30 January 1913: Beaconsfield at 1706 Main south of Pease was built in 1911 with all the conveniences. There were 8 stories and a full basement, with two apartments on each floor. Each apartment had 3 bedrooms, each with a private bath, 2 screened balconies, steam radiators, centralized vacuum system, ice box with 600 pounds of ice, wood burning fireplaces, and a private phone to other tenants.
Beaconsfield and Savoy [LINK] from the South (shows the front yards across the street; [Pink?], Methodist Church further down, The Carter Building at end of street, which looks to be under construction; First Church of Christ, Scientist in left foreground, built after 1908.
Across the street at the house with the whitewashed tree trunks was Robert Abbe, chief clerk at Cravens & Cage, business associate of Rufus Cage who lived in the Beaconsfield at 2b. Across from him was the 1st Church of Christ, Scientist [LINK]. The house between The Beaconsfield and the church here rendered in tan was the pharmacy of Andrew Macfarland, who also served as the clerk in charge of Substation 2 of the Houston Post Office and on the second floor the residence of Alois Stadler. The Savoy Apartments were just beyond Pease Street [LINK] and the Methodist Church spire in the distance. The distant high rise is the Carter Building [LINK].
14 October 2016: The Beacons-field at left center was extensively renovated in 1978, but the building is essentially as finished in 1911. 1: To the left the 1963 Humble Building (ExxonMobil Building, 800 Bell Street) rises 44 stories up and out of the frame. 2: On the street level the Church of Christ Scientist built on the church lot in 1961 after demolition of the previous structure. The church sold in 2016 and has been converted into a nightclub, Spire, with an uncertain future. 3: The 17-story Savoy Field Hotel was built in 1966 incorporating the old Savoy Apartments [LINK], even then beginning to deteriorate. After operating for a few years, it lay in an abandoned state for decades as the old Savoy Apartments began to disintegrate onto the street and was demolished in 2012. A major renovation 2013-2015 converted the1966 building into a Holiday Inn.4: Travis Tower was built in 1955 as the 21 story headquarters of Conoco Corporation, topped with a rotating triangular company logo that would change color to reflect the weather conditions. 5: Reliant Energy Plaza (1000 Main) was built in 2003 with 36 floors as headquarters for the electrical utility company. 6: The 48 story building at 609 Main was under construction when this photo was taken in 2016, as the construction cranes reveal, but it was completed the following year. 7: The rather stark 32 story First National Bank Building was built in 1960 to contrast with the old brick structures then dominating downtown. 8. Skyhouse Main, a 24 story residential complex completed in 2016 and its companion, 9: 1625 Main, a second residential complex completed in 2014.
Postmark: 30 January 1913 Ft. W. Teague … US R. P. O.
Stamp: 1c Green George Washington #405
To: M. D. McCorkle
126 Atlantic St.
"Jan. 29, 1913
Arrived here all O.. K. yesterday. Like Houston very much so far. We had a nice room here at "Young Womens Cooperative Home" on McKee St. We are going down to look at farm tomorrow. How's everybody in Warren? My love to rest of folks. Hastily, Grace."
Beaconsfield tenants in 1913 were among the most successful and prosperous of Houston’s citizens, comprising the top echelons of Houston corporate life. 1a: Margaret Howell, widow of A. L. Howell, and Alfred R. Howell secretary and treasurer of the International & Great Northern Railroad. 1b: Lorenzo J. Boykin, Vice President and general manager of the Chicago Lumber and Coal Co. (whose brother Henry S. Lived in similar style at The Rossonian. 2a: Horace Booth, General Freight Agent for the International & Great Northern Railroad. 2b: Rufus Cage, Cravens & Cage, Insurance Brokers [See LINK to Prince Theater for banner across buildings 5th floor]. 3a: Thomas M. Taylor Vice President of the Bankers Trust Co. 3b: Mrs. Elizabeth R. Porter (widow of G. L.). 4a: John J. Flynn Vice-President and general manager Houston Belt and Terminal Railroad. 4b: William B. Chew, President South Texas Commercial National bank; President, Gordon & Sewall & Co.; President, Merchants Compress Co.; treasurer and co-owner of The Darlington Apartments [LINK] with D. D. Cooley and Grafton Waples. 5a: Mark E. Andrews, Secretary-teasurer and General Manager of Merchants Compress Co.; Andrews & Kirsopp (Mark E. Andrews, Wilkinson Kirsopp), cotton brokers and steamship agents. 5b: Isaac S. Meyer. 6a: Genevieve Burnett (widow of Douglas). 6b: Thomas A. Spencer, assistant treasurer Producers Oil Company. 7a: Elbert C. Lamb, president and treasurer Lamb-Field Company. 7b: Cleveland Sewell (Campbell Sonfield, Sewell & Myer, attorneys), vice president Harris County Investment Co. 8a. Graham B. Grosvenor, secretary Otis Elevator Co. 8b. Robert E. Goree, attorney and notary.
The recipient is Myron Dwight McCorkle, a house painter from Warren, Trumbull County, OH. The sender signed only her first name, suggesting she was sure her recipient would know exactly who she was. She sends her love “to rest of folks,” which suggests a familial connection, but she might in fact be a friend or neighbor us. A look at the Warren City directory for 1912 might uncover a number of candidates named ing a familiar salutation. “Grace,” and in fact there are no less than 57 to be found. One stands out, however, “Grace McCorkle.” Working out her relationship with Marion Dwight McCorkle was not easily done, but Grace E. McCorkle turns out to be his neice, only child of Myron’s younger brother, Archie Andrew McCorkle and his wife Nettie Eliza Hopkins.
