Monroe County Timeline

Most Significant Events

Land Ordinance of 1785
1785, May 20
The Ordinance of 1785 established the process of land procurement by settlers in the new western lands. The land was surveyed and laid out in township and sections for purchase by settlers. The Ordinance helped raise money for the new United States since direct taxation was not legal at the time under the new Articles of Confederation. The system is still in use today.
Source: James H. Madison, Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014), 30-31.
Indiana territory created
1800
Indiana is designated a territory out of the what will become Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, parts of Minnesota and Michigan. Vincennes is made the seat of government at the organization of the territory.
Source: George Pence and Nellie C. Armstrong, Indiana Historical Collections Vol XIX: Indiana Boundaries (Indianapolis: Wm. B. Burford Printing Co., 1967), 138.
First land sales in Bloomington
1816, Sep 26
George Ritchey, George Hedrick, David Rogers, and Joseph Taylor purchase the first tracts of land in what will become the city of Bloomington.
Source: Charles Blanchard, Counties of Morgan, Monroe, and Brown, Indiana (Chicago: F. A. Battey & Co, 1884), 452.
Indiana becomes 19th state
1816, Dec 11
Indiana becomes the 19th state of the United States of America.
Source: George Pence and Nellie C. Armstrong, Indiana Historical Collections Vol XIX: Indiana Boundaries (Indianapolis: Wm. B. Burford Printing Co., 1967), 12.
Monroe County Established
1818, Jan 14
Monroe County, named for President James Monroe, is formed by state statute to be effective 10 Apr 1818. Monroe is taken from Orange County.
Source: George Pence and Nellie C. Armstrong, Indiana Historical Collections Vol XIX: Indiana Boundaries (Indianapolis: Wm. B. Burford Printing Co., 1967), 600.
First County Commissioners meeting
1818, Apr 10
The first recorded meeting of the Monroe County Commissioners is held at the dwelling house of Abner Blair. The court ordered 12 townships and the town of Bloomington be laid out. The area of the public square is defined and Benjamin Parks, agent of the county, is ordered to place a stone at each corner of the square. The county agent is also directed to advertise lots for sale in the town of Bloomington.
Source: Commissioners' Record Monroe County, Indiana: Volume A 1818-1824, Transcription (Indianapolis: The Indiana Historical Records Survey, 1940), December 31, 1969, 1-9.
Clear Creek Township established.
1818, Apr 13
Clear Creek township in southern Monroe County is established by Monroe County Commissioners.
Source: Commissioners' Record Monroe County, Indiana: Volume A 1818-1824, Transcription (Indianapolis: The Indiana Historical Records Survey, 1940), 2.
Bean Blossom township is organized.
1818, Apr 13
Monroe County Commissioners organize the township of Bean Blossom located northwest and west of Bloomington.
Source: Commissioners' Record Monroe County, Indiana: Volume A 1818-1824, Transcription (Indianapolis: The Indiana Historical Records Survey, 1940), 2.
Indian Creek Township Established
1818, Apr 13
Indian Creek township is established by the Monroe County Commissioners and is located in southwest and western Monroe County.
Source: Commissioners' Record Monroe County, Indiana: Volume A 1818-1824, Transcription (Indianapolis: The Indiana Historical Records Survey, 1940), 2.
Bloomington Township Established
1818, Apr 13
The Monroe County Commissioners establish the township of Bloomington named for the town of Bloomington.
Source: Commissioners' Record Monroe County, Indiana: Volume A 1818-1824, Transcription (Indianapolis: The Indiana Historical Records Survey, 1940), 2.
Bloomington's first public land sales
1818, Jun
The first public land sale or auction of lots in the new town of Bloomington takes place on June 22 & 23, with Henry Wampler, E. R. Maxwell, and Jonathan Nichols among the buyers.
Source: Charles Blanchard, The Heritage Collection History and Biography: Counties of Morgan, Monroe and Brown, Indiana (F.A. Battey & Co. Publishers, 18884), 453.
Log Courthouse Completed
1818, Aug
A double log cabin is completed as the new Monroe County courthouse. The courthouse was erected one half block south of the public square on what is now Walnut Street. (Image courtesy of 1883 Sanborn Map via IU Libraries)
Source: Charles Blanchard, Counties of Morgan, Monroe, and Brown, Indiana (Chicago: F. A. Battey & Co, 1884), 382. more...
