By Stacey Anderson- Assistant Editor
Jerry Rhodes makes his home in what is known as the Strombeck Addition of North Webster. He is no relation to the family, but his knowledge of the town and its earlier residents makes him somewhat of a local historian.
On Nov. 4, Rhodes, serving as a precinct clerk in North Webster, talked with his fellow election workers of what many refer to as the town’s “unusual” street names. However, the lifetime resident explained, “They’re named after family members of Earl Himes, who was the (Tippecanoe Township) trustee, an insurance salesman and even our county auditor.”
Thus began an impromptu history lesson on why North Webster has a Strombeck Addition and so many unique street names…and it largely began with Huber Earl Himes.
Himes- Earl as he was known- was born in Noble County on April 12, 1894, to Bert and Adeline (Huber) Himes. Before his death in 1968 at the age of 74, Himes had made quite a name for himself in the tiny village once known simply as Webster.
A lifetime resident of Webster, Himes served as the Republican chairman for Kosciusko County and was the town’s postmaster for one year. He was also a school teacher, owner of an insurance agency, Tippecanoe Township trustee for eight years, a World War II veteran and a member of numerous civic and social organizations as well as the North Webster Methodist Church.
Given Himes’ accomplishments, it seems fitting the only town he knew as home would honor him by forever preserving his name. And, as Rhodes noted, not only does Himes Street now serve as the northernmost boundary of what locals know as the Strombeck Addition, it was the first street that was established when the village of Webster expanded its boundaries.
Included in the Strombeck Addition are seven streets named after those related to Earl Himes. Said Rhodes, “Earl married Lura Mae Strombeck (on April 12, 1917). They had a daughter, Effie Mae- she was one year ahead of me in school- and a son, George.” The Strombeck Addition includes Lura Mae Street, Effie Mae Street and George Street.
Also included in the Strombeck Addition on the east side of SR 13 is Mary Lafern Street. “Mary Lafern (Strombeck) was Lura Mae’s sister,” said Rhodes. “She married Lloyd Miller…they owned the hardware store on Main Street before they sold it to Earl Teghtmeyer. They also built the Sweet Yesterday’s building. That was probably around 1957. They sold ice cream, custard and I think they had sandwiches, too.”
Closer to Rhodes’ Effie Mae Street home is Linda Lane and then, just a bit further west, is Blaine Street. “I have no idea where those names came from,” Rhodes admitted. “I imagine those are named from either Effie Mae or George’s children, but I haven’t found anyone who really knows for sure.”
The only immediate living family member of Earl Himes is his daughter, Effie Mae (Mrs. Paul) Miller. When Earl passed away in 1968, Effie Mae was living in Sacramento, Calif.
Other Historical Tidbits
- Shock Cemetery in rural North Webster is name for Jacob Shock (1789-1869). Jacob came to Kosciusko County in 1852. He had 11 children and nine of those went on to have large families of their own.
- In the early 1900s, the village of Webster had a movie theater where silent movies were shown. It was owned by William H. Bockman, the grandson of William Bockman (1816-1890). William H. had four children including Howard, Carl, Lura and Bernice (who died young). Lura played piano at her father’s theater to lend color and suspense to silent movies.
- In 1907, Mack Mock, Charlie Daniels and Henry Outcelt manufactured the Ruth automobile in North Webster. The name for the automobile was chosen by the men, each of whom had a young daughter named Ruth.
- In 1968, James Durham made a movie near North Webster. Although not a blockbuster, the film did star local people, including Tony Strombeck and his then future wife, Patty Berger.
- J. Homer Shoop was inspired by the legend of King Arthur when he created “Camelot Square.” Before the Palace of Sports, the North Webster Post Office, a doctor’s office and Earl Himes’ insurance office were all located along Main Street.
- The first real fire fighting equipment in North Webster were ladders and a long row of buckets. The items were hung in an open shed behind the Counting House Bank.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Information was found in various books available at the North Webster-Tippecanoe Township Library and from local residents.)