Grace was born in Nelson township, Portage County, OH on 27 June 1890, a location about 15 miles from Warren, a distance not too far to discourage a determined courtship. Her father died when Grace was a year and five days old, and Nettie found work as a school teacher to support her daughter, and the family settled back into a farmer’s life with aging grandparents, Luman Clark Hopkins and Eliza Stillson. This lasted until 1904 when her grandfather died, then in 1906 her mother died, followed by her grandmother in 1908. Grace was 18 when she became an orphan, and although she was old enough to be emancipated, this must have been hard for her. She continued to live in Garrettsville, Nelson Township, Portage County, OH through 1910, though not with her Hopkins uncles as might be expected, but with an English immigrant, Cornelius James Gough and his wife Grace Isabella Smith Gough, herself from Michigan.
Within months she had moved about 14 miles east of the small town of Garrettsville to the much bigger town of Warren, Trumbull County OH, where her Uncle Myron Dwight McCorkle lived. Grace is on the 1912 Warren City Directory working as a clerk living at 342 Forest Street. Her Uncle Myron, a carpenter, his wife Ida and their son Merton lived at 126 Atlantic only two or three blocks away. A mile or so away at 31 N. Laird were Myron’s stepmother Roxa, and her son Casper McCorkle and wife Mary. Although Grace was a single working woman, she must have had the support of McCorkle relations in Warren and Hopkins relatives in Garrettsville.
What drew Grace to Houston was probably a search for work. In 1910 the population of Garrettsville was about 1,000, Warren was 11,000, but Houston was 80,000 with a thriving economy and a population that doubled every ten years. Grace arrived on January 28th, sends her postcard back home on the 30th, and was planning to go down to a farm on January 31th. She says “We have a nice room,” and “We are going down to look at farm tomorrow,” so It would seem she was part of a group, either members of her family or perhaps a group of other young women prospective workers. She would not likely have had the assets to purchase a farm, but she may have signed on as a seasonal agricultural worker. Early February in Houston is not its most productive time for agriculture, but there are some crops that might have required laborers, perhaps citrus which was becoming a commodity in Southeast Texas.
The “Young Women's Cooperative Home” where Grace had found lodging was a boarding house “for working girls” at 1111 McKee at the corner of Conti Street in Houston’s 5th ward. Miss Audrey Wade was the matron, and it is unlikely she would have catered to families and might have even refused admittance to men. The 5th ward at that time was was a mixed industrial area with embedded modest homes for blue collar workers from the factories and warehouses. The area was largely de-populated after WWII as many Houstonians fled to the suburbs on the new freeway systems. Construction of Interstate Highway I-10 largely severed the 5th ward from the downtown economy, and the area fell into a derelict state. The block where the Young Women's Cooperative Home once catered to single women is totally devoid of structures, but satellite photos reveal the clear outlines where the building once stood.
Grace's choice of postcard image may reveal an aspiration to live in such a grand apartment building, a far cry from the boarding house where she actually stayed [see discussion above of the prosperous tenants of the Beaconsfield]. The January 30, 1913 postmark is from the Railway Post Office (RPO) on the Ft. Worth Teague … railway line, a special car on passenger trains where riders could post their letters. These cars could be accessed by the public when stopped at train stations, and patrons in a hurry to have their letters received as quickly as possible would mail their letters there.
Grace does not seem to have returned to Ohio, at least not retaining the McCorkle name. There was another Grace McCorkle in the area not to be confused with the Garrettsville Grace. In 1912 she is on the city directory at Youngstown, Ohio, a city southeast of Warren. Youngstown was about the size of Houston at this time, but it was not destined for major city status, and is now considered the standard-bearer for the Rust-Belt after having lost half its population in the later years of the late 20th Century. The two McCorkle clans were probably related, but a clear link between them has not been found. This Grace was a couple of years younger, living with her parents, Thomas Pew McCorkle and Adele Emma Phillips and brother Paul at 120 Whitney. Youngstown and Warren were only about 15 miles from each other, about as far as Garrettsville in the opposite direction. At the same time Thomas’ brother John Clayton McCorkle was on the Warren City Directory in 1912, as was cousin Emery Pew McCorkle, so there clearly population overlap of McCorkle relations between the two Ohio cities. This Grace McCorkle stayed in the area, marrying Stanford Wendell in 1945 after the death of her parents. Her brother Paul found his way to Canada and a career as a physicist.
Our Grace seems to have disappeared from the record after the postcard. Although family histories give a death date for Grace McCorkle of 30 January 1930, she has not been found subsequent to the postcard sent from Houston when she was 22 years old. Her Uncle Myron Dwight McCorke and Aunt Ida Alzada Baldwin remained in Warren for the rest of their lives. They raised a family of seven: Clayton (1880), Raymond (1882), Alice (1885) [m. Kagy], Lillie (1888) [m. Beach], Merton (1890), Myrtle (1895, might be identical to Merton), and Donald (1907). Ida died in 1924, and Myron in 1934; they are buried in Hillside Cemetery, Cortland, Trumbull County, OH.