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Blog post by Randi Richardson In the spring of 2019 a Bloomington resident who wished to remain anonymous donated five, small photos showing a large number of Ku Klux Klan members attending a burial ceremony.  The photos had no identifying information and the donor didn’t even know how s/he came to have the photos in

When Flooding Wreaked Havoc on Monroe County–1913

Blog post by Randi Richardson The flood of March 1913 is without parallel in the history of Indiana.  It occurred between March 23 and March 26 in the central and eastern part of the United State following several days of record-breaking rain onto already heavily saturated ground. On Tuesday, March 25, the Bloomington Daily Telephone provided a lengthy description


Blog post by Randi Richardson Johanna Bourke heard it without really listening.  The whistle of a train on the Monon tracks near her home in Benton Township.   Her husband, Mathias, worked on the railroad and frequently traveled on that particular train.  Each time she heard the whistle it was a comfort to her as though

Senior Cords: Unfolding the Lives of Young Hoosiers

Blog post by Wayne Hastings Just a few weeks ago, I was responsible for accessioning a small group of donations given to us by Shirley Bowman. Bowman, a 1961 Elletsville graduate, offered the Center a wonderful assortment of high school memorabilia which included two pairs of beautifully hand-designed ‘senior cords’ owned by both Shirley and

When Co. H Volunteered to Fight for Cuba’s Freedom

Blog post by Randi Richardson In 1898, Cuba was under the rule of the Spanish empire but had struggled a number of years for independence.  When the U. S. learned that Spain was abusing and killing Cubans, they sent warships to Cuba’s aid.  One of those warships, the USS Maine, mysteriously exploded on the evening


Blog post by Randi Richardson There is no one yet living that can recall firsthand memories of Bloomington in 1860.  And, unfortunately, newspapers aren’t of much help because Bloomington newspapers during that time mostly don’t exist. We might, however, glimpse one small window into the past with the publication of a column titled “Fifty Years

Stories of Suffrage, Part 2: The 1915 and 1917 Partial Suffrage Bill

Blog post by Hilary Fleck The women of Indiana began the year 1917 with high hopes and optimism – it looked as though their years of hard work lobbying the State legislature would come to fruition with the passage of the Maston-McKinley partial suffrage bill (SB 77) in February, which would allow women to vote

The Ups, Downs and Disabling of the INMONROE Rootsweb Mailing List

Blog post by Randi Richardson Many Monroe County genealogists are quite familiar with the INMONROE Rootsweb mailing list.  The list became active in 1980 and was a place where members could share tidbits and trivia about Monroe County.  In 2000, it was a list in need of an administrator.  At that time I took responsibility

New Second Baptist Church Dedicated

Blog post by Randi Richardson The Second Baptist Church of Bloomington was established in 1872 with eleven founding members.  In 1873, members purchased land at 8th and Rogers for a church structure, a frame building that was not completed until 1890.  Until that time, members worshipped in various homes. A new Second Baptist Church on the


Blog post by Randi Richardson John Ketcham (1782-1865) settled in Monroe County in the spring of 1818.   At the time of his arrival he was already quite prominent.  Once situated in Monroe County, he remained a person of prominence.   Among other things, he built the county’s first water-powered grist mill, was commissioned to build Bloomington’s

Roxy Theatre Closed

Blog post by Randi Richardson In an effort to determine when the Roxy Theatre closed in Bloomington at 221 N. College, every issue of the Bloomington (IN) Daily Herald Telephone was reviewed starting on January 1, 1955.  This date was chosen because there was no listing for the Roxy in the 1956 telephone directory or city directory


Blog post by Randi Richardson No documentation has been found to indicate when the Todd School was established in Section 35 of Polk Township.  One thing is for certain, however.  It was opened in 1872 or earlier when Capt. George W. Friedley and Hon. F. Wilson, candidates for the state senate, were scheduled to have

The Making of Monroe County’s First Permanent Courthouse

Blog post by Randi Richardson Charles Blanchard in his History of Morgan, Monroe and Brown Counties published in 1884, noted that John Ketcham was given the contract to build Bloomington’s first permanent courthouse in 1820, but the courthouse was not complete until 1826.  He supposed the reason for the delay was that Ketcham was paid