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Bloomington: The Center of Population

Blog post by Rod Spaw Bloomington leaders celebrated when the city was designated in the 1910 Census as the mean center of population for the United States. It gave them a powerful tool for promoting commercial investment in Bloomington. As calculated by the Census Bureau, the mean center is the point of balance if every

Horace Kearney’s Attempted Crossing of Dunn Meadow

Blog by Rod Spaw In Drawer 3, Unit N of Hallway Storage on the third floor of the Monroe County History Center is a scarred and scuffed piece of bamboo measuring 9 ¼ inches long by 1 ¼ inches in diameter. If not for the paper label glued to it, the hollow tube might be

Henry J. Feltus, A Newspaper Editor of the “Old School”

Blog post by Rod Spaw Viewing events through a political or ideological lens did not start with the internet, Fox News or MSNBC. It was not uncommon, in fact, for newspapers throughout much of U.S. history to rely on political patronage for their success. Even when the advertising model of business took over in the

Whetsell’s Shoe Store

Blog post by Hilary Fleck While looking through our postcard collection, I found this photo postcard of Whetsell’s Shoe Store with an amazing reflection in the store window of the County Courthouse. I looked through the directories in our Research Library and discovered that the store was located on the south side of the square

A Famous Novelist Comes to Bloomington

Blog by Rod Spaw Author Theodore Dreiser had not seen Bloomington in 25 years when he arrived on Aug. 26, 1915. It was his 44th birthday, and the writer of “Sister Carrie” and other novels was on a two-week tour of his native Indiana by automobile. His means of conveyance was a brand new, 60-horsepower Pathfinder

Commemorative Fishing at the History Center

By Wayne Hastings My perception of my great grandfather Charles Ervin Wall has always been intricately tied to fishing. According to family lore, he was an expert fisherman who was commonly seen frying a dozen or two panfish even before the sun fully came up. If bluegills could talk, I am sure they too would

The Disappearance of a Chambers Family from Smithville

Blog post by Randi Richardson “It was heart rending,” according to her obituary, “one of the most pitiable sights witnessed in the south part of the county.” Mary Chambers, noted only as “Mrs. James Chambers” in her obituary, about 44 years age and a resident of Smithville, reportedly had been sick and running a fever

Over 100 Years of Innovation in the Kitchen

Blog post by Wayne Hastings Within the last one hundred years there has been a vast number of inventions that have permanently changed how people cook and prepare meals. Modern kitchen appliances have progressively made cooking more convenient and has created gadgets we cannot imagine living without today. However, equally important are the inventions that

1894 Fire Leaves Stinesville in Ashes

Blog post by Randi Richardson Fourteen miles northwest of Bloomington lies the little town of Stinesville, Indiana.  Founded in 1855, Stinesville was once a hub of Indiana’s stone industry.  By the early 1900s, the Hoadley Limestone Mill was the town’s primary employer, and when the mill was destroyed by fire in 1916, the town went

Nancy Streets’ Close Encounter with the Roll-O-Rama Skating Rink

Blog post by Randi Richardson Nancy Streets wasn’t just an ordinary somebody.  Her father was a dentist in South Bend and she attended South Bend schools along with her two older brothers.  Following her graduation, she enrolled as a freshman at IU-Bloomington and joined a sorority.  In 1958, as a beautiful sophomore majoring in Speech

Bloomington Women City Clerks 1935-2021

Blog post by Glenda Murray Come see the exhibit, “See Her Run,” about women who have been elected to public office in Bloomington and Monroe County. This article focuses on one office over time–the office of city clerk-treasurer which became the office of the city clerk in the 1960s. Since 1935, the person who has

Stardust

Blog post by Randi Richardson On a moonlit night, under a star-studded sky, a melancholy, young man sat on the spooning wall situated on the south side of campus along Third Street.  It was late summer before the students returned to campus for the fall semester of 1927.  All was quiet as he pondered his

The Neeld Family and Bloomington’s Historic Courthouse Square

Blog post by Wayne Hastings For me personally, the courthouse square has always been strongly linked to how I  perceive Bloomington, Indiana’s quality of place. The shops, restaurants, and festivities held  around the courthouse have forged memories and life experiences that I will likely recite once I  reach old age. Recently, the spread of the

The Life and Times of Hattie (Dunihoo) Herold Parks

Blog post by Randi Richardson Harriett “Hattie” M. Dunihoo was one of the very few children from Monroe County to ever be placed at the state-supported Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s Home in Knightstown, Indiana, about 40 miles west of Indianapolis.  The home was established in 1866 for the children of veterans and active members of the military.

A Nursing Spotlight: Edna Hardacre

Blog post by Hilary Fleck If the past twelve months have shown us anything, it is that the dedication of nurses to care for their patients is never ending. One such dedicated nurse was Enda (Ferguson) Hardacre, an enlisted Red Cross nurse serving with the U.S. Navy during World War 1. Edna was born in

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