View all images of Helfrich-Jennings House (401 N Wabash)
|1894||House is built|
The victorian urge to pair white stone and rich, red brick, to fill in otherwise blank wall surfaces with ornamental brick work, and to provide a buildling with varying shapes and textures is clearly evident in this construction for William Helfrich and his family. The house was built in 1894, and the materials more than likely came from the sawmill and brick works of his father, Adam Helfrich The new residence was palatial in comparison to the rented half of a double house that the Helfrichs moved from. It was also conveniently situated across the street from St. Boniface Catholic Church where the family worshipped. In 1909, the daughter, Lillian, was married in the church to John K Jennings. The young couple made their home after the marriage with her parents in the Wabash Ave house and continued to live in it for five decades. Jennings, a bookkeeper for a coal company when he married Lillian, later established a successful hay and grain business and built (1928) a neighborhood movie house, the Rosedale Theatre, which he owned and operated for several decades. He also became involved in politics, and in 1924 ran for mayor on the Democratic ticket, but lost the election to Repbulican Herbert Males. In 1935, Jennings was made director of the Evansville district WPA. Based on his record while in this position he was appointed to head the state WPA program in 1937.