Before her mom suggested they start looking for a new home Josephine had never heard of the Field Club neighborhood. They were hoping to find a newer home, something with all the contemporary amenities and low maintenance because it was just going to be the two of them. They didn’t have a lot of money to spare and the Field Club neighborhood was a perfect match. The home even came with a refrigerator.
In June, Josephine sold that all brick Field Club home on Walnut St. She lived there for 67 years and is more than likely the very last of the original Field Club homeowners. She was only 29 years old back in 1950 when life moved her to ‘South O’. Today, Josephine is a proud 96 years old.
A lot of memories come with living that many years in the same house. She recalls sitting on the front porch watching the 1962 demolition of the original Field Club elementary school and the months of dust and debris that came with the construction of the new. She enjoyed homemade ice cream from Evan’s Ice Cream Parlor on warm summer months. She didn’t often have money for the movies but recalls being very excited when the Center Theatre opened in 1951.
Architecturally, the Field Club neighborhood is as significant, varied, and well maintained as any in the entire state. From its auspicious beginnings in the early 1880’s, a building boom in the 1920’s and 30’s, through a slow down during the depression years and a final push of development to accommodate returning GIs from WWII, Field Club has well-earned it’s time tested reputation as a fantastic neighborhood.
In 1944 the Freeman Construction Company with the architect Charles Stinman put an end to new construction with the build of seven brick cottage homes along the 3500 block of Walnut St. Josephine and her mother could hardly have known what was to come of the Field Club neighborhood with their purchase in 1950. They most assuredly did not know they had purchased one, if not the, very last home to be newly constructed in the neighborhood.
The opportunity to sit in unhurried conversation with someone of this era is a rare gift. The fading stories Jospehine shared about her family, the neighborhood and the home she loved so dearly can only properly be told through the tepid voice of first-hand experience. The people and places of Josephine’s personal history are what shaped the vibrant Field Club community and it was my pleasure to get to know her and her home this year. I wish you the best Josephine and hope your next few years are as exciting as the last 96.