook House. In addition to expanding the home, Harry enhanced the beautiful grounds by adding a tennis court so that he and Martha could entertain guests with some “fast tennis.” 

The house was to be remodeled with entertaining in mind. Harry had “friends in high places” who would often visit. Among them were the Dodge Brothers of Detroit, Michigan. The Dodge Brothers, Horace Elgin Dodge, and John Francis Dodge [2] were car manufacturers, building automobiles under the Dodge Brothers brand. The company was sold to Chrysler in 1928. Other noted guests were Senator and Mrs. Austin M. Retheford, a democratic senator from Madison County, Indiana. The new design was perfect for entertaining.

Undated photo from the Facebook page of the Alexandria Monroe Historical Society Museum

Harry contracting sleeping sickness in January 1919 changed the family’s use of the home. As Harry recuperated in Florida, New York, and elsewhere, Martha chose to take their son Hosford, and move to Oshkosh, Wisconsin to reside with her parents. Harry’s continuing struggle to recover put a great strain on the marriage. [3] The couple divorced in 1928, and Martha received in the divorce settlement: “A portion of the furnishings of the Cook home just south of the city, which has been unused since the separation…”[4]

The house sat vacant for almost a decade coinciding with much of the Prohibition era lasting from 1920 to 1933. Is this the foundation for the stories about the home being a brothel,[5] a gin house, bordello, and gambling joint? A more recent owner, Linda Howell stated: “Back in the gin days, it was a bordello and a gambling joint.” 76-year-old Helen Melnick “remembers those days. ‘But my dad wouldn’t let me go there. He read the newspaper.’”[6] Empty houses are great fodder for a rumor.

On Saturday, June 23, 1934, the Colonnade Inn, “remodeled and refurnished” opened as a place for “special and private parties as well as prepared meals upon reservation.” Alexandria’s “New Eating Place” was managed by Mrs. Margaret Leachman, Miss Marcia Barton, and Miss Ruth Harrick, all of Anderson.”[7]

The Anderson woman only operated the Colonnade Inn for a few months, as it was announced in November Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Daniels had leased the home from Ed Yule and planned to open a restaurant. Arthur, a Madison County sheriff, and his wife, Georganna, were adding a new heating system and managing repairs on the house.[8] After a soft opening, the Daniels formerly opened the Colonnade on Sunday, April 21, 1935. “The management received many compliments on the beauty of the Colonnade and its many accommodations for tourists’ dining and group entertaining. Delicious food was served to guests who enjoyed the hospitality of the place.”[9] Over the next few years, The Times-Tribune was flooded with announcements of meetings at the Colonnade for every club, sorority, and organization. The events ranged from breakfast, lunch, or dinner meetings, holiday parties, even supper-dances, complete with a full orchestra.

The 1940 census gives us a glimpse into their lives. Arthur was now Alexandria’s chief of police, and Georganna was running the tea room assisted by her sister-in-law, 63-year-old Sarah Daniels. The census asks the number of hours worked the week of March 24-30, 1940, and both women responded: 70. Arthur was the informant that day, and he reported that his income as chief of police was $1,440 and that his wife had an income in 1939 of $780.00.[10]

Courtesy of Thom L. Burden, Annapolis, Maryland

By March 1942, the Daniels had turned the management of the Colonnade Tea Room over to Peggy Stephenson and Cele Weisse.[11] A notable event that year was the Lion’s Club “Charter Night lawn dinner party” held on July 16, 1942. The club had recently organized, and approximately 115 members and guests of the Madison County Lions Clubs gathered to present the Alexandria club with its charter.[12]

On October 2, 1942, the Muncie Evening Press announced that the “Colonnade Becomes Casualty of the War.” The Daniels “who have operated the establishment for the past nine years, announced that restrictions of war transportation made it impossible to continue on a profitable basis, and that they have decided to close the business for the duration.” During their tenancy “the house had been enlarged and remodeled” “so that as many as three or four groups could be accommodated with social conveniences and luncheons or dinners at the same time.”[13]

As they prepared to close the business, the Daniels were looking to sell some items. They took out a classified ad and listed for sale: a Kurtzman grand piano, slip-covered davenport, an oak dining room suite, a china closet, occasional chairs, dishes, a four gas stove, silverware, a chest of drawers, and “numerous other articles.”[14]

The Anderson Sunday Herald, April 2, 1961

The next tenants were Mr. and Mrs. Martin Burden and sons, who The Daily Times-Tribune reported as having moved back to Alexandria from Tell City in sorter Indiana on November 3, 1944, and were to “make their home at the Colonnade south of the city.”[15] They remained in the home until May 1957 when they moved to 1112 South Harrison Street in Alexandria.

The home was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Zimmer a year or two later, and during their stay they remodeled the kitchen, adding a “built-in sink,” range, refrigerator, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and a planning desk.  The kitchen also had birch walls with walnut exposed beams.  When they put it on the market in 1961 the home was presented as “one of Indiana’s famous showplaces, “At this time the house was situated on a “four-acre wooded hillcrest,” and was “exquisitely decorated, has steam boiler and new aluminum storm windows.” The Herman Brown advertisement stated that the house could easily be converted to commercial use, such as a restaurant, rest home, or clinic.[16]

The house was still on the market in October 1961 when a potential buyer filed a petition with the Madison County Planning Commission. The prospective buyer wished to open a restaurant and sought to have the 2.5 acres rezoned from residential to B-1” business. The petition was granted.[17]

Closing on the sale of the house Mr. and Mrs. Mark Green, along with their son, Dan, prepared to open a “party house.” The main level had a seating capacity of 80, and they planned to offer family-style meals, catering to children. Steaks, chicken, shrimp, and “Mrs. Green’s famous ‘ham loaf’” were on the menu. What they called a “separate small room,” the solarium, had a seating capacity of 15 and would be reserved for teas and committee meetings. The upstairs room would be the “party” room, with opaque window light controls to allow “films and slides to be shown during daylight hours.”[18] They held their grand opening on December 1, 1961.

Two years later, in November 1963, the Greens were looking to sell the property. The building, equipment, goodwill, and all future party reservations were all for sale.[19]

In early 1964 the home was purchased by Dr. Thomas F. (Fred) and Lois Owen.[20] Building on its notoriety as “one of Alexandria’s most beautiful residences,” Dr. and Mrs. Owen embarked on a remodeling project that was the subject of a newspaper article that provides another glimpse inside the home.[21] The house had 15 rooms on 2 floors, plus a basement. There were 3 1/2 bathrooms.  The 2.1-acre tract included a large garage plus a chicken house. 

2000

At the rear of the main floor were three bedrooms and a bath which were believed to have been used by servants in earlier years.  The space also included a butler’s pantry and two other first-floor rooms. In the large pantry was a signal system used in earlier times to indicate the location of rooms requesting assistance from servants.  

The full basement in the house was completely plastered. The basement included a furnace room, pump room, and a fruit cellar. There was also a pool room with a fireplace which was designed to be shut off and used as a bomb shelter.

The Owens installed glass doors on the two-way fireplace between the living room and solarium to reduce energy costs and had the living room’s coffered ceiling stained to match their furniture color, which was “somewhere between fruitwood and pecan.”  The family was using the solarium as a family room but planned on furnishing the room with wrought iron and moving the family room upstairs.

