10 May 1909: Waddell’s was a six story furniture and appliance store at the southeast corner of Fannin and Prairie, one of the largest such stores in the state. Constructed in 1895, Waddell’s famously burned 22 March 1938, and was totally destroyed. Many neighboring buildings were damaged as well, including Christ Church directly to the south on the same block, the alter for which had to be reconstructed.
10 March 2005: From the corner of Prairie and Fannin looking southeast, Cathedral House Episcopal School at 1112 Prairie Street occupies the lot where Waddell’s stood before it burned in 1938.
Multistory buildings beyond include: (left) Great Southwest Building, built in 1927 as 21-story Petroleum Building for oil industry professionals, now Cambria Suites residences; and (right) 2 Houston Center at 909 Fannin Street, a 40-story office tower built in 1974, and the 16-story 1114 Texas building built in 1950, now a part of Hyatt Place Downtown.
Postmarked: 10 May 1909; Houston, Tex.
To: Mrs. A. Patterson,
119 N. Franklin St.,
Glad to hear good re-ports of sick folks. Am getting things in shape as rapidly as possible & will come before June 1st, tho you’ve never said if I was to come or not. Will do last of wool packing away tomorrow, which is a big item in this country. Quite cool here, but not cold like [continued on front, inverted] some places I know. Took store down last week. Card from father a few days ago. Hope “taxes trip’” did not tire him greatly. M. A. H.
Furniture store. May 10 – 1909.
Waddells was a burgeoning store in the early years of the 1900's. The original store was built in 1891 as a four story structure. In later years three more floors were added. [See Christ Church for a view of the earlier store.]
M. A. H. was Mrs. Minnie Aries Howell, 45 year old daughter of Peter L. Dansingburg and Eliza Jane Tolen of Rochester, Olmsted County, MN. Minnie lived at 2403 Bagby in Houston, the wife of Edwin Pratt Howell, a physician practicing as an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist at an office in the Mason Block at 717 Main Street. Both Minnie and Edwin had been married previously. Minnie had married first in 1886 to Walter James Aries, and after he died less than three years later, she lived as a widow for 12 years before she married Dr. Howell in Winona, MN.
Dr. Howell had also been married before, first to Mary Lillie Price in 1884 in Knox County, IL. Lilly was the daughter of Thomas Price and Mary A. Brown, living with her widowed mother in 1880 in Millersburg, Mercer County, IL. Lillie was a 20 year old teacher as was her sister Emma (26), with them was two other sisters, Mattie (24) and Isabel (16). Edwin Howell was at this time living with mother, sister Barbara and his widowed Grandfather Joseph Watson (73), various cousins and aunts in Mackinaw, Tazewell County, IL. His mother was a widow after her husband, James Price Howell, had died in 1859 after only four years of marriage and two children born. In 1880 Edwin and his sister made a living as teachers, so he and Lillie could have met through professional interactions. At some point in the late 19th century Edwin acquired further education needed to practice medicine.
Mrs. A. Patterson was Minnie’s older sister, Carrie J. Patterson, wife of Alfred Patterson, a former lumberman in Winona, MN. The “Sick folks” Minnie mentions seem to be either Carrie’s family: Laura M. (born 1883), Glen (1886), Helen M. (1888), Walter (1891), Roscoe (1892), or perhaps members of the Dansingburg family, possibly their mother, Eliza Jane Tolen, who had filed her will on 21 October 1908 ten months before, naming Minnie and Carrie executors. Eliza died 4 January 1910, less than eight months after the postcard, and who may have been ill at the time of the postcard.
Their father was Peter Landon Dansingburg, who in 1909 was incorporated as P. L. Dansingburg & Co., a real estate concern in partnership with his daughter, Minnie Howell. The taxes trip may have been in connection with property taxes. Rochester was the county seat of Olmstead County, which would not have required travel, but he may have had properties in other counties to which he had to travel, perhaps St. Paul in Ramsey County, to which his son-in-law Alfred Patterson would soon relocate as an investment broker.
The "Wool packing away" Minnie speaks of is apparently putting aside woolen garments as out of season in Houston in May, which could have been a seasonal household task, or, since she also says she “took store down last week,” she may have had a role in store management, possibly even Waddell’s, but this cannot be confirmed. Edwin discontinued his practice of medicine before 1920 and became a farmer a mile and a half west of Dickinson, Galveston County, TX. By 1930 Dr. Howell was again practicing medicine in Dickinson, Minnie is censused in two places that year, Dickinson, Galveston County, TX as a housewife and in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN living alone.
Edwin died in 1940 of carcinoma of the face and Minnie in 1959 and both were cremated. Alfred died in St. Paul in 1943, and Carrie in 1949; she is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Rochester, MN.