Above, the home of Dr. Fred and Katie Tucker on south 10th Street in Noblesville as it was in the late 1890s, and as it appears today. Fred and Katie were fictionalized in the novel Noblesville.
In the novel Noblesville, David Henry travels in time between 1893 and modern day in the small town of Noblesville. During modern day visits memories of the people and places of 1893 haunt him each time he’s confronted with their abcense. As he becomes more and more immersed in the life of 1893, leaving it to visit the modern day, where those people and their world are dead, fills David with unease. To buy a copy of Noblesville, follow the Books link at the top of the page.
Below: An unknown couple at a hammock tethered to 1148 Cherry St., and the same spot as it appears today. Until just a few weeks before the modern day photo was taken, the two windows behind the couple were intact. They’ve been removed as part of a renovation of the home. You’ll note that at some point there was an addition added to the far back of the house.
David comes to see life in 1893 as rich and raw, a place of intense social activity and intricate architecture and design, with palpable, inescapable daily connections to birth, authentic living, and death. As the year progresses, he increasingly dreads visits to the 21st Century. It feels contrived and insencere, a place of lonely isolation and bland, hollow trappings, void of urgency or intensity, symbolic of America’s amnesiac culture. In the neighborhoods, houses are drab, their ornate ginger bread trim torn off and covered with vinyl, their inhabitants inside air-conditioned rooms, staring into TV and computer screens, children are corralled in privacy-fenced back yards and daycare centers. And even though by modern standards it’s considered renovated and vibrant, downtown’s economic vitality has evaporated, dispersed to big box stores and chain restaurants on a highway at the edge of town, each store surrounded by bleak asphalt deserts called “parking lots.” There, the once lively 1893 is dead.
And so, David Henry goes native in 1893 Noblesville.
Below: The First Methodist Church in Noblesville at the corner of 10th & Clinton Streets as it appeared in the 1890s, and as the same location appears today, now the home of a driver-thru motor bank and parking lot. The original church housed Noblesville first pipe organ. The first organist was Katie (Durfee) Tucker. She is the woman pictured at the very top, left photo in this post, sitting with her daughter on the front porch of her home.
Below, the Caylor building on Conner St. in downtown Noblesville, as it was in the 1890s, and as it appears today. Notice the floor-to-ceiling storefront windows and recessed entries have been covered with new storefronts. And the building in the background – 3-stories of windows have been bricked-over.
Below: At left, the Hare family’s Victorian-era home as it appeared in the early 20th Century. The Hare family started a buggy factory in downtown Noblesville in the mid-1800s. Though that factory, located in a brick commercial building has been demolished, the business survives, still owned and operated by Hare descendants. It is now an auto dealership on the highway, east of downtown. At the right below, the location of the Hare family home as it appears today. The home was demolished a decade ago for the expansion of city hall.