Country Living Magazine, March 2001

In 1985 the Owens were ready to move on. They sold the house to Linda Howell, who in December 1985 was renovating the house to accommodate eight elderly residents in a facility she called Elder House.[22] In 1991, the Elder House was home to 11 women and contained 13 bedrooms, five bathrooms, sun porch, living room, dining room, and kitchen. By 1999 business had slowed, and Linda “opened a bed and breakfast, while also continuing to house elderly on the ground floor.”[23]

The house was listed for public auction In December 2002. It was appraised at $400,000 and described as a “Beautiful updated 22 room mansion, 12 bedrooms, seven bathrooms, spacious living, dining, family room and foyer areas. Newer kitchen w/appliances. Chair lift to upper level. Lovely garden with gazebo, small rented 1 bedroom home unattached to mansion, covered carport, beautifully landscaped with large mature trees, three fireplaces, inside servants stairway, outside stairway, office areas, exterior wood and vinyl siding, gas hot water heat, gas water heater. 7512 sq ft.”[24]

In February 2007 eBay was the auction platform used when Franz Reheild from California put the house on the market. With a “new room recently added to the building.” Where? The article states he took out a building permit. I am speculating, but is this when the door was moved to the center of the main house, and the two front windows were removed? The eBay sale fell through, and the house was back on the market in April 2007. 

March 2009 Jimmy Peters was the purchaser of the house. He placed it back on the market in May of 2016. It remained in his possession until February 2020, when Clearleaf Short Alternative Fund picked up the house for $41,000. The firm sold the home in December for $80,000.

Today in September 2021, the house is back on the market. The Zillow listing reads: the “property has 2.1 acre and two homes. It is zoned residential and commercial. Large home has new roof needs complete re hab. Small home has new roof, new wiring, new plumbing, New HVAC, new tankless water heater. Garage converted home into a 2 bed home. Kitchen cabinets are new and ready for new owner to install.”[25]

Stay tuned.

2018

Sources:

  1. According to the map there are actually two dwellings in this section. Was the building in the west half moved to join the building in the east half? Not unheard of.
  2. Both were to die in 1920. John in January from the Spanish flu, and Horace in December. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge
  3. Please read She Was Hopeful Till the End – Part 1 and She Was Hopeful Till the End – Part 2
  4. “Life Insurance Policy $25,000 to Mrs. Cook,” The Times-Tribune, 21 Feb 1928, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016).
  5. “Hotels–Indiana–Madison County,” Clipping Files, 1989-2002; OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 880652327, WorldCat Database; Indiana Historical Society Library, Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana. Cit. Date: 14 May 2016.  
  6. Linda Ferris, “Elder House to open house on Sunday,” The Times=Tribune, 16 Jan 1991, Wednesday, p. 1 & p. 8, col. 1 & top; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Jun 2016). 
  7. “New Eating Place To Open Sunday,” The Times-Tribune, 20 Jun 1934, Wednesday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 Jun 2016). 
  8. “Colonnade Inn To Be Reopened,” The Times-Tribune, 9 Nov 1934, Wednesday, p. 5, col 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 Jun 2016). 
  9. “Colonnade Is Opened Sunday,” The Times-Tribune, 23 Apr 1935, Tuesday, p. 3, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 6 Jul 2016).
  10. 1940 U.S. census, Madison County, Indiana, population schedule, Alexandria, 3rd Ward, Monroe Township, enumeration district (ED) 48-54, sheet 14 (penned), p. 328A (stamped), household 322, Arthur Daniels household; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 Sep 2021); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T627, roll 1073. 
  11. “Business And Professional Review of Alexandria,” The Times-Tribune, 20 Mar 1942, Friday, p. 3, col. 3; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 6 Jul 2016).
  12. “Lions Club Is Given Charter,” The Daily Times-Tribune, 16 Jul 1942, Thursday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 15 Sep 2021).
  13. “Colonnades Becomes Casualty of the War,” The Muncie Evening Press, 2 Oct 1942, Friday, p. 2, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 21 Dec 2017).
  14. “Classified,” The Daily Times-Tribune, 12 Oct 1942, Monday, p. 4, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 12 Sep 2021).
  15. “Burdens Coming Back Here to Reside Again,” The Daily Times-Tribune, 3 Nov 1944, Friday, p. 4, col. 3; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 12 Sep 2021).
  16. “For Sale,” The Anderson Sunday Herald, 2 Apr 1961, Sunday, p. 27, col. 8; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 12 Sep 2021).
  17. “Rezoning Approved,” The Times-Tribune, 12 Oct 1961, Thursday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, Newspapera.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 6 Jul 2016). 
  18. “‘Colonnade’ to be party house,” The Times-Tribune, 2 Nov 1961, Thursday, p. 1 & p. 3, col. 7-8, & 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 6 Jul 2016).
  19. “FOR SALE!,” The Times-Tribune, 14 Nov 1963, Thursday, p. 7, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 6 Jul 2016). 
  20. “Planning to build…   …or remodel?,” The Times-Tribune, 15 Apr 1964, Wednesday, p. Builders Edition, col. 5-8; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 30 May 2016).
  21. “Planning to build… …or remodel?.”
  22. Mary Graves, “Elder House comes to Colonnades,” The Times-Tribune, 4 Dec 1985, Wednesday, p. 1 & p.2, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 27 May 2016). 
  23. Jenna M. McKnight, “Restful Inn.,” Pharos Tribune, 13 Jan 2002, Sunday, p. C1, col. full page; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE (www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 17 May 2016). 
  24. The Times-Tribune, 27 Nov 2002, Wednesday, p. 10, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 17 Jun 2016). 
  25. https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1515-S-Park-Ave-Alexandria-IN-46001/97338853_zpid/

The House That Cook Built – Part 6b

The Alexandria Paper Company 1930-1970

In the United States, a federal census is taken every ten years, 1930 was a census year. The Edwin Yules were enumerated in their home at 212 Lincoln Avenue in Alexandria, with a stated value of $10,000, and they owned a radio. Edwin was now 55 years old, and Georgina was 54. Ed gave his occupation as Superintendent of a Paper Company, and that he was a wage earner. [1]

Postmarked 1930

49-year-old Harry Cook enumerated in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was paying $333 per month for rooms in the Ambassador Bungalows. [2] He claimed he was retired. Residing with him was his “servant/nurse,” Jessie Carter Duncan, age 38. [3]

Charles and Maud Lancaster were not enumerated in 1930 as they were on their annual trip to Europe and did not land in New York until May 9th, having departed from Southampton on May 3rd. The passenger list states that their permanent residence was in Alexandria.

Harry was never able to recover from the sleeping sickness. Over the years there would be bright moments where he appeared to be on the mend, but soon there would be a relapse and a continued slow decline. On January 23, 1931, Ed and Georgina were called to Harry’s bedside as he “had taken a turn for the worse.”[4] He passed away two days later with both Ed and Georgina at his side; Charles and Maud were in Paris, France. Thankfully the Yules were there to make the arrangements. Ed contacted the paper mill to let superintendent and long-time friend William Brannon know that they would accompany the body to Neenah, reaching Chicago at 8 a.m. on the 28th, and leaving Chicago on the 9 a.m. train.[5] William traveled to Chicago to meet the train and to accompany the funeral party to Neenah. Arriving in Neenah, the body was taken immediately to the Oak Hill Cemetery Chapel where a brief funeral service was conducted by the pastor of the Presbyterian Church. Harry was buried near his parents in the Cook family plot.

