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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

Bloomington Town Pumps Were Watering Holes for Man and Beast

Blog post by Randi Richardson The old town pumps were a part of Bloomington’s early endeavors to furnish water for the community. One of the first acts of the Monroe County commissioners in 1818 was the cleaning out of two springs near the square for public use.  As the community grew, so did the need

John F. Dillon Designed His Own Tombstone

Blog post by Randi Richardson It isn’t often that one designs their own tombstone or the designer of a tombstone is even known.  And it isn’t often that one tombstone stands about among many others in a given cemetery.  For those reasons the tombstones of John F. Dillon and the Dillon family at Rose Hill

Visit Louden’s; Win a New Ford

Blog post by Randi Richardson Monroe County wasn’t exactly hurting for grocery stores in the 1950s.  According to the 1953 Bloomington Telephone Directory, there were 53 supermarkets spread throughout the county with the large majority situated in Bloomington.  Nevertheless, Louden’s Supermarket at 4th and Madison opened with much pomp and circumstance in September 1955. An 8-page ad was published

Stories of Suffrage, Part 1: Mrs. Agnes Evans

Hello! I am Hilary Fleck, the Collection Manager at the Monroe County History Center. I have the wonderful opportunity to research Monroe County women involved in the Women’s Suffrage Movement and the fight for the right to vote through funding from the Indiana Humanities’ May Wright Sewall Fellowship. My research so far has uncovered dozens


Blog post by Randi Richardson In 1877 a large number of Bloomington residents raised hogs as a supplemental means of livelihood and/or to provide meat for the family.  Hogs roaming at large were a familiar sight in the city making themselves a nuisance even about the public square.  Sometimes an errant porker, finding a door