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Lest We Forget

Blog post by Randi Richardson I met Charles Gromer at the Monroe County History Center garage sale in June 2019.  He was thumbing through a thick stack of orphan photographs, those pictures abandoned by their families without identification.  “It’s sad,” I said “to see photos of people discarded without identification and separated from the families

The Bratton/Hudson Funeral Home in Downtown Ellettsville

Blog post by Randi Richardson There once was a funeral home in downtown Ellettsville.  If you didn’t live in Ellettsville during the 1940s and 50s, you probably have no memory of it.  In the span of history, it existed only briefly. The two-story building at 112 N. Sale Street is believed to have been built

Lucille Skirvin’s Diploma and the Research It Inspired

Blog post by Randi Richardson Every year at the MCHC annual garage sale I find, without much effort, an artifact or two from Bloomington.  This year it was a large, framed picture of the Showers Furniture Factory taken sometime in the 1930s, a June 1929 diploma from Bloomington High School made out to Lucille (variously

The Bloomington Attorney Who Became Indiana’s Governor

Blog post by Randi Richardson Two men with deep roots in Monroe County served as governor of Indiana.  Paris Chipman Dunning was one of those two.  He came to Bloomington with his mother when he was quite a young man and studied law under Gen. Howard and James A. Whitcomb.  He obtained his law degree

Home Deliveries

Blog post by Randi Richardson Lots of people from Monroe County had kin that lived in Brown County located adjacent to Monroe County on the east.  Some of those kin may be among those noted in the June 2019 issue of the Brown County Journal dedicated exclusively to hucksters—the vehicle operators and the families and communities they


Blog post by Randi Richardson A number of Revolutionary War veterans are buried in Monroe County including Joseph Henderson and his wife, Elizabeth, in the White Oak Cemetery.   On May 11, 2019, the Daniel Guthrie SAR Chapter of Bedford and the Bloomington DAR Chapter co-hosted a grave marking and re-dedication ceremony at Henderson’s gravesite.  April

A New Resource in the Research Library

Blog post by Rod Spaw Memories fade, but photographs remember.  That makes visual images important resources for exploring the past. Photos can raise questions, provide clarity or suggest additional avenues for discovery. New to the Monroe History Center’s collection of research tools is an index of photo studios that operated in Bloomington between 1892 and

Into the Lions’ Den

Blog post by Randi Richardson This sketch accompanied the circus announcement published in the Bloomington Evening World on July 26, 1924.  The caption under the sketch noted that the “biggest lion is the one that tried to kill the trainer and the smallest lion is the one that saved its master’s life.”  It was additionally

Bloomington High School Song

Blog post by Randi Richardson Bloomington’s “new” high school, the one at Second and Walnut, was dedicated in late 1914.  By 1928, the school had a new song, “The Bloomington High School Song.”  It was sung to the tune of the Washington and Lee Swing. The composer of the song was Mary Steen, the daughter of

George Buskirk on Trial for the Murder of Elzie Easton

Blog post by Randi Richardson After shooting and killing Elzie Easton and gunning down his companion, James Douglass, on Christmas Eve, 1889, George Buskirk, the saloon keeper, escaped through a rear door and headed east to the home of his mother.  He reportedly gave some thought, initially, to turning himself in to the sheriff, or

Guest Blogger: Eva Ladd

Hello, my name is Eva Ladd and I’m currently an intern at the Monroe County History Center (MCHC) from Bloomington High School North through my Service Learning Program. I have a general interest in history, specifically the 1960’s, with the Civil Rights movement being one of my favorite topics. My Service Learning class required me

The Murder of Elsworth “Elzie” Easton

Blog post by Randi Richardson The story below was taken from an article titled “Double Murder, Terrible Shooting Affair,” published in the Bloomington Telephone on December 27, 1889, and found in the clipping file at the research library,  Monroe County History Center, Bloomington, Indiana.  It was abbreviated from the lengthy original as shown by the

New Collection of World War II Letters Donated to the History Center

The Research Library recently received a small collection of correspondence between a son, Glen Whaley, and his family in Stanford, IN during his time enlisted with the Navy during World War II. Library volunteer, Lee Ehman, recently went through the letters and wrote up a bit about the contents of the collection and about Glen’s

Jennie Easton’s Hotel a Stinesville Landmark

Blog post by Randi Richardson The story below is from upon an article  titled “Aunt Jennie’s ‘New’ Hotel Has a Place in History,” published in the Bloomington (IN) Saturday Courier, on May 13, 1955, p. 1B.  It is abbreviated from the original as shown by the ellipsis. The Monon railroad, by coming to Stinesville instead