As Maud was in Europe, Ed Yule went to the Madison Circuit Court on February 3rd to qualify as administrator, and he “took immediate charge of the settlement of the estate.”[6] Maud returned to the United States in May,[7] and in August both she and Ed were qualified as executors, and the will was filed for probate in the circuit court. Included in the will was a $50,000 life insurance policy made payable to the estate.[8] The Notice of Final settlement was published on February 27, 1933, and the final settlement occurred on March 17th.[9] “No sale of any assets of the estate was made in carrying out the provisions of the will.” “Among property assigned to the sister in the distribution of the estate is one half-interest in home property in Neenah, Wis., one-half interest in seven lots in Orono, [Hennepin Co.] Minn.; certain interests in lumber lands in Canada; 950 shares of common stock in the Alexandria Paper Company; 423 shares in the Phillips Company, of Chicago; 17 shares Anderson Banking Company stock; 13 shares in Manufacturers National Bank, Neenah, Wis., and 30 shares in the Great Northern Life Insurance Company.” The Cook house in Alexandria was not listed in the published list of assets.

Neenah, Wisconsin was always “home” for Maud, and the S.A. Cook Armory built by her father and dedicated in 1907 to the cities of Neenah and Menasha, was just one reason for regular trips to the city. When her father dedicated the building to Company I, he did not anticipate a second world war which resulted in the reorganization of the military forces and thus left the city without a designated military unit. And so the building reverted to the Cook estate. Maud would not donate the building until 1937, the new deed had “no legal strings attached” other than that it should always be known as the S.A. Cook Armory.[10] [11]

It was on one such trip home in June 1933 to visit friends, when Charles contracted pneumonia. He passed away on June 26th at the Valley  Inn. He was 65 years old. Maud accompanied her husband’s body to Manchester, Vermont, arriving July 5th on the 2:38 p.m. train. They went directly to Dellwood Cemetery, where the pastor of the congregational church conducted the funeral service.[12

In January 1936, Maud and Edwin Yule determined that it would be in the best interest of the Alexandria Paper Company to reorganize. The company reorganized with a capital stock of 3,000 shares of $100 par value.[13]

Ed was keeping busy as manager of the Alpaco Farms, and his February 12, 1936 shipment of hogs made the news due to it being one of the largest shipments from Alexandria in a long time. The shipment consisted of 334 head, averaging 246 pounds for a total weight of 82,280 pounds. The hogs averaged $25.07 per head for a net receipt of $8,474.03.[14]

Nine years after closing the paper mill, it was time to start selling bits and pieces of the mill. Ed Yule as treasurer announced on March 13, 1937, that the paper-making machinery and equipment had been sold to Abe Cooper of Syracuse, New York. Maud, as the owner of the factory, traveled from New York City to “close the deal.” The thirty acres of land that the factory was built upon was “not included in the deal.”[15] In September 1939, “several of the five-ton rolls from the old paper making machines” were sold to a Chicago firm.[16] With the removal of the rolls “the old mill will be practically empty.”[17] And in March of 1940 work began to dismantle the building.

The building was sold to the Hetz Construction Company of Warren, Ohio, and work to dismantle the mill began, with all materials such as second-hand lumber, sheeting, I-beams, pipes, etc. offered for sale. Eleven local men were hired for the demolition, which was expected to take two months.[18] Shinkle Wrecking Company was assisting the Hetz Construction Company in the demolition.

I wonder what thoughts were going through Maud and Edwin Yule’s heads as they stood and watched the demolition of a dream. Maud was certainly there to witness the event as she was enumerated in the 1940 United States Federal Census on April 26, 1940, residing as a Lodger with Ed and Georgina. 

The census enumerator listed the three living at 212 Lincoln Avenue, the value of the home: $6,000. Ed was the one to open the door to the enumerator and to answer the questions. He stated he was 66 years old, he had completed four years of high school. He listed his occupation as that of a farmer, receiving a salary of $4,300, and has an income of $50 or more from sources other than wages or salary. Ed stated that his wife, Georgina, was 65 years old, had completed four years of high school, and was not employed, but receives income of $50 or more from sources other than wages or salary. Residing with them as a lodger was Maud Lancaster, age 63, Widowed. He told the census enumerator that she had completed one year of college and that she was residing with them on April 1, 1935. She was unable to work but receives an income of $50 or more from sources other than wages or salary.[19]

In 1948 Maud was approached by the Alexandria Conservation and Gun Club looking to lease “the old paper mill ground, south of Alexandria.” She agreed. In 1950 the club conducted 36 hunts, participating in a state-wide crow war, finishing third. They also “conducted Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey shoots; released 150 pheasants and 100 quail, and sponsored three successful fox drives. A temporary wind-break was installed on the club grounds and installed two traps which will throw single or double birds.”[20] Six years later in September 1954 the club had “to give up their shoot grounds at the south end of Harrison Street on the Paper Mill farm,” now owned by Ed Yule. The club continued to “hold shoots on the Summitville club grounds, until it could find new grounds in the Alexandria area.”[21]

Adolf Fassbender, The White Night, 1932. From the collection of Kathryne Fassbender. The Pierre is in the center of the photograph.

Maud Christie Cook Lancaster passed away on April 7, 1949, at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. She was 70 years old.[22] Following a service in Grace Church, her remains were brought to Manchester, Vermont, where a funeral service was held on April 9th in Zion Church. She was placed beside her husband in the Lancaster Mausoleum in Dellwood Cemetery. William Brannon’s son, Drysdale, attended the service. “Some cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Yule of Alexandria, Ohio, [sic] came on to New York when they learned of Mrs. Lancaster’s death, but they were detained by illness from coming to Manchester for the services.”[23]

Ed was appointed Executor of her estate on April 20, 1949. The notice of final settlement was published on October 26, 1951.[24] No details of her will or the estate have been found, but it can be assumed that Edwin Watson Yule was her sole heir.

William H. Brannon, age 87, now the managing editor of the Marion Chronicle passed away on August 22, 1950. In 1903, he and his family had moved from Neenah to Alexandria when he took the position of superintendent of the paper mill. He remained in this position until the mill closed.[25]

In 1958 Alexandria was in desperate need of a new school. The perfect location for the new joint system high school was 35 acres just south of the city, on land currently owned by the Yules. The Yules gifted the 35 acres that had a value of $1,000 per acre.[26] The property was located on “11th Street Road west of the intersection of South Harrison Street and 11th Street Road.” Alexandria lore tells the story this way: “In the late 1950s, the school board was looking to build a new high school. Members approached Ed about buying 37 acres of his land on 11th street. Ed’s wife said, ‘Just give it to them,’ but Ed said that he didn’t think that was good, so he sold it to them for $1.”[27]

On February 11, 1959, Ed lost the love of his life Georgina Louise Lemon Yule. She passed away at their home following a “lingering illness.” She was 84 years old. A member of the Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Ed chose to have the funeral service conducted by the pastor of his church, the First Christian Church. She was first buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Alexandria but was moved to Crown Point Cemetery in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana in April 1967.[28]

Gifting of the land for the new high school was only the beginning of Ed Yule’s legacy to the city of Alexandria. On September 8, 1965, an option was signed with Ed to buy the remaining Alpaco Farms property.[29] The 310-acre plot was to be developed as a golf course with home sites and named the Yule Golf Course and Estates. The proposal included an 18-hole, par-72, golf course consisting of 176 acres designed by Henry Culp; approximately 200 home sites, and three ponds with connecting waterways. They planned to sell shares of common stock at $10 per share to finance the project.[30] The first full season of golf was played in 1967.

