Style Selector
Layout Style
Boxed Background Patterns
Boxed Background Images
Color Scheme
Museum Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-4pm    (812) 332-2517COVID-19 Updates

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

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