Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Festival of Postcard 2nd Edition: Main Street

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault over at A Canadian Family Acadian and French-Canadian Genealogy has come up with a second topic for the 2nd Edition of the Festival of Postcards: Main Street.

     I purchased two old photo postcards on ebay that feature the street where my great grandparents lived in Woodlawn, Pennsylvania in Beaver  County. Certainly not the main street of the town, but it’s a “main” street to me.

     John George Hughes and Elizabeth Olesen Hughes and son, George Henry Hughes moved to Woodlawn about 1915 to 131 Spring Street. Woodlawn was a company town owned by the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company. In an attempt to keep the various ethnic groups separated, the company divided the town into 12 numbered plans. Police patrolled the areas to keep the workers from straying into another plan and fraternizing. 

     My Hughes family lived in Plan 10 at 131 Spring Street until about 1937, years after the death of John George Hughes. Elizabeth’s brother, Bill Olesen and perhaps her brother-in-law, Rowland Richards lived in the house. Following John’s death in 1920, Elizabeth’s mother, Ferdinanda (Ann) Olesen immigrated from England and joined her daughter and son at 131 Spring Street.

     Two different views of Spring Street are pictured in the postcards. One card actually shows a decent view of my great grandparents end unit. One of the few photos taken in Woodlawn, features my great grandmother standing in front of 131 Spring Street. Notice that the vine growth around the front porch in the picture is also shown on the postcard.

     I have also added a photograph of 131 Spring Street taken from my car window during a visit several summers ago. The entire street is now a slum area and frankly the current residents were not too pleased that we were slowing down and taking pictures.

Also on Flipside

-HUGHES, JOHN GEORGE AND ELIZABETH OLESEN HUGHES--131 Spring Street, Woodlawn, Pennsylvania

HUGHES, JOHN GEORGE--Court Testimony

-HUGHES JOHN GEORGE--Court Revisited

-HUGHES, JOHN GEORGE--Happy Dance Photos

-HUGHES, JOHN GEORGE--Burial Information

-HUGHES, JOHN GEORGE--Did my Paternal Great Grandfather Have Additional Sibling(s)


Updated October 2022

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  1. Wow! How neat to have a postcard with an ancestor's home on it! Wish I could find something like that!! Nice blog!!

  2. A pretty street back in the day, but sounds like it may not have been as tranquil as it looks. Interesting post!

  3. Very interesting history. It's not often that residential streets were featured on printed postcards.

  4. Hi,
    If you go to this link:
    you can view a pdf of a book called Woodlawn on the Ohio. This book was created by the Woodlawn land company to advertize homes in Woodlawn around 1910. There are some really great photos of Woodlawn in it's early days. Look on page 19 - I think this is also a view of your grandparent's house on Spring Street.