Life stories in the rubble

 

The library can be seen in the lower left of this photo.

Story and photos by WNLP’s Mike Kellems

A couple of weeks back, when the weather was incredible, I was driving down Maple Avenue when I saw two large piles of rubble. They were the remains of two or three houses (I honestly couldn’t tell if it was two or three) in the 1000 block, just west of the La Porte County Public Library. 

In the time it took me to pass by I was struck by this thought: “How much life must lie in that rubble?”

The remnants of the basement on the corner. The former La Porte High School turned Boston Junior High can be see in the background.

I don’t know the history of any of the homes; I don’t know anyone who lived there and I’m not even sure why they were razed. Nevertheless, it set me to thinking. There were a couple of huge piles of bricks, splintered wood and twisted metal. What went on here in the days and months and years that they stood in the shadows of La Porte High School turned Boston Junior High?

I’m assuming the homes were at least 60 or 70 years old and may very well have been lived in by generations of one family over the decades. To be sure, children were raised and Christmas was celebrated, along with a plethora of other holidays. Surely everything from birthday celebrations to funeral wakes took place in these homes. 

Mike Kellems

Did any of the families welcome home a loved one from the armed services? Did a newly minted husband carry his bride over the threshold? How many high schoolers posed on the stoop for pictures with their dates before heading to the prom? Each year on the 4th of July, did they grab some lawn chairs and blankets and walk the two blocks to Lincoln Way to pick a good spot for the parade? How many fathers took their sons out in the back alley and showed them how to change the oil in the family car? How many mothers sat with their daughters and cried over a lost love? How many inches of snow were shoveled off the sidewalk over the many years? How many students walked by these places on their way home from school? 

If the walls of these lost homes could talk, they’d fill many books. And the books would be best sellers. 

When I first saw the piled up rubble, I was just a touch sad thinking about the loss someone may have felt with their family home about to be carted off in the back of a dump truck. As I walked around the property and snapped a few photos I started to think about the history, the character of the neighborhood, the many events that happen inside four walls. It occurred to me that the game of life went on here. I hope life is as good now as it ever was for those families. 

10 Responses to “Life stories in the rubble”

  1. Stephen Leliter

    Dec 03. 2020

    Well done, Mike . I was able to go through my childhood home from 50 years ago. I told and showed the current owner things about the home which really made it a home.. It was fun, a little sad, and educational. To this day, I go past the home and hope to speak to the current residents.

    Reply to this comment
    • Mike Kellems

      Dec 03. 2020

      I’m glad you were able to spend quality time at your childhood home.. that is green stuff “Mr. Leliter”!! So you know, some of my love for news and history came from a teacher I had in the 5th grade at Crichfield!

      Reply to this comment
    • Tim Cavinder

      Dec 04. 2020

      I remember the day you stood before the class and explained that we were going to have a substitute that afternoon because your childhood house had sold and it would be the final time you could walk through it. You talked about living there with your father and the meaning it held for you. I’ve always remembered that ( along with your Lyndon Johnson impersonation).

      Reply to this comment
  2. Mickey Rogers

    Dec 03. 2020

    Judging from the street view on Google, they were over a hundred years old. Maybe 1900 or so? And they didn’t appear to be in bad shape, so I’m curious what will be replacing them.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Grannie

    Dec 03. 2020

    These 3 properties are owned by the Library. It is so sad that the character of this neighborhood is changed forever.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Joy

    Dec 03. 2020

    Thank you so much for your wonderful insite of life and love. We don’t know the story behind the demolition of these homes, but as you shared, Life Stories are all the events honored while those four walls stood strong. May all of those memories be blessings.

    Reply to this comment
    • Wake up

      Dec 03. 2020

      Great article! Good to know so many others think about such things too. Thanks, Mike

      Reply to this comment
  5. Kay Warner

    Dec 03. 2020

    Mike, you do know the people who owned these house (3). Doug and I attend the same church as you and 1012 Maple was owned by a retired police officer you worked with . We had lived at 1010 Maple since 1978. We raised our 3 kids there, and sent them off to their own lives from there. We planned all there graduations parties there and each of their weddings. All 3 of the houses were built very early in the 1900’s making them at least 110 years old. Houses wear out and these houses were well loved and cared for but there time had come to an end. . Both of the end houses were 2nd generation rental properties. We had a great relationship with both generations of landlords. Many of the renters were there for more than 5 years, so they were truly part of the neighborhood. It was sad to see them go but at least for us the move was a wonderful blessing from God.

    Reply to this comment
    • Mike K

      Dec 03. 2020

      Kay… thanks for filling in some blanks! More than a century of memories made there… impressive!

      Reply to this comment
  6. Julie

    Dec 03. 2020

    I so appreciate your thoughtfulness and insight. I had the privilege of living in Bellevue Apartments for nearly 10 years and now a Historical Home built in 1925. I often wonder the same about the previous families that lived here. The stories the walls could tell for sure!

    Reply to this comment

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