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Rediscovering Hendricksville Pottery: New Exhibit in Education Room

Blog post by Wayne Hastings Introduction to the Stuff Lying Around Your House Have you ever taken the time to really study the stuff lying around your house? Attentively looking at the things my family just ended up with has become a recent hobby of mine. A question as simple as “where did this come


Blog post by Randi Richardson Mention the name Boxman around Bloomington today and most people will conjure up an image and, perhaps, a memory of Player’s Pub on South Walnut, a dilapidated property the owner would like to raze against the wishes of the Bloomington Historical Preservation Commission. Many people from Monroe County have either

The Racial Integration of Bloomington in the 1940s

Blog post by Randi Richardson Several months ago I watched an Oscar-winning movie, Green Book, from the comfort of my home with ear phones and captions so I didn’t miss a word.  The move is based on the true story of two men, an Italian-American named Anthony Vallelonga aka Tony Lip, and an African American, Don Shirley, a gifted

Saving the Bell

Blog Post by Randi Richardson Bill Griffy, the watchman at the engine house on the northeast corner of the square, sat outside as he often did on hot summer nights catching what little breeze he could.  It was Wednesday, June 14, 1899, a few minutes after 1 AM.  Other than an attack by a hungry


Blog post by Randi Richardson Family reunions bring families together with bountiful tables and information to share.  On August 28, 1921, descendants of George and Elizabeth “Betsy” (Smith) Skirvin got together for a family reunion in a shady grove about four and a half miles east of Bloomington. George and Betsy reportedly settled that part


Blog post by Randi Richardson The new Hotel Graham was one of the most modern in the Midwest.  And at long last, when weary travelers arrived in Bloomington looking desperately for accommodations there would be some relief. The Hotel Graham was known previously as the Hotel Bowles.  A third of the hotel was razed in

Tragedy in the Life of Emma (Breeden) Munson

Blog post by Randi Richardson Irvin Minneman, an IU freshman from Logansport rooming at the Bloomington home of Emma Munson on Fourth Street, awoke on Wednesday, May 24, 1911, not feeling well at all.  For the past few days he had been suffering from a bad cold.  About 8 AM he asked his roommate, Bernice

Canine Epidemic Threatens Stinesville

Blog post by Randi Richardson It was mid-August 1923.  The people of Stinesville were alarmed when a number of dogs living in the neighborhood went mad.  One of those dogs belonged to R. M. Snooks who lived half mile east of Stinesville.  When R. M. noticed his dog had symptoms of the disease, he tried

The Perilous Journey of a Fugitive Slave

Blog post by Randi Richardson Tony, a slave from Kentucky sometime in the years before the Civil War, escaped from his master and made his way north.  He got as far as Monroe County before he was captured on a Saturday night by the Corsaws who were prominent among Bloomington slave catchers.  The following morning

The Unsolved Mystery of Josiah Botkin’s Disappearance

Blog post by Randi Richardson If you are lucky enough to have an ancestor that left behind an oral interview, you may find the material both interesting and enlightening.  Consider, for example, the oral interview of Alva Botkin (variously spelled Botkins, Bodkin and Bodkins) on file at the research library in the Monroe County History

Disinterments at Covenanter Cemetery: Truth or Fiction

Blog post by Randi Richardson On October 28, 1902, the Bloomington (IN) Courier published a very interesting item from the Indianapolis Sentinel in which it was noted that John Blair, who in his old age, was digging up corpses from the “old Covenanter graveyard,” many of whom were friends and associates he had previously helped to bury. The article

Stories of Suffrage, Part 3: Monroe County Women Enter the Race

Blog post by Hilary Fleck I was fortunate enough through my fellowship from Indiana Humanities to research and rediscover some of the remarkable suffragists from Monroe County. I peered into the lives of Annabelle Miers, Isabella Seward, Agnes Evans, and Lillian Gay Berry and found strong women passionate about equal suffrage. The exhibit Votes for Women at


Blog post by Randi Richardson Much is known about the early history of Monroe County because a significant amount has been written.  The earliest and most comprehensive county history is that compiled by Charles Blanchard in Counties of Morgan, Monroe and Brown published in 1884.  Several decades later, in 1922, Forest M. “Pop” Hall also provided a

Wanted: Ox Team for Centennial Pageant

Blog post by Randi Richardson Two hundred years ago, in the early 1800’s, oxen and ox teams were common sights.  They pulled many of the Conestoga wagons that brought pioneers into Monroe County, hauled trees chopped from virgin forests and helped to break the sod to make the ground ready for crops.  Even after trains