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Early History of the Bloomington Creamery aka Johnson Creamery

Blog post by Randi Richardson The Johnson’s Creamery smoke stack that rises skyward 110 feet is one of Bloomington’s most recognized landmarks.  Although the smoke stack was not built until 1949, the original creamery building at 400 W. Seventh Street was completed in 1914.  As the creamery business grew, it was necessary to expand the building.  The

Vernal/Mayfield Cemetery One of County’s Earliest Places of Burial

Blog post by Randi Richardson Behind the historic Mayfield house on Oard Road, with enough space in between for a nice sized garden, is a cemetery.    It’s relatively small in size, about half an acre, with 106 or 107 aging, barely legible tombstones.  Today it is known as the Vernal/Mayfield Cemetery. Rev. Leroy Mayfield probably

Leroy Mayfield Home on National Register of Historic Places

Blog post by Randi Richardson Richland Township, Monroe County, Indiana, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Lisa Schock did a nice article about the home published in the Bloomington Herald-Times on July 9, 1994.  It was accompanied by a lovely photo taken by Phil Whitlow that showed shuttered windows and a nicely kept

Phillips among the Last of Monroe County’s Two-room Schools

Blog post by Randi Richardson The Phillips Schoolhouse at the southeast intersection of Indiana 446 and Lampkins Ridge Road (Section 12, Perry Township) was among the last of the two-room schoolhouses in Monroe County.  In 1967 outdoor toilets were still in use—one for the girls and another for the boys.  Clarence Stewart, the School Superintendent,

Bloomington Mail Carrier Once Guarded the White House

Blog post by Randi Richardson Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), a progressive democrat, was the 28th president of the United States serving two terms from 1913 to 1921.  During the course of his administration, the perimeter of the White House was guarded by sixty-six men each night working in three shifts of twenty-two each.  One of those

When Mary (Kleindorfer) Skirvin Died

Blog post by Randi Richardson Elizabeth Pauline “Betty” (Skirvin) Richardson, my mother-in-law, was born April 12, 1922, in Monroe County, Indiana, to Ross Monroe and Mary Elizabeth (Kleindorfer) Skirvin.  She was the fourth child of six.  Bob, the oldest, was born in 1916; John, the youngest, was in May 1926. Six months after John’s birth,


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