German Lutheran Church
1908. On this block of Texas Avenue were The Fire Station on the southwest corner, a residence, and the German Lutheran Church, the spiritual center for a large German-American community in Houston in the years before WWI. Not far was Turn-Verein, a social center with bowling hall occupying an entire block diagonally across the street to the southeast.
8 October 2011: Taken from the corner of Texas and Caroline toward the northwest, showing the John S. Dunn Outreach Center, a much needed center for homeless Houstonians sponsored by the Episcopal Christ Church Cathedral one block west, with a parking garage on the upper floors. Turn-Verein came to be called Turner Hall after the anti-German sentiment in World War I, and in 1929 was relocated to 5202 Almeda Road and Southmore. Sadly, this marvelous Art-Deco building designed by Joseph Finger was demolished in 1993.
To: J. L. Frank
Postmarked: Houston, Tex Mar 1 1908
Bushnell, Ill Mar 3 1908
Stamp: 1c Blue Green Ben Franklin #300
"Will you please send me the address of the person you exchange cards with in Greenland - I have cards from many foreign countries but none from Greenland.
1119 Jefferson Ave
Houston - Texas
Feb 29, 1908
Belle Teetshorn was born 12 July 1893 so she was only 14 years old when she wrote this postcard to J. L. Frank. As listed on the postcard she lived at 1119 Jefferson, a residential neighborhood south of the business district. The census of 1910 corroborates her address, and the rest of the family consisted of her father, Marshall (48) and mother Jemima (46), brother Roy (20) and sister Alice (13). Like many middle class families in Houston at the time, they had live-in black servants, James Gilliam (50), a yardsman and Mary Gilliam (40), a cook. Her father was owner of the Teetshorn Bookstore at 1009 Congress. The bookstore was publisher of postcards under their own label, so her interest in postcards was quite natural. Even her own family home at 1119 Jefferson was the subject of their cards, a rather unpretentious house now occupied by the offices of the Arch- diocese of Houston Galveston. Even as a youth she was a serious collector, and quite systematic in her approach.
Marshall owned the house outright without mortgage; he owned a stationery store and Roy worked there as a treasurer. The Teetshorn family had come to Texas about 1895 from Utters Corners, a tiny community northeast of Janesville, WI where Ora Bell’s grandfather, Cyrus, was a farmer. The Teetshorn beachhead in Houston left no descendants: Ray died in 1918 without leaving any children and neither Alice or Ora Bell ever married. There is, however, a Teetshorn Street in Woodland Heights to bear their name. All but Alice are buried in Forest Park Cemetery.
he family had moved about; Marshall was born in Wisconsin (1862), Jemima was from New York (1864), Roy was born in Minnesota (1890), Bell in Wisconsin (1893), and Alice in Texas (1897). They had lived at 712 Chenevert at Capitol in 1900: Marshall L. (37), Jennora G. (37), Ray G. (10), Ora B. [this is Bell] (6), Allice (3); Lizzie (30) and Bertie (10) Pitman were black servants.The family was deeply involved in the bookstore operations. The jobs of president, vice- president, secretary-treasurer, and bookkeeper were occupied by one or the other of the children of Marshall Teetshorn and Jemima Gould at various points in time: Ray, Alice and Ora Bell.
A year after the card on 22 July 1909 her brother Ray Gould Teetshorn was nearly drowned when a fishing pier on which he was watching a storm blow in from the Gulf collapsed into the raging surf. After a harrowing 24-hour adventure in which he and and four others clung onto debris, he was rescued, but several others drowned. The news made the papers all across America, and of course, in Houston and Galveston.
They remained at 1119 Jefferson through 1920, their brother had moved out of the house but the single sisters, Bell (26) and Alice (23) remained. Marshall owned a bookstore, Bell was secretary and Alice treasurer. None of the family has been located in 1930.
Bell and Alice seem to have lived in Southeast Texas as spinsters until their deaths in 1976 and 1977 in Galveston, apparently neither married as their surnames had not changed since childhood.
It is not clear who J. L. Frank of Bushnell, Ill, may have been. There is a John T. Frank at 250 Gridley Street, the only one of that surname and initials in 1910 in Bushnell. He is 42, a restaurant owner living at 250 Gridley Street, married to Minnie (35) with two children, George (2) and Mildred (3/12). Bell may have met him through a postcard exchange club, but it is hard to imagine what else they might have had in common. There are also three other families by the surname of Frank in Bushnell in 1910, others may have moved from the area in the interim from 1908 until 1910. J. L. Frank was apparently a fellow collector and someone she had exchanged cards with, but it is most likely someone she had never met.