Included in the 310 acres purchased by the Alexandria Community Development Corporation (ACDC), were the 20 acres that had been the Alexandria Paper Company campus. The acreage included the old office building, two ponds, and what remained of the crumbling paper mill. Howard and Patti King purchased this property from ACDC in May 1970 and proceeded to make the office into their home.[31] A portion of the Cook’s dream lives on in their renovation.

In 1966 Ed celebrated his 92nd birthday. The party was held at the Alexandria Building and Loan, complete with german chocolate cake, coffee, and ice cream. Newspaperman Bud Zink sat down with him to learn more about his “origin story,” but found that “trying to bring his biography up to date following that time…is impossible. There isn’t even a record photograph of Mr. Yule to be had anywhere…but we snookered him this morning” by having a snapshot taken.[32]

Edwin Watson Yule passed away on December 1, 1970. He was 96 years old. Funeral services were conducted by the pastor of the First Christian Church before he was entombed next to his wife in the Crown Hill Mausoleum, Indianapolis, Indiana.

The passing of Ed marked the end of an era. While much of Alexandria had long ago forgotten the Cook name and the family’s contribution to the community, my hope is that S. A., Harry, and Maud would feel that Ed had been a good steward of their legacy. 

Ed Yule was a man “admired and respected by those who work with him and for him.” He “has made his mark on our town since the turn of the century.”[33]

SOURCES:

  1. 1930 U.S. census, Madison County, Indiana, population schedule, Alexandria City, First Ward, Monroe Township, enumeration district (ED) 48-41, sheet 18, p. 174A, dwelling 454, family 482, Edward W. Yule household; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Apr 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 605.
  2. https://www.usinflationcalculator.com states that $333 in 1930 equals $5454.96 today in 2021.
  3. 1930 U.S. census, Atlantic County, New Jersey, population schedule, Atlantic City, 4th Ward, enumeration district (ED) 1-31, sheet 1, p. 81B, dwelling 29, family 23, Henry H Cook household; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Mar 2003); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626.
  4. “Harry Cook Critically Ill at Atlantic City,” The Times-Tribune, 23 Jan 1931, Friday, p. 1, col. 3; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 27 May 2016).
  5. “Harry H. Cook Died Suddenly Atlantic City,” The Times-Tribune, 26 Jan 1931, Monday, p. 1, col. 7; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016).
  6. “Yule Appointed to Settle Cook Estate,” The Times-Tribune, 4 Feb 1931, Wednesday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 Jun 2016).
  7. Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving in New York, New York, 1820-1957; Record of Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives, Washington, D.C., “New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957,” database, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 Sep 2021), Charles and Maud Lancaster; citing: 1931; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 23 & 24; p: 17.
  8. “Bond Approved in Harry Cook Estate,” The Times-Tribune, 12 Aug 1931, Wednesday, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 Jun 2016). 
  9. “LEGAL,” The Times-Tribune, 13 Mar 1933, Monday, p. 4, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 Jun 2016).
  10. “Armory Will Be Permanent Home of Present Users,” (Oshkosh) The Oshkosh Northwestern, 1 Jul 1937, Thursday, p. 17, col. 2. Cit. Date: 3 Jul 2005. 
  11. The armory was torn down in 1987. The stone sign “S.A. Cook” was placed in Cook Park, Neenah, Wisconsin.
  12. “Charles F. Lancaster,” The Bennington Evening Banner, 28 Jun 1933, Wednesday, p. 3, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 25 Jan 2021).
  13. “Articles of Incorporation,” The Indianapolis News, 8 Jan 1936, Wednesday, p. 9, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 21 Dec 2017). 
  14. “Big Shipment of Hogs to Yard at Muncie,” The Times-Tribune, 13 Feb 1936, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 23 May 2016). 
  15. “Paper Mill Machinery At Alexandria Plant Is Sold,” The Indianapolis News, 15 Mar 1937, Monday, p. 9, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 21 Dec 2017). 
  16. “Moving Old Rolls,” The Times-Tribune, 16 Sep 1939, Saturday, p. 2, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 21 Sep 2016).
  17. “Paper Machines Are Dismantled,” The Carthage Citizen, 22 Sep 1939, p. 8, col. 5; digital images, NewspaperARCHIVE (www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 4 Dec 2017). 
  18. “Dismanatling Of Old Paper Mill,” The Times-Tribune, 21 Mar 1940, Thursday, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Jun 2016).  
  19. 1940 U.S. census, Madison County, Indiana, population schedule, Alexandria City, First Ward, Monroe Township, enumeration district (ED) 48-52, sheet 23, p. 238A, household 665, Edwin Yule household; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Apr 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T627, roll 1073.
  20. Gene Swindell, “From The Sidelines,” The Times-Tribune, 3 Jan 1951, Wednesday, p. 4, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Jun 2016).
  21. “Gun Club Gives Up Alex Grounds; Seeks New Land,” Alexandria Times-Tribune, 16 Sep 1954, Thursday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 22 Sep 2021).
  22. “Mrs. Charles Lancaster Early Resident, Succumbs In New York,” The Times-Tribune, 7 Apr 1949, Thursday, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 16 Nov 2019).
  23. “Summer Resident Dies in New York Hotel,” The Manchester Journal, 14 Apr 1949, Thursday, p. 2, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 25 Jan 2021). 
  24. “Notice of Final Settlement of Estate,” The Times-Tribune, 26 Oct 1951, Friday, p. 3, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 6 Jul 2016).  
  25. “Ex-Superintendent of Alexandria Firm Dies at Age of 87,” The Muncie Star, 22 Aug 1950, p. 3, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 Sep 2021).
  26. “Yules Give New School,” Alexandria Times-Tribune, 27 Feb 1958, Thursday, p. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 21 Dec 2017).
  27. “Clubs/Organizations. Riley Club hosts Guest Day,” The Times-Tribune, 19 Oct 2011, Wednesday, p. 4, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 17 Jun 2016).
  28. Published burial information, Crown Hill Cemetery and Funeral Home (Indianapolis, IN), <www.crownhill.org>, Yule, Georgina L.  Cit. Date: 29 Apr 2016.
  29. “A New Future Appears On Horizon For Alexandria,” Alexandria Times-Tribune, 8 Dec 1965, Wednesday, p. 1, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 25 Sep 2021).
  30. “310-Acre Tract Under Option By Local Corporation,” Alexandria Times-Tribune, 7 Dec 1965, Tuesday, p. 1, col. 8; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 25 Sep 2021). 
  31. Marilyn Miller, “Paper mill site restored to gracious residence by Kings,” The Times-Tribune, 14 May 1975, p. Spring Builders Addition, p 1-2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 5 Jun 2016). 
  32. “bud Zink,” The Times-Tribune, 4 Apr 1966, Monday, p. 1 & 2, col. 1 & 3; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Dec 2017).
  33. Ibid.

