As I was going through folders of digital pictures today, I made another discovery! One day many years ago when I was frantically copying recipes from Grandma’s cookbook, she told me not to worry, that it would be mine someday. I treasure that cookbook dearly! It is falling apart badly, but I have carefully taken photographs of some of the pages. Today I took a minute to look at the first couple of pages. I was amazed to find that ‘bullet journals’ are nothing new!! Take a look at her cookbook index, in the front of the book:
But the real revelation was right there inside the front cover! You may remember me mentioning the cookbook Walter’s sister Lizzie had, which was later used by his mother for bookkeeping - how it had information about the school Lizzie attended, which I was able to use to find more schooling information for both she and Walter. Well. May’s cookbook was also begun in school, “Los Angeles Polytechnic H” (we know that Walter’s brother Fred (Jack) attended Los Angeles Polytechnic High), and May has written a date of 1908; so we know a little more about May's education!
|Notice on the left side, inside the cover: "The oven test for cake"!|
My Grandpa (Walter) was a builder! From a very young age, and all of his life, he built homes. And there was nothing ‘cookie-cutter’ about the way he built them! The large home he built for his mother on Aldama was an early Craftsman style home (although the big porch reminds me of the South, where his mother was born and raised); he built many wonderful Craftsman style homes in Eagle Rock (one newspaper account states that he built over 300 homes there!); when he built in Goodyear Park, providing workers there with homes, they were smaller bungalows; when he built homes in El Monte, they were elegant stucco homes, with soft flowing lines; and when he built homes in Oregon, he used wooden shingles as siding, reflecting the beautiful wood products here.
Early in Walter and May’s courtship, Walter spent time in Portland, Oregon, working as a roofer. Daddy said Walter was fast at putting shingles on - that only one other person ever beat him! Portland was a long distance from Los Angeles - but the postal service was well-used:
|We've been unable to locate this address on current maps.|
|We have located this home; there is a photograph of it on an earlier post.|
As I’ve located newspaper articles about buildings completed by Walter, I’ve begun to feel that he liked to work hard and quickly in completing projects! Once I was doing a Google search for ‘Walter Brown carpenter’ and I found an application being made to declare a wonderful old building in Eagle Rock as being a historic site; and I saw that Walter Brown was listed as the ‘master carpenter’! It was a time-sensitive project, and he met his deadline - in 1914, when he was only 28 years old.
Another search I did revealed some information that I believe may relate to Walter and May’s wedding. An October 17, 1963 issue of the Highland Park News-Herald and Journal had an interesting article about the history of Highland Park Baptist Church, where Walter and May were married in 1910. The church originally met in the Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoons, and was organized in 1907, meeting for a time at the Masonic Hall. We know by other articles that Walter and May had both been associated with a Sunday school being held in the area for several years prior to that time. The newspaper article I found had a graphic giving information about construction of the first building: lots purchased, October 1909; ground broken, May 24, 1910; building dedication, October 9, 1910.
In 2016, Steve and I had the privilege of meeting my cousins, Joan Brown Ashcraft and her brother James Brown, at Highland Park Baptist Church; we attended the morning service there together. I took this photo of the inside of the sanctuary (the part of the church built in 1910), but was told that the front of the room was previously the back of the room, so it would have looked differently at the time of Walter and May’s wedding.
If the building project was not yet completed when the invitations were mailed, a bit of faith may have been required when this was sent out:
The marriage license is dated October 17, 1910; the marriage is certified as taking place on October 18, 1910. Walter had been 24 since February; May had been 20 for just one month.
The wedding account is very interesting, and mentions family members. If you click on it you will be able to read it more easily. May’s sister Zetta was Maid of Honor; and Walter’s brother Joseph was a Groomsman.
If anyone reading this has a photo of their Brown grandfather and wife, especially when they were young, or of their marriage, I would love to have a copy to share here. I am so glad that we have these photos of Walter and May!
Another thing suggested by the newspaper clipping: the location of their ‘first home’. I want to show you the photo May kept, of that first home. The address number and street name had both changed over time; but one evening when I was ‘driving’ up and down streets in the area (via GoogleMaps), I spotted the house! We were able to stop by on our 2016 trip to Eagle Rock, and see it up close. Here is the photo of the home, in 1910:
I want to begin to talk about George Eugene Brown, 1856-1909, my great-grandfather; but first I’d like to tell a little more about Walter and May’s family, both their children and their siblings; and a little more about homes that Walter built. And the Old Ranch! And the Canada Trip! And their move to Oregon!
Actually, I could write about Walter and May and their family all year, but I guess some of that will have to wait for a book ‘someday’. . . I really am anxious to tell you more of what I've learned about their ancestors!