Main at Gray
1914: Gray and Main was the heart of residential Houston when this postcard was made some time before 1913. A trolley ran up to the commercial area of town for a nickel, or for those up-to-date, a Model-T Ford could bring you back and forth in a few minutes. Visible at center in the distance is the towering Carter Building, the tallest skyscraper in town. Lost in the trees to the left would be 2016 Main, one of the grandest mansions in town, the resdence of Alexander Levy, the merchant owner of Levy's Department Store downtown, Across the street the home of the spinster Scanlan sisters, who built the Scanlan Building at Preston and Main to honor their father.
2016: On the left, the Levy Mansion has been replaced by 2016 Main, a high-rise condominium building. Out of view on the right is the Greyhound Bus station, and visible across the street MacDonalds crowded with travelers day and night. Gone are the stately homes that once sheltered the town's leading citizens, replaced with mid-rise structures and parking lots waiting to be developed. The Carter Building, remodeled and rebranded as JW Mariott Houston, a luxury hotel, is obscured by many taller skyscrapers.
To: Miss Lora Durand
Date: [From message] Rockville, Mo. 1-10-1914
Stamp: Never affixed, not postmarked
Message:My dear Lora:
I have looked at the picture of you girls more than once. You both look so cute on those great big rocks with snow in front of you and it looks like snow where Inamae is sitting. I guess you girls made the snowball I wish you would write me something about the scenery and how you like your new home.
Lovingly Mrs. Mellon
[carried over onto the address side of the card] Rockville, Mo. 1-10-1914.
Jessie Lora was nine years old when she received this postcard, her little sister Ina Mae just seven. They were daughters of Walter Wilbur Durand and Effie J. Peeler of Rockville, Bates County, MO. Their former neighbor, Mrs. Melton wrote to reassure the girls that they were not forgotten in Rockville. She was Caroline Burry Sykes, second wife of Benjamin Melton,
Carrie had a son, Horace Abner Sykes from her previous marriage, who had moved to Idaho. It seemed like everyone from Missouri was moving further Out West as so many had done in the last century. Caroline herself joined him there before 1920, but it was not to be a fortuitous move. In the summer of that year, Benjamin died in Caldwell, ID, and was buried in Canyon Hill Cemetery.
Laura went to the University of Wyoming in Laramie in 1923 for a couple of years before working in Kansas City, but she returned to Rockville in 1926 to marry George Sunderwirth, a former neighbor, and settle down back in her old home town. Ina May married William Arthur Harkin of Montana and moved to that state. Their parents, Walter and Effie Durand, continued to farm in Wyoming until after 1940 when they moved to Boise, ID.
Carrie Melton died in 1928 and is buried beside her husband Benjamin. Horace Sykes died in 1956, Walter Durand in 1966 and his wide, Effie in 1972. All are buried in Boise, ID. Lora Durand and George Sunderwirth died in Missouri, she in 1969 and he in 1983, and they are buried in Prairie City Cemetery, Bates County, MO. William Harkin died in 1996 and Ina May died in 1999 in Boulder, CO.