The House That Cook Built – Part 6a

The Alexandria Paper Company 1919-1930

The rich farmland of Madison County played a role in choosing the location for the Alexandria Paper Mill in 1899. S. A. may have been a serial entrepreneur by day, but farming was still strong in his blood. Over the years he slowly added additional acreage to the original 30 purchased to support the mill. This land was divided into small farm plots which were rented on a stock sharing basis. These farm plots supported a balanced crop rotation, along with the raising of livestock including hogs, beef and dairy cattle, sheep, poultry, and horses. He called this land the Alpaco Farms (Alexandria Paper Company Farms).

The seven hundred acres of the Alpaco Farms were located in Madison and Delaware counties. The buildings were painted in the same color scheme on every farm. Farm dwellings were painted white, while the barns were red with white trim. [1]

The farms provided a way of life and income for some Alexandria families, it was the Alexandria Paper Company that was the “pride of the community,” employing about 150 men and women. It was a “good place to work” as employees were “treated right under every and all circumstance.” [2]

Leading the company founded by his father, S. A. Cook, was Harry Cook, president, and general manager; his brother-in-law Charles Lancaster, vice-president; Edwin Yule, secretary-treasurer; and  William Brannon superintendent.

1921

Harry was in Chicago, Illinois when the news came over the wire that the Armistice had been signed. The fighting of World War I had stopped. Upon hearing the news, Harry “got into immediate connection with the Alexandria paper mill and gave instructions to tie down the big whistle and let her blow.” [3]

As the men started to return, they were welcomed home with open arms by their families. At the first call for men to go to war, the paper mill had established a rule “that all good workmen would be taken back when they returned from war.” Harry stated that no distinction would be made “between the enlisted and the drafted man.” [4] The men of Alexandria found their jobs waiting for them upon arriving home.

In June 1919 the Alpaco Farms, and the farmers of Madison County brought their wool to market. “A noticeable feature of the delivery of the wools [3,300 pounds], was the fact that only one wagon was used. All the farmers with the exception of one used automobiles to carry the wool to Alexandria.” [5]

The corn was not “knee high by the 4th of July” in the cornfield on West Eleventh Street, where no corn would grow on a patch of land measuring 40’ x 60.’ “Thereby hangs a tale. Over ten years ago a saloon did a thriving business at this place and business was good on account of the large number of customers from the Alexandria steel factory. The conclusion is reached that the owner of the bar emptied bags of beer in the rear of the saloon building,” and now nothing will grow on this patch. [6]

1920 looked to be a profitable year at the paper mill. Harry, in Florida, still convalescing from sleeping sickness was in frequent communication with mill superintendent, William Brannon. With this promising forecast, he implemented a 12 1/2% wage increase for all employees, both in the factory and the office. [7]

Harry’s road to recovery was long. In April 1921 he left Florida heading for New York, spending the next year and a half in Southold on Long Island. By October 12, 1922, he had recovered sufficiently to return to Alexandria, arriving in a “special Pullman” railway car, accompanied by Ed Yule, with Charles and Maud Lancaster. [8] I believe this to be the last extended visit he made to Alexandria. By January, Harry had returned to Florida, [9] and in 1924 settled in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

While the doctors were unable to find a cure for Harry’s sleeping sickness, the Yule’s were so grateful for the advance in medicine when on April 4, 1923, Georgina was rushed to Anderson for an emergency appendectomy. She came through the “ordeal in splendid shape” and the doctor “looked for no complications to set in.” [10]She was able to return home 25 days later on April 29th, and “her complete recovery from her recent operation is only a matter of a short time.” [11]

The summer storm that rolled through Alexandria on the morning of June 28, 1924, headed straight for the paper mill. William Brannon reported that “a sudden windstorm came upon us at 7:30 this morning and by the time it reached our mill it had assumed the form of a ‘twister.’” The twister hit the “huge steel smokestack that towered a hundred feet or more skyward” and “was struck by a hard wind about ten minutes before 8 o’clock this morning and fell with a crash. It broke in the middle, the top half smashing through the roof of the coal house, while the lower half fell against the big brick chimney, where it is now resting.” No other damage was done, and work began immediately to remove the stack and erect a new one. [12]

1925 started with a lawsuit. The Citizens National Back of Newcastle, as guardian for Harry, filed a $200,000 suit against Charles and Maud, alleging that they had “fraudulently obtained possession” of 500 shares of Harry’s stock in the Alexandria Paper Company. To read more about the suit and Harry’s guardianship, please read “She Was Hopeful Till the End – Part 1.”

On September 3rd fire ripped through the paper mill. A bearing in a rolling machine overheated which started a blaze that “ignited felt roller coverings” and “set fire to some material in a pit under the machine and quickly spread to the roof of the building.” The fire department, quick to respond, found the employees had “formed themselves into a fire brigade and held the flames in check” until the fire department arrived. But the true hero was the automatic sprinkler system installed at the mill, which “worked to perfection.” Superintendent William Brannon, and Ed Yule, now serving as general manager, reported that the mill would continue to operate while repairs were made. “This was the first time in 23 years that the city fire department was called to the paper mill to extinguish a fire.” [13]

Martha and Hosford were spending the winter of 1927 with family and friends in Naples, Florida. The day of February 16th dawned warm sunny, and they were spending the day at the beach. Hosford was playing in the surf with other children when he “got out too far and was drawn out into the Gulf of Mexico by the undertow of waves.” [14] Unable to rescue him, Hosford drowned. The news reached her parents as Martha prepared to accompany her son’s body to Oshkosh. Following a private family funeral, Hosford was placed to rest in the Paine Mausoleum in Riverside Cemetery. [15]

The sudden death of his son prompted Harry, now living permanently in Atlantic City to write a codicil to his Last Will and Testament. He changed the beneficiary list bequeathing $15,000 to his caretaker, Jessie C. Duncan, which was in addition to all payments due her for services, and the remainder to his sister,” Maud Lancaster. [16] Upon his death, in addition to his portion of his father’s estate, Maud would be in full control of the Alexandria Paper Company and all of its land holdings in Alexandria and elsewhere. A wealthy woman made even wealthier.

The climate of the paper industry was changing, and the demand for newsprint was on the decline. Many plants were switching their manufacturing to other types of paper or closing their doors. In October 1928, the Alexandria Paper Mill closed, with the final order shipping on November 9th. [17] “Jake Miller the last engineer of the plant, shed tears of sadness when he blew the company whistle for the last time.” [18]

Corn stalk pulp. As paper mills were seeing a change in the need for newsprint, the government was experimenting  with making paper from corn stalk pulp. [19] With the Alexandria Paper Company so recently closed, the Chamber of Commerce moved quickly into action by contacting the Department of Agriculture to see if they would be interested in the mill for their experiments “with corn stalks and other growths for the manufacture of paper.” The Chamber believed that “Alexandria is a very favorable place for some of the experiments, especially in making paper from corn stalks, on account of the abundant supply of the raw material which may be obtained near at hand.” [20]

In March 1929, the Agricultural Department of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States published their findings. The report stated that wood could be grown and harvested on a large scale by few producers, whereas the use of corn stalks would require a large initial capital investment in a raw material that is “dependent upon thousands of individual producers as in the case of corn stalks,” making the process of turning corn stalk pulp into paper not “applicable on a commercial scale.”

