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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

Snuffing Out a Killer

The summer of 1952 wasn’t just another summer.  Swimming pools and movie theaters closed.  Children were kept inside their homes by frightened parents. No doubt about it, people were scared.  They had every right to be.  It was an epidemic year for polio.  According to one study, the only thing they feared more than polio in 1952 was

Beryl Hovious and Public Enemy No. 1

Blog post by Randi Richardson In 1924 John Dillinger, a petty criminal and resident of Mooresville, Indiana, was found guilty of a bungled robbery attempt and an assault on a local grocer.  Unable to afford a lawyer, the court threw the book at him.  He was sentenced from 10 to 21 years in prison.  Although John’s

Art in the Dome

Blog post by Randi Richardson Art in and around Bloomington is available in abundance; some of the oldest art, freely and readily accessed by the public, is that in the courthouse dome.  It is the work of Gustav Adolph Brand (1862-1944). County commissioners and a committee of Bloomington citizens composed of Henry Gentry, J. D. Showers, Fred

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