John Oyler: Lafayette Street, 1954
My previous column dealing with Lafayette Street in 1939 described a “frontier” neighborhood full of newly constructed houses and numerous vacant lots. This week, I have imported my brother, Joe, and Dale DeBlander to help describe a much more mature neighborhood, 15 years later, in 1954.
One of several errors in the 1939 column was my reporting that the DeBlanders were already living at 1073 Lafayette; Dale refuted this and reported that they didn’t move into our neighborhood until 1940 or early 1941. Since he remembers the paving of Lafayette Street, my dating that event to 1939 is another error.
My original column also had the Chamberlain family living in the corner house on Elizabeth Street. According to the 1940 census, a family named Weir lived at that address.
By 1954, Josephine Licata, her aunt and two extremely belligerent cocker spaniels lived in that house. Small children would detour across the street to avoid being accosted by the dogs. Recently, Alfred Barzan gave me a copy of a Johns-Manville brochure featuring this house.
Gordon Baker and his wife now lived at 1041 Lafayette. Mr. Baker was a metallurgist at the Universal Cyclops plant.
Vic and Dorothy Mauti had moved into 1049 by then. Their children, Dale and Sandra, were part of the first wave of “Baby Boomers.” My parents considered themselves their adopted grandparents.
Butch and Helen Goldbach moved into 1057 in the mid-1940s and forged a close link with the Oylers. Their son, George, was Joe’s age.
In 1954, the Abrams family built a new house at 1061, next to Goldbachs. It was the death knell for our vacant lot “pitch and putt” golf course. The lot at 1065 had disappeared in 1949 when the Polichnowskis built their home there. They had two sons, Ron and Eddie.
The Hoppers were still at 1069. The DeBlanders were firmly ensconced next door. Wayne was still at home; Dale was a freshman at Marietta College. The Coxes, Hellers and the Sims family still occupied the next three houses.
On the west side of the street, the Tom Smart family, including a son, Tom, was now living at 1050 Lafayette. The Hayes family, with son, Fred, had moved into 1062.
The vacant lot at 1066 was filled by a new home occupied by the Daniels family in 1940. The Guido Paroline family moved into a new home at 1070 in 1945. Mr. Paroline was the golf professional at St. Clair Country Club. The Parolines had two children, Tom and Fay.
The Jones family was still living at 1074. The entire neighborhood was still mourning the death of their son, Amos, in the crash of a Navy plane in Iceland the previous year.
The Joe Ferris family built their home at 1078 late in the 1940s. Ken and Richie were their sons.
My earlier column had the Panizzas and Capozzolis living in the next two houses in 1939. Another error, their houses weren’t built until 1941. At any rate, both families were solid members of the neighborhood in 1954.
The three of us are unable to come to a consensus on the occupants of the corner house, 1096, in 1954.
My thanks to Joe and Dale for their contributions to this column. We hope it presents an accurate picture of a close-knit neighborhood in the middle of the 20th century.