The quest to use corn stalks for paper products continued to be a topic of discussion. A year later, in March of 1930, a representative from a “group of men who wish to obtain control of the local factory for the manufacture of wall board from corn stalks” was in Alexandria to look at the paper mill as a possible production facility. [21] While in town the representative met with the Better Business Bureau and Ed Yule to discuss the proposal. “Nothing definite developed from either of these conferences” as it was “indicated that it would be necessary for the citizens of Alexandria to purchase stock in the proposed company to the extent of $100,000, which would be 49% of the capital stock. In return for their investments, the local stockholders were to have majority on the board of directors.” [22] The citizens of Alexandria were not prepared to make such a large investment in an experimental project.

SOURCES:

  1. “Farm News,” The Muncie Evening Press, 17 Sep 1935, Tuesday, p. 3, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 21 Dec 2017).
  2. The Times-Tribune, 1 Dec 1919, Monday, p. 2, col. 1-2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Jun 2016).
  3. “Pandemonium is Turned Loose When News Came From State Department.,” The Times-Tribune, 11 Nov 1918, Monday, p. 1, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Jun 2016).
  4. “Men Discharged From Army Find Old Positions,” The Times-Tribune, 18 Feb 1919, Tuesday, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 15 Jul 2016)
  5. “Farmers Sell Wool Clip Here This Morning,” The Times-Tribune, 25 Jun 1919, Wednesday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 May 2016). 
  6. “Beer Saloon Is Blamed for the Failure of Corn,” The Times-Tribune, 9 Jul 1919, Wednesday, p. 1, col. 7; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Jun 2016).
  7. “Paper Mill Employes Receive Wage Increase,” The Times-Tribune, 1 Apr 1920, Thursday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 27 May 2016).
  8. “Alexandria,” The Muncie Evening Press, 13 Oct 1922, Friday, p. 6, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 1 Dec 2017).
  9. “Kittinger Has Counsel Here,” The Elwood Call Leader, 12 Jan 1923, Friday, p. 8, col. 2-3; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 15 Jul 2016). 
  10. “Mrs. Yule Undergoes Operation And Is Reported As Improving,” The Times-Tribune, 4 Apr 1923, Wednesday, p. 1, col. 3; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Jun 2016).
  11. “Mrs. E. W. Yule is Home From St. John’s Hospital,” The Times-Tribune, 30 Apr 1923, Monday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016).
  12. “‘Twister’ Hits Big Steel Smokestack Paper Mill,” The Times-Tribune, 28 Jun 1924, Saturday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 10 Jun 2016).
  13. “Fire Damages Big Paper Mill Last Evening,” The Times-Tribune, 4 Sep 1925, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 5 Jun 2016).
  14. “Get Details of Death,” The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 18 Feb 1927, Friday Evening, p. 4, col. 2; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 Mar 2003), Newspapers & Publications. 
  15. A Child Lost
  16. “Cook’s Sister Gets Large Part of His Estate,” The Times-Tribune, 11 Aug 1931, Tuesday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 May 2016).
  17. Interstate Commerce Commission, Decisions of the Interstate Commerce Commission of the United States. February-July 1933  (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1933), 194: 615. Cit. Date: 20 Sep 2021.
  18. Sue Marston, “Old Paper Mill Will Again Have A Heart Beat,” The Times-Tribune, 15 Apr 1970, Wednesday, p. 8; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 May 2016).
  19. “Making Paper From Corn Stalks,” The Times-Tribune, 20 Dec 1928, Thursday, p. 2, col. 1-2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Jun 2016).  
  20. “Wait Further Information On Paper Making,” The Times-Tribune, 9 Feb 1929, Saturday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 Jun 2016).
  21. “Seeking Paper Mill As Factory For Wall Board,” The Times-Tribune, 3 Mar 1930, Monday, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 Jun 2016). 
  22. “Wall Board Plan Fails to Obtain Response Here,” The Times-Tribune, 12 Mar 1930, Wednesday, p. 1, col. 7; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 4 Jun 2016).

The House That Cook Built – Part 5

Harry and Martha

The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917. In early May he joined other men from Alexandria traveling to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Lawrence, Marian County, Indiana to take the field artillery examination for entrance into officer’s training school.[1] He was “told by officials that he could do more good for his country by returning to Alexandria and look after his factory.”[2]

Harry returned to Alexandria determined to help in any way that he could. With this goal in mind, he created what the boys would name: Camp Cook. “Seventy-five acres of fine soil south of the new beautiful home of Harry Cook” was prepared for the potato seed that he had ordered from Wisconsin. Harry intended to provide the people of Alexandria and the government with potatoes at cost.[3] He reached out to the Boy Scouts of Madison County to plant, tend, and harvest the potato crop.

Carpenters from the mill arranged the camp and erected tents for the approximately 30 boys who would arrive in June. A final detail was to have the water flowing from the well south of mill was safe. Upon arrival at the camp, the boys erected a fifty-foot flag pole, enclosed the area with a fence, and planted flowers. 

The potatoes were ready for harvest the first week of October. Orders were taken at the paper mill office, $1.25 per bushel. No deliveries would be made. “As soon as the people here are supplied, the potatoes will be sold to the government.”[4]

As Harry worked to enlarge the paper mill’s farm, he purchased 21 cows and heifers in Wisconsin and had them shipped to Alexandria. Charles Lancaster, now head of the agricultural and livestock department, took charge of the shipment.[5]

Liberty Bonds was the government’s chosen way to pay for the war. There were four campaigns to sell the bonds; the second campaign started October 1, 1917, and Harry, on behalf of the Alexandria Paper Mill, purchased $50,000 in bonds. The bonds were credited to both the Alexandria and Commercial banks. Harry stated that the employees of the mill would purchase their bonds from the company.[6]

At the November 14, 1917 stockholder meeting of the Commercial Bank & Trust Company, both Harry and Edwin Yule were elected as directors. “Both gentlemen are citizens of Alexandria and both are well known as business men of superior qualifications and integrity.”[7]

As winter turned to spring, Harry’s thoughts again turned to baseball. Westside Park where “many a hot baseball game has been stages with some of the fastest independent teams in the state is no more.” The land had been purchased, the grandstand and fence removed, and the ground returned agriculture. The “land will be leased for farming purposes to help win the war.” In response to the decision to raze the ballpark, Harry made the statement that “Alexandria will have one of the fastest independent ball clubs in the state after the close of the war.”[8]

S. A. was failing. In late 1917 he had suffered a stroke, and while unable to get around, had been in good spirits. On April 4, 1918, with both of his children at his bedside, “Shortly after four o’clock at his home on North Commercial street this morning death closed the career of Ex-Congressman S. A. Cook.” News of his death “cast a shadow of sadness over the entire community” of Neenah and Menasha. “Young and old alike respected this big citizen and his memory will long be honored by those, and they include all, who were privileged to call him friend.”[9] Samuel Andrew Cook was 69 years old.

