A Glendale Tradition Over a Century Old

Every winter, if the snows fly long and deep, the road down Gunny Hill (Magnolia) is barricaded so that the children of Glendale will have a fun and safe place to go sledding. The course starts at the top of Floral "Big" Park on E. Fountain, and runs east down Gunny Hill. Some kids make it all the way down to Greenville Avenue, a distance of about 1600 feet, or nearly a third of a mile! Gunny Hill takes its name from early former residents, Austin and Margaret Gunnison, who lived near the top of the hill.

The Sledding Course

Kids Having a Blast on Gunny Hill
[click to enlarge each pic]

The Former Gunnison Residence - Built in 1865

Austin Gunnison, founder of the Inland Oil Company in Cincinnati, was born in 1833 in Claremont, New Hampshire and moved to Glendale in the early 1860's. He came by way of Canandaigua, New York (1850 census, age 17, with parents), and later Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1860 census, age 27, married to Margaret). In Milwaukee he became a wholesale grocer.

Having built his home in 1865 at 820 Ivy Avenue in Glendale, on May 22, 1867, a baby daughter, Julia, was born to the Gunnison household.

In (1870 census) his household at 820 Ivy Avenue in Glendale, Ohio contained his 38 year old wife, Margaret Sophia Shepard Gunnison, his 3 year old daughter, Julia Shephard Gunnison, Mary Hoben 26 of Ireland, and Mary Manning 23 of New York, both domestic servants.

On September 10, 1870 a son, Shepard Gunnison was born to the family. On July 12, 1872, Shepard passed away.

In (1880 census), Austin Gunnison's Glendale household contained his wife Margaret and daughter Julia, as well as two Irish servants, Owen and Julia McGrath, ages 38 and 35 respectively.

On September 3, 1885, Austin's wife Margaret passed away. Shortly thereafter, Austin remarried to a young lady named Adelaide Hyde.

The 1891 and 1892 Stamford, Connecticut Directory shows Austin living on Cumming's Point in Stamford.

The 1900 census shows Austin Gunnison was living in Stamford, Connecticut with his new wife Adelaide and a three year old daughter (born January, 1897), interestingly enough, named Margaret. At this time he still had two servants in residence.

The 1910 census shows he was living in Manhattan, New York, still living with his wife Adelaide and his daughter Margaret, but then, at age 77, he no longer had servants in residence.

On April 2, 1915 Austin passed away. Adelaide passed away on June 29, 1916, also in New York.

Austin, his first wife, Margaret, and his son Shepard, are all buried in the family plot in West Avenue Cemetery in Canandaigua, New York, with Austin's parents, Oliver and Susan Willey Gunnison.

From the New York Times April 4, 1915

537 West 141st Street

Austin's first daughter, Julia went on to marry, on November 15, 1893, Herbert Kent Porter, son of John Henry Porter of Glendale, whose house, pictured below, is today classified as a Glendale pivotal structure.

Built about 1855-67 by John H. Porter, and owned by family until about 1905.

Julia became a famous artist in San Diego. Her biography, from the Journal of San Diego History, follows:

b. Glendale, Ohio May 22, 1867
d. Poway, California May 31, 1952

The daughter of pioneer U.S. oilman Austin Gunnison, Julia began her study of art in New York at the Art Students' League and National Academy of Design. Later, she took instruction at the Academie Julian in Paris where she became interested in painting animals. This led to her study of animal anatomy at the veterinary department of McGill University at Montreal, Canada. Moving to San Diego County in the late 1920s, Julia lived in the rural Escondido and Poway areas. A member of the San Diego Art Guild, she exhibited locally in the 1930s and 1940s.

Julia's husband, Herbert Kent Porter, died on November 17, 1940 and his cremains were interred in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati on June 9, 1941. Julia's cremains were laid to rest next to Herbert on July 6, 1954.

For those of you who are interested in knowing a little more about Julia Gunnison Porter and Herbert Kent Porter, read on:

Source: www.deltacountyindependent.com - Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Porter House at 604 East 4th Street in Delta, (Colorado) has been added to the City of Deltaís Historic Registry. The Queen Anne-style home was built in 1904 by Dr. Herbert Kent Porter, who was the first forest supervisor in this area.

Dr. Porter was a graduate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons but decided to join the Forest Service because of health concerns. He was appointed supervisor by Gifford Pinchot, who at that time was the head of the Forest Service in Washington, D.C. He was a personal friend of Dr. Porter and his wife Julia.

Julia Shepard Gunnison Porter was the daughter of Austin Gunnison, an amateur art and antique collector and first cousin of the famous Capt. John Gunnison, the individual for whom the town of Gunnison was named. Julia Porter and her father were guests on the platform at the ceremonies in Montrose when President William Howard Taft officially opened the Gunnison Tunnel in 1909.

President Taft at the 1909 ceremonies. In the background are western Colorado Sheriffs, with their traditional ten gallon hats, bandanas, blue flannel shirts, corduroy pants, each carrying a Colt .45 in a holster. The man walking with President Taft could conceivably be Austin Gunnison, but that is pure speculation based on the fact that he was friends with Taft and he was there at the ceremony. This is currently under investigation.

Photo: © Buller Collection

Their home at 604 East 4th Street included a barn at the rear of the property which Dr. Porter made into an office for the Battlement Mesa Forest Service, later renamed Uncompahgre Forest Reserve, and then Uncompahgre National Forest.

The Porters were well known for their hospitality and lavish parties. Julia liked guests to present calling cards upon their arrival, and kept a long, narrow table just inside the door against the stairway to the second floor. This table always had a silver dish to hold the cards.

Julia was the first regent of the Capt. John Gunnison chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Delta. She was noted for her paintings of animals and desert subjects.

The Porters lived at 604 East 4th for just a few years before building a new home at 101 Grand Boulevard (now a vacant lot). In 1920 they moved to southern California, where Dr. Porter died in 1940. Julia Porter died in 1952 at the age of 85.

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