Friday, December 2, 2005

Silver Grove Neighborhood Association

Here is an amazing article about a fellow neighborhood association in New Albany. This is an amazing example of people in our city doing a kick-ass job and not just talking about it. They are a real asset to us!

What a great piece. Jim is always around learing from other associations and is as friendly as they come! Apparently the Silver Grove area used to be it's own town, used to be the country!

Click below for the whole article!

Once, Silver Grove had its own history
Jim Munford has filled 10 boxes with papers mentioning his grandmother's great-uncle and such. Munford is well on his way to a full family tree.
But his neighborhood's roots remain another matter.

Jim Munford is compiling a history of Silver Grove, which was a town until it was annexed by New Albany in the 1930s. Behind him was Advent Christian Church at Shelby Street and Indiana Avenue, where Silver Grove’s town hall once stood. (By Arza Barnett, The Courier-Journal)


Munford lives in Silver Grove, a place he had not heard of until a few years ago. The area is in easternmost New Albany, east of Silver Street, north of Spring Street and south of Charlestown Road.
It pretty much consists of houses built long ago. Its population is maybe 3,000, and Silver Grove does not change appreciably. That is precisely why it has been plenty good enough for Betty Brewer all her 74 years.
"I'll probably die here now," she said.
Brewer recalls an era when Silver Grove included businesses like her family's grocery and a barbershop across McLean Avenue.

Munford found a photograph from about 1915-1920 of a couple with the last name of Ray, posing outside the house on Beeler Street that Munford now lives in. (Courtesy of Jim Munford)

A century ago Silver Grove was not yet part of New Albany. It had incorporated as a town in 1896, 24 households shielding themselves from those tax-and-spend big-city types.
"This was the country," Munford said.
Silver Grove formed its own council and fire and police departments, and functioned on its own for about 30 years. Town Hall sat where Advent Christian Church does now, at Shelby Street and Indiana Avenue.
Munford has discovered that much. He is now filling a second box of Silver Grove memorabilia that he intends to piece together into a community history. "So that people will remember," he said. "So it's not forgotten."
Munford is 50, an engineer who moved to this area in the 1980s to help build the Marble Hill nuclear plant. That project was aborted about the time the Munford family settled into a large home at Indiana Avenue and Beeler Street.
One of the oldest in the area, the place piqued Munford's curiosity. "If walls could talk," said Varie Munford, Jim's also-curious wife.
Jim Munford hit up the public library to learn what he could. He found disappointingly little about his house but a little more about the town of Silver Grove. The what? Munford read minutes of council meetings and a news clipping or two, leading to more questions than answers.
"There's supposed to be a book floating around somewhere," he said.
While Varie Munford began to help organize the Silver Grove Neighborhood Association -- a vibrant organization that operates a crime watch, among other duties -- her husband delved into the past like a detective.
He has quizzed those few elderly neighbors who all along have called the area Silver Grove. Lessons learned from his genealogy hobby keep him patient but persistent. He has yet to find the perfect source, if one exists. "Go digging and get lucky sometimes," he said.
Even David Barksdale, president of the Floyd County Historical History, knows little. He lives in Silver Grove, by the way and urges Munford on. "I'll be very excited to see what he finds out," Barksdale said.
Maybe there are clues aplenty in people's basements. People may not recognize they hold the secrets to the Silver Grove story. "Maybe they feel no one is interested," Barksdale said. "You never can tell."
Both the local fairgrounds and Glenwood Park, with its ball fields and amusement rides, routinely brought crowds to and near Silver Grove. Many clearly liked what they saw.
The community's charm was appreciated, and by the 1930s, little suburban Silver Grove had exploded. Newcomers expected nice roads and public services like those they had left in New Albany.
In addition, the area was offered its own school -- Silver Street Elementary -- apparently as an inducement to accept annexation. By 1935, Silver Grove was history, a history Munford is now trying to uncover.

A photograph takena fter the 1937 flood that hit the region shwoed Silver Street looking north as vehicles continued to use an elevated roadway after water receded. Silver Grove by then had become part of eastern New Albany. (Courtesy of New Albany-Floyd County Public Library)

Jay Papp, 25, has not been married too long, and his first child is on the way. He bought his first house in the neighborhood in which he grew up. That means his baby will be a fourth-generation Silver Grover. "It's a wonderful place," Papp said.
Not that he ever learned in school that the community had once been its own place -- incorporated. "I've always known New Albany as New Albany," he said. "One big town."
Dale Moss' column runs Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays on the Indiana page. You can reach him at (812) 949-4026 or at dmoss@courier-journal.com. You can also read his columns at www.courier-journal.com.

3 comments:

  1. What a wonderful article! I did not realize the history of Silver Grove either until a few months ago. I live just on the other side of Silver Street, not too far from Silver Street Elementary, but I get to walk with my dog through the beautiful Silver Grove neighborhood almost every evening. Jim Munford is doing a great job. Our town is a good place to live and raise a family. I have only lived here 16 years, but am glad I'm here and intend to stay. Are there any other "cities" like Silver Grove that became part of New Albany, but maintain an identity to this day?

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  2. I was recently told that between Silver Grove and E 10th Street, that area was known as Providence. Unfortunatly I dont know much more about it. There is also Silver Hills, which has fabulous architecture, and is a beautiful part of the city.

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  3. who was morris mcdonald? some of silver grove property documents refer to morris mcdonald subdivision. how much of this area was in silver grove. mr munford would you be interested in a copy of an old envelope addressed to silver grove in. contents of letter do not add to history of this area.

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