Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sentimental Sunday: It's National Cousins Day!

About a month ago, I was at the Shelton Family Reunion in Verda, Louisiana, for descendants of Levi Marion Shelton (1863-1941) and Sarah Ann Spikes Shelton (1871-1935), my great-great-grandparents on my mother's side.  Just before everyone left, group photos were taken of descendants of various of Levi's and Sarah's children.

The photo above is of descendants of Euna Ann Shelton Thompson (1905-1959), the ninth of Levi's and Sarah's twelve children (nine of who survived to adulthood).  I did not get to meet everyone, but I can tell you that three of the five women seated in the front are Euna's three surviving daughters, my first cousins twice removed.  The one with the cane is Lemora Thompson Stroud. The one with the little one in her lap (her great-granddaughter Victoria Davis, my third cousin once removed) is Garnell "Nell" Thompson Doherty. The one in yellow next to her is Shirley Thompson.  These three ladies took me under their wings, and I spent a lot of time with them the rest of the day, especially Nell.

Nell's surviving daughter Phyllis Doherty Holmes (my second cousin once removed) is standing behind her.  Standing next to Nell is her granddaughter, Phyllis' daughter Sara Holmes Davis (my third cousin).  Folks in this picture are likely similar levels of cousins (and their spouses), so I think this is a perfect picture to post for National Cousins Day, July 24.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Those Places Thursday: Missing Memorial, Corpus Christi, Texas

Last month my spouse and I were in Corpus Christi, Texas, where we lived in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  It was quite the nostalgia trip. Some things and places have stayed the same in the last 30+ years.  A lot has changed, though, or even disappeared.

We stayed at a hotel in the downtown bayfront area, so I'd go out early every morning for a long walk, looking for things that were still there and things that were long gone.

One site that caught my eye was this one.  It is sitting in what used to be the median between the northbound and southbound lanes of Shoreline Drive, along the bayfront in downtown Corpus Christi.  It used to sit right outside the Memorial Coliseum (demolished in 2010), and now it is next to a playground.  And it had an aircraft on it, but I couldn't remember exactly what.

A little digging produced the photo below, taken in 1981.  As you can see, this memorial was on the south side of the Coliseum (pictured to the left in the photo), and featured an Army helicopter from the Corpus Christi Army Depot.  I'm not sure why the helicopter was removed - perhaps it was taken down before a hurricane.  More about the Coliseum in a future post.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Those Places Thursday: Rock Lodges, North Beach, Corpus Christi, ABT 1976, and 40 Years Later

Once I figured out the location of a couple pictures on our "mystery" roll of  Ektachrome film from the 1970s that we had developed by Film Rescue International. I was quickly able to figure out where the two black-and-white photos in this picture were.  Take a look and see how they match with a similar color view forty years later:

The pictures above were taken standing out in the middle of Beach Avenue on North Beach in Corpus Christi, roughly in front of 302-304-306 Beach, the subjects in last week's post.  Further evidence that this is the right location is that the circa-1976 302 Beach picture was #8 on the roll, while its near neighbor (304 or 306) was #7.  The black-and-white picture above was #9, while the black-and-white below was #6.  I imagine my husband only had to walk half-a-block down Beach to get these four shots.

These photos are of the “back” side of today’s Travel Inn at 4414 Surfside Boulevard at its intersection with Beach Avenue on North Beach in Corpus Christi.  My research shows that the Tourist Inn was the Rock Lodges tourist court from at least 1955 (first reference in city directories I can access online) to at least November 1963. It was owned/operated by a Henry J. Kerber (1911-1995) and his wife Thelma from at least 1955 through at least 1960 (according to city directories - Surfside Boulevard was C Avenue back then), and I found a reference to a March 1956 newspaper article that indicated Henry had just been reelected president of the North Beach Businessmen's Association.

Gordon Henry Grote (born 1921 in Mason County, Texas) and his family lived there from at least 1966 through 1969 (based on newspaper articles); he still owned it at his death in 1997.

The owner of 302 Beach tells me that Mrs. Grote (who is still alive as of this writing), "was our neighbor when we first moved here in 1996ish, but the Rock Lodges - as it still was then - sold twice after that.  The last owner ... changed the name to the franchised chain.  Mr. Grote was the postman assigned to this neighborhood for over 30 years; Mrs. Grote was a school teacher."

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Those Places Thursday: Old Tourist Court Cottage in Corpus Christi

On a recent trip to Corpus Christi, Texas, my spouse and I drove around looking at how places have changed (or not changed) since we lived there in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  One day we drove over the Harbor Bridge to North Beach, which has undergone a lot of transformation after Hurricane Allen in August 1980 pretty much wiped the peninsula clean.  There are still a few old pre-1980 buildings around, though.  I spotted this one at 304 Beach Avenue, and it looked vaguely familiar:

I knew I'd seen this little cottage with its unique roof before - and I was right.  The cottage is on our mystery roll of Ektachrome film we had developed by Film Rescue International.  Because it was so old, the images were processed as black-and-whites.  Ektachrome was color slide film first manufactured in 1963.  We were able to date the last pictures on the roll and knew it was shot before 1980.  As my spouse did not move (back) to Corpus Christi until early 1974, we also know that the roll of film was shot after that point.