Two thousand people attended his funeral held at the armory that bore his name. The services were brief and included a reading of scripture by the pastor of the Presbyterian church, followed by a prayer by the pastor of the First Methodist Church, and remarks from the pastor of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Following his remarks, the G.A.R. assumed charge, and the remains were taken to Oak Hill Cemetery where he was laid to rest next to his wife, Jennie.[10]

Harry and Martha were expecting their first child, a son, born on July 13, 1918. The joy S.A. would have felt at welcoming his first, and only grandchild, who was named Henry Hosford Cook. Hosford being the maiden name of Martha’s mother, Elizabeth May Hosford Paine. 

Hosford (or Cookie as he was affectionately called), was born in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois at Presbyterian Hospital. His father was 37 years old, and his mother, 23. They listed their residence as the Alpaco Farms in Alexandria.[11]

The proud father made a quick trip to Alexandria on July 17th, before returning to Chicago.[12] While he was at the mill he presented each of the 160 employees a $10.00 bill accompanied by an engraved card.[13] In a 1970 interview, Robert W. Gaither shared this memory of the event:  “One occasion that sticks in Mr. Gaither’s mind was the day Harry Cook’s son was born. ’I remember so well,’ he said, ‘when Harry sat on the steps of the old office building and gave everyone who came through a ten-dollar bill.’”[14]

A few days later on July 31, Harry called an emergency meeting of the Alexandria Paper Mill stockholders. With the passing of S.A., there was a need to elect new company officers. At that meeting, Harry was named president and general manager, Charles Lancaster, vice-president, and Edwin Yule, secretary and treasurer. The company as “one of the flourishing institutions” of Alexandria, was running year-round and employed about 160 men.[15]

The fourth and final Liberty Loan campaign began on September 24, 1918. On the 26th, Harry headed to the Liberty Loan headquarters and purchased a subscription for $25,000, making it the largest single voluntary subscription for this campaign.[16]

A year after his father’s death, S.A.’s estate was settled. The Daily Northwestern reported that after all of the provisions of S.A.’s will were met, the remaining estate to be distributed “included $320,002.11, the Cook homestead at Neenah and eight lots in Hennepin county, Minnesota.” This was to be “assigned in equal shares” to Harry and his sister, Maud.[17]

I have stated before that S.A. was a serial entrepreneur. I believe he thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of creating a company from scratch. The thrill of watching an idea grow and flourish. He also had the skill to run a successful business, to put into leadership roles the personalities and skill sets that will work together to further his idea. This is not an easy thing to do. Many people get it wrong, and companies flounder and fail. I believe his success was due not only to his ability to understand a business but because he was a good, honest man.[18] A testament to his business acuity is the amount of his remaining estate. In his will he was very generous to many people and organizations. Very generous. Yet the amount remaining to be distributed equally between his children was $320,002.11 (love the eleven cents). Entering this number into the calculator at www.usinflationcalculator.com that amount today is equivalent to $5,049,799.77. And that is just the cash distribution, the property he owned is not part of this amount. The will does not mention the 16 acres in Alexandria upon which the house sits. 

The receipt of such a large inheritance prompted Harry to write his will. The will was witnessed on April 30, 1919. It bequeathed one-third of his property to his wife, Martha Paine Cook; one-third to his sister, Maud Lancaster, and one-third to be held in trust for Hosford.[19]

While Martha may not have been a big fan of baseball and football, she was an avid tennis player. While speeding three months of the summer of 1919 at her parent’s home in Oshkosh, she had participated in a tennis tournament. This sparked the idea of a new tennis court at the house. In June, plans were drawn for the new court which was to be located across the road from the home on the “Anderson Pike.” “The new tennis court will be equipped with all the latest tennis equipment.”[20] Work began on the court in September. and by October was “the scene of some fast tennis set.” This first court must have been a grass court, as plans were already in place to replace the current court with a “concrete court early in the spring.”[21]

Harry was a lover of automobiles, and he was specifically a fan of the Locomobile, having owned several over the years. In April 1914 he traded in his six-cylinder Winton touring car for a brand new Locomobile Torpedo Stern Roadster, capable of doing 90 mph.[22] He traded in the roadster in March 1917 for a Locomobile touring car with a yacht body.[23] I believe this is the car that was valued at $8,000 in July 1919. The car made the news on July 9th, when The Times=Tribune reported that a “Short Circuit Caused a Blaze In Front Seat.” Harry had been having ignition problems and had the car in for service. Returning home that evening he discovered a smoldering fire under the front seat. A bucket brigade was “hastily organized,” and the blaze was extinguished. The damage was covered by insurance.

1921

Charles and Maud passed through Alexandria on their way to the Pacific coast in late October. In their honor, Harry and Martha threw a small house party. “The out-of-town guests were Senator and Mrs. Austin Retherford. Hallowe’en decorations prevailed.”[24] On November 7th the newspaper reported that the Lancasters continued on their journey west, with plans to stop in Neenah.[25] The reason to mention this? As they had been “guests at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Cook,” indicates that they had not kept a residence in Alexandria.

Harry again showed his generosity when at Thanksgiving he gave a “Thanksgiving Remembrance” to each employee of the paper mill, the farm employees, as well as “the employes at the Cook home.” 160 employees received a $5.00 bill as a Thanksgiving remembrance.[26]

Christmas was a quiet affair for the small family. Shortly after the new year, Harry traveled to New York City on business. While in New York he caught what he thought was a cold. The cold was so bad that it sent him to the hospital. It was not a cold, he had contracted Sleeping Sickness. 

As this is to be a story of the house, I invite you to read more of Harry and Martha’s story here: She Was Hopeful Till the End – Part 1, She Was Hopeful Till the End – Part 2, A Child Lost and A Mother’s Grief.

The 1920 United States Federal Census was enumerated on January 29, 1920. The house was not yet a numbered residence. H. H. Cook was enumerated as the Head of Household, age 38, President of a Paper Company. It was noted that he owned the house, free of a mortgage. Residing with him were his wife, Martha, age 25, and son, Henry H. age 1. 

The census is enumerated first as Households, second as Families living within the household, and third each Individual included in the family. Residing in the Cook household, as a separate family, were the Jordans. John F. Jordan, age 58, listing his relation to the Head of Household as Servant. I find this fascinating; I would have expected him to be listed as the Head of his own household, as he was renting his living quarters. John worked as the caretaker for the Cook property. Living with John, was Mary Jordan, age 56, Servant, working as the Cook, and Opal Jordan, age 15, Servant, working as a Table Maid.[27]

By August 1920, Martha and Hosford were residing full-time in Oshkosh, the Jordans continued to stay in the house, acting as caretakers. 