Treaty of St. Mary's-New Purchase
1818, Oct
The Indian tribes Potawatomi, Weas, Delawares, and the Miamis were represented in this treaty which saw 8 million acres of land in central Indiana be purchased by the government. The land in north and northeast Monroe County was open to sale after this treaty. Also known as the New Purchase.
Source: Russ F. Lockridge, Sr., The Story of Indiana (Oklahoma City, OK: Harlow Publishing Corp, 1951), 198.
Brick Courthouse Work Begun
1819, Jun
A contract with John Ketchum is signed for construction of a new permanent courthouse on the public square.
Source: Charles Blanchard, Counties of Morgan, Monroe, and Brown, Indiana (Chicago: F. A. Battey & Co, 1884), 383.
Log schoolhouse built
1819, Jul
A log schoolhouse is built near Seventh Street and College Avenue.
Source: Charles Blanchard, Counties of Morgan, Monroe, and Brown, Indiana (Chicago: F. A. Battey & Co, 1884), 470.
State legislature chooses Monroe County for state seminary
1820, Jan 20
The state legislature passes an ordinance to locate two Indiana townships, one in Monroe County, for state seminaries.
Source: Charles Blanchard, Counties of Morgan, Monroe, and Brown, Indiana (Chicago: F. A. Battey & Co, 1884), 477. more...
Seward & Company Opens
1821, Sep
Austin Seward and family move from Kentucky to Bloomington and open a blacksmith shop on the southeast corner of what is now 7th and Walnut streets. The company is in business for 161 years.
Source: "Tells Kiwanis of Foundry 100 Years Old," Evening World, December 5, 1922, 1.
Monroe County boundary change
1821, Dec 31
Land purchased under the the Indian Treaty of St. Mary's in 1818 opens a portion of the county north and east of the "Ten o'clock Line" which had been the original boundary. The added land is opened for settlement.
Source: George Pence and Nellie C. Armstrong, Indiana Historical Collections Vol XIX: Indiana Boundaries (Indianapolis: Wm. B. Burford Printing Co., 1967), 602-603.
Baynard Rush Hall first professor and principal
1823
Baynard Rush Hall is hired as first professor and principal to teach in the Seminary. He is hired for the term of one year, and his salary is fixed at $250 per annum. (Indiana University Archives P0021080)
Source: James Albert Woodburn, History of Indiana University: Volume I: 1820-1902 (Bloomington: Indiana University, 1940), 13. more...
"Indiana Gazette": first printing
1824, Oct 30
The "Indiana Gazette", moved from Corydon to Bloomington, is the first newspaper printed here.
Source: Donald Carmony, "Pioneer Press in Indiana," Indiana History Bulletin., October 1, 1954, 208-209.
Indiana Seminary opens its doors
1825, Apr 3
Begun in 1822, construction of the Seminary Building ended in 1824. It is reported in the Indiana "Gazette" and by Professor John Harney that the date of April 3, 1825 was the opening date for admitting ten boys. Among them is Joseph A. Wright, tenth governor of Indiana. The building was sold and razed in 1858.
Source: Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Volume 1 Early Years (Bloomington & London: Indiana University Press, 1970), 31.
Salt Creek township established
1825, May
Salt Creek township in eastern and southeastern Monroe county is established by the county commissioners.
Source: Monroe County, IN, Monroe County Commissioners Book \'B\' (Bloomington: Monroe County, 1832), 19.
Courthouse completed
1826
The second county courthouse on the square in Bloomington is completed and occupied.
Source: Charles Blanchard, Counties of Morgan, Monroe, and Brown, Indiana (Chicago: F. A. Battey & Co, 1884), 382-383. more...
First commercial quarry opens
1827
First commercial limestone quarry opened by Richard Gilbert 3/4 mi south of Stinesville, Monroe County.
Source: "Limestone Foundation For Stinesville," Herald Telephone, July 6, 1955, 2.
Bloomington incorporated as town
1827, Mar 5
Citizens of Bloomington meet at the courthouse to vote on incorporating the county seat as a town. The voice vote was 18 for and 3 against incorporation. Election of trustees would be subsequently held.
Source: Charles Blanchard, The Heritage Collection History and Biography: Counties of Morgan, Monroe and Brown, Indiana (F.A. Battey & Co. Publishers, 1884), 463. more...
Daniel Stoute House built
1828
First house built of Indiana Limestone and oldest standing house in Monroe County. (Daniel Stoute house 3655 N. Maple Grove Rd).
Source: Walter F. Woodburn, "