I now feel fairly certain the black-and-white photo above is either the same building as that in the color photo at the beginning of this post (304 Beach Avenue), or else its neighbor at 306 Beach (visible on Google Maps), or possibly another building that would have been 308 or 310 Beach Avenue.  There is also a similar stucco cottage at 302 Beach Avenue, at the corner of Gulfbreeze.

My theory was that these three existing buildings (302, 304, and 306) were once part of a "tourist court" so prevalent on North Beach in the past.  According to the Free Dictionary online, "Tourist courts were usually a series of very small one-room buildings separated from each other by the width of an automobile."  Sometimes they had as few as four units, with the owner or manager living in one that also served as an office.

I was able to contact the current owner of 302 Beach and ask about my theory.  She told me that "302-306 were all together.  I understand they were built in the early '40s.  There were 4 of them at one time, but one of the hurricanes got the one [308 or 310] where the present-day alley is."  She e-mailed me later to tell me her husband said there were actually eight units in the complex at one time.

By studying some Corpus Christi city directories for the 1940 to 1960 time period, as well as a Sanborn map updated in May 1950, I think I have pieced together a rough history for this site for that period.

Beach Avenue was called Walldue and Gulfbreeze was called B Avenue through at least 1960.  The cottages on today's beach were actually on a lot at that time that fronted on Avenue B, with the address 4501.

There wasn't much of anything this far "north" on North Beach in the early 1940s, at least that I can determine from the city directories (the earliest I can access online is dated 1940) and Sanborn maps.

The first possibility appears in the 1946 city directory, a "Helen Marie Courts" at 310 Walldue owned by Frank Sovey (1893-1983), who also operated a produce company and watermelon garden in town.

However, there is nothing at that address in the next available directory from 1948.  Instead, there is a "Mackey Courts" at 4501 B Avenue, which is at the corner with Walldue.  It was owned by Ken and Leta Mackey.

The next available directory is from 1955, and lists "Atwater Courts" at this 4501 B Avenue address, but I found references to it (as Atwater Courts and Atwater Cottages) in Corpus Christi newspapers from 1952 and 1953.  The owner/operators were John Cameron (1892-1960) and "Mrs. Wallace F.[rancis]" Hunt (1894-1959) Cameron, who were originally from (and ultimately returned to) Hamilton, Texas.

The 1957 directory for Corpus Christi is incomplete, but the listings for 1958 through 1960 show 4501 B Avenue as being the Willis Courts, owned by Floyd Moore Willis (1906-1976) and his wife Frances Augusta Sellers Aubuchon Willis (1912-2007).

After that, the trail gets cold.  But I did determine that the photo below is most likely today's 302 Beach Avenue, sometime between 1974 and 1980.  Note the "Office...Vacancy" sign by the door:

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sentimental Sunday: Happy Birthday to My Brother!

Brian in 1965, probably April, shortly before he turned three.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sentimental Sunday: Shelton Family Reunion, 2016

This weekend, I went to the Shelton Family Reunion - more specifically, a reunion of descendants of my great-great-grandparents, Levi Marion Shelton (1863-1941) and Sarah Ann Spikes Shelton (1871-1935).  It was held in Verda, Louisiana, which is not too far from the Red River in Grant Parish.

I left early in the morning on Saturday, June 25, and it took me five and a half hours to get there.  I arrived shortly before lunch was served.  The photo at left and those below give some idea of how many people were there (about 63, if the count on the nametags was correct) - and of how much food there was.  These pictures don't show the desserts, which were on a separate counter.

After eating, drawings were held for door prizes (hence the number on the nametags), some group photos were taken - and everyone cleaned up and left!  As it turns out, a lot of activity happens in the morning - the ladies get together to make fried pies for the early arrivals.  If I go to the reunion again, I'll plan to arrive Friday evening so I can participate in these Saturday morning activities.

The two ladies pictured above, my first cousins twice removed, sisters Shirley Thompson  and Garnell "Nell" Thompson Doherty, took me under their wings for the rest of the day.  My great-grandmother, Addilee Tennessee Shelton Wolfe Odom Harris (1890-1977), was the oldest of the nine children of Levi and Sarah who survived to adulthood, while Shirley's and Nell's mother, Euna Ann Shelton Thompson, was one of the younger ones (fifteen  years younger).  Euna died in 1959, and my great-grandmother apparently took Euna's four daughters under her wing.  So they were very eager to meet me.