In August 1921 Mary “housekeeper at the Harry Cook home, south of town” reported to The Times=Tribune that the “White Rock pullets hatched April 8 are now laying.[28] This is quite remarkable for a pullet so young to be laying.” I am sure that she regretted that contacting the newspaper as the next day “Chicken thieves got into the Cook chicken house at the home place on the paper mill grounds Sunday night and stole 35 White Rock chickens.” “No clue to the thieves has been discovered.”[29]

In January of 1923 after living on the Cook property for five years, the Jordans decided to move into their own home in the city.[30] Mary continued to serve as housekeeper and caretaker of the property. In August of that year, she arranged for the house to be “painted a beautiful white, which is very attractive to passersby.” As a thank you to the three men who spent days on the job, she “entertained” them at dinner. In return for her hospitality, the men presented her with an aluminum roaster.[31]

The house was now standing vacant. Mary was at the house only “intermittently to air and clean” since her move into town. She had last been on the property in early November 1924. On January 10th she got an uneasy feeling and decided that she needed to check on the house. She no longer had a personal set of keys, so she called a the paper mill office for keys and went to the house. It had been broken into. 

The “thieves had gained entrance through a basement window on the north side of the house. The window was hidden from the road by the sun parlor which has a projection to the north. Three outside doors were found unlocked.” “Every room had been entered and the contents of all drawers, wardrobes, closets, pantries and even the attic had been rummaged. In the latter place, a sharp knife had been used to cut through a trunk. The contents were strewn promiscuously about the floor of the attic.”

A partial list of the articles stolen are: a “cabinet Victrola; an electric vacuum sweeper, a new broom; an entire set of fine china; glassware; a cut glass punch bowl; a carving set; all bed linen, table linen and towels; a small Victrola broken and the motor removed leaving only the box; all wool blankets and comforts; pillows; electric lamps; four overcoats; two dozen shirts; and may other articles.”[32] The thieves “were evidently equipped with one of those giant moving vans into which four or five tons can be loaded and hauled away without any trouble.” “A local wag wanted to know how come they didn’t ‘pack away the huge colonial pillars in front of the residence.’”[33] The “palatial residence of Harry Cook” was not the only robbery, the May hardware store had also been robbed. The police had no clue but stated, “that in both cases the robberies were committed by professionals making a tour of the state in autos.”[34] There is no further mention of the robbery, or who the thieves may have been.

The house remained in both Harry and Martha’s names until some time after February 1928 when Martha filed for divorce. At that time she received a “portion of the furnishings of the Cook home just south of the city, which has been unused since the separation.”[35]

Henry Harold Cook passed away on January 25, 1931, in Atlantic City, Atlantic County, New  Jersey. He was 49 years old. Harry was brought to Neenah for burial and was buried near his parents in Oak Hill Cemetery.

SOURCES:

  1. “For Field Artillery,” The Times-Tribune, 9 May 1917, p. 3, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 31 Aug 2021).
  2. “Our Boys Santa Claus Fund,” The Times-Tribune, 27 Nov 1917, Tuesday, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 17 Jun 2016).
  3. “Potatoes To Sell At $1.25 A Bushel,” The Times-Tribune, 8 Oct 1917, Monday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 27 May 2016).
  4. Ibid.
  5. “Pure-Bred Dairy Herd Arrives,” The Times-Tribune, 9 Jul 1917, p. 4, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 1 Sep 2021).
  6. “Paper Company Subscribes $50,000,” The Times-Tribune, 26 Oct 1917, Friday, p. 1, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 1 Sep 2021).
  7. “H. H. Cook and E. W. Yule Now Directors,” The Times-Tribune, 15 Nov 1917, Thursday, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016). 
  8. “Farewell Baseball,” The Times-Tribune, 14 Mar 1918, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 16 Jul 2016).
  9. “Death Closes Career of Ex-Congressman S. A. Cook,” Neenah Daily Times, 4 Apr 1918, Thursday, p. 1, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 22 Jan 2019).
  10. “The Funeral of Mr. Cook.,” The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 8 Apr 1918, Monday Evening, p. 5, col. 1; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 15 Dec 2016).
  11. FamilySearch, “Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878-1922,” database and images, FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 4 Jul 2012); Henry Hosford Cook; Reference ID: 25709, GS Film Number: 1308838, Digital Folder Number: 004403114, Image Number: 01020.
  12. “Cook Says ‘All’s Well’,” The Times-Tribune, 18 Jul 1918, Thursday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 27 May 2016).
  13. “Munificence of Mr. and Mrs. Cook,” The Times-Tribune, 22 Jul 1918, Monday, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 27 May 2016).
  14. Sue Marston, “Old Paper Mill Will Again Have A Heart Beat,” The Times-Tribune, 15 Apr 1970, Wednesday, p. 8; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 May 2016).
  15. “Alexandria Paper Co. Holds Annual Election,” The Times-Tribune, 1 Aug 1918, Thursday, p. 1, col. 3; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 18 May 2016).
  16. “One $25,000 Subscription,” The Times-Tribune, 26 Sep 1918, Thursday, p. 1, col. 7; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 27 May 2016).
  17. “Settle Cook Estate,” The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 17 Apr 1919, Thursday Evening, p. 10, col. 1; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Apr 2016), Newspapers and Magazines.
  18. I need to compile a list of descriptive phrases that have been published about Samuel A. Cook.
  19. “Cook’s Sister Gets Large Part of His Estate,” The Times-Tribune, 11 Aug 1931, Tuesday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 May 2016).
  20. “New Tennis Court,” The Times-Tribune, 13 Jun 1919, Friday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 May 2016).
  21. “Tennis At Cook Home,” The Times-Tribune, 7 Oct 1919, Tuesday, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 19 May 2016).
  22. “A High Powered Machine–,” The Times-Tribune, 30 Apr 1914, Thursday, p. 1, col. 3; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Apr 2016). 
  23. “Cook Purchases New Car,” The Times-Tribune, 23 Mar 1917, Friday, p. 1, col. 7; digital images, Newwpapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 17 Jun 2016).
  24. “Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Cook Entertain,” The Times-Tribune, 31 Oct 1919, Friday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 27 May 2016).
  25. “On Their Way West,” The Times-Tribune, 7 Nov 1919, Friday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016).
  26. “Thanksgiving Remembrance,” The Times-Tribune, 26 Nov 1919, Wednesday, p. 1, col. 3; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016). 
  27. 1910 U.S. census, Madison County, Indiana, population schedule, Monroe Township, enumeration district (ED) 122, sheet 9, p. 48A, dwelling 206, family 207-208, H. H. Cook household; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Mar 2003); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 449. 
  28. “Laying At Tender Age,” The Times-Tribune, 3 Aug 1921, Wednesday, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016).
  29. “Steal 35 Fine White Rock Chickens At Cook Home,” The Times-Tribune, 9 Aug 1921, Tuesday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016).
  30. “Planning To Move In Their Own Home Soon,” The Times-Tribune, 20 Jan 1923, Saturday, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com  (www.newspapers.com : accessed 20 Jun 2016).
  31. “Mrs. Jordan Entertains,” The Times-Tribune, 3 Aug 1923, Friday, p. 1, col. 5; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016). 
  32. “Bold Thieves Break Into The Cook Home,” The Times-Tribune, 10 Jan 1925, p. 1, col. 7; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016).
  33. The Times-Tribune, 12 Jan 1925, Monday, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016).
  34. “No Clue to Robbers Who Looted the Cook Home,” The Times-Tribune, 13 Jan 1925, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016).
  35. “Life Insurance Policy $25,000 to Mrs. Cook,” The Times-Tribune, 21 Feb 1928, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 May 2016).