We went to Shirley's home first, where I was invited to update my family's information in Shirley's genealogy software, and look through an album of old family photographs.  Then Nell took me to her home and gave me a tour of nearby Winnfield, Louisiana (where many of my ancestors were born or lived), and we went out to dinner.

I got up early Sunday and drove home, doing a little sightseeing on the way.  More about what I saw and did related to this family reunion in future posts.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Those Places Thursday: Lichtenstein's Site Revisited

About four years ago, I wrote about the Lichtenstein's department store in Corpus Christi, Texas, that I'm "related" to (by marriage; my grandmother's first cousin married a Lichtenstein who later became the city's mayor).  At that time, the store, which had been vacant for over 20 years, was slated for demolition, which did in fact happen in October and November of 2013.

Shortly afterward, in early 2014, construction started on its replacement.  The Cosmopolitan of Corpus Christi will have 165 one- and two-bedroom living units, and 3,795 square feet of retail space.  Money problems slowed the work, but it is now expected to be completed later this year.

What I really like is how the design of this new building reflects the former Lichtenstein's.  Here is a picture I took just this past Monday while in Corpus Christi:

And here is the same corner, taken during our visit in May 2006, before the old store was demolished:

And finally, here is how Lichtenstein's looked shortly after it opened at this location in December 1941:

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sentimental Sunday: Happy Father's Day!

My dad, Frederick Henry Pape, and me, 1957

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: John Pape, 15 June 1934, Age 83

This is a picture of my great-grandfather, John Pape (1951-1945).  According to the inscription on the back, it was taken in Chicago on (or before) June 15, 1934, when John would have been almost 84 years old.  At the time, he was living with his third wife, Hedwige Agnes Burkhardt Reimer (1869-1937), at 1949 W. Lunt in Chicago - not too far from where my dad and his family lived, at 2093 W. Lunt.  John and Agnes had been living on Lunt since at least 1928 (according to a city directory from that year).

The photo was most likely taken at 1949 W. Lunt.  On the back, John wrote, "Fur Clara Von Pa" - "For Clara From Pa" in German.  In 1934, John's oldest daughter Clara M. Pape (1889-1975) was living at 1338 Capitol Ave. Apt. 6 in Des Moines, Iowa, where she worked as a secretary to the  State Auditor (according to the Des Moines city directory for that year).

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Those Places Thursday: Choke Canyon Reservoir and State Park

At the time the Choke Canyon Dam was finished, I was working for the Information Services (public information) Office for the City of Corpus Christi, Texas.  One of our functions was producing a periodic newsletter about the construction of the dam.  I was only around for the one of those newsletters - which might also have been the last one.  Since I had previously worked for the city's Park and Recreation Department as well as for Texas Parks and Wildlife, I was assigned to write the articles pertaining to the new state park being established on Choke Canyon Reservoir.  The photos below are ones that I took for Volume 7, Number 1 of Headway, published in June 1982 by the City of Corpus Christi.

At the time, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's master plan for Choke Canyon State Park called for reusing some of the buildings in the old Calliham townsite.  The rock gymnasium from the high school has been renovated into an air-conditioned rental facility that still includes a stage, basketball court, and bleachers.

Above:  Original caption from page 8 of the newsletter:  The rock gymnasium at Old Calliham will again be used for community activities.

Below:  Original caption from page 7 of the newsletter:  This stone house at Old Calliham will play a major role in recreational development at that location (note:  I believe it is a staff residence now).

Plans also called for using two houses in the old townsite as park residences, for the superintendent and park rangers.  The park map does show two such residences in the old townsite area, but I'm not totally sure if the one pictured above is one of them.  The first park manager, Jeff Parrish, and his family lived in the townsite in the house formerly occupied by the town's school teacher.  That could be the picture above, or it might be the Harbor House, which was supposedly slated to be the park superintendent's home.  Most of the original townsite of Calliham is now underwater.

Tarleton State University history professor T. Lindsay Baker wrote about the history of Calliham in his 1986 book, Ghost Towns of Texas.

Boat ramps, of course, needed to be bult about the time the dam was being completed, as they would be mostly underwater as the lake filled.

Left:  Original caption from page 7 of the newsletter:  Concrete work on boat ramps is part of recreation construction already underway.

Below:  Original caption from page 3 of the newsletter:  Boat ramps were the first recreational facilities to be constructed at Choke Canyon....a worker roughens a concrete surface.

The dedication ceremony for Choke Canyon Dam was held just over 34 years ago, on June 8, 1972.  The event, held at 11 AM, involved the closing of the seven gates on the spillway, and of course speeches, including one by then-mayor Luther Jones written by then-city manager Marvin Townsend.  A barbeque followed the ceremony.

© Amanda Pape - 2016 - click here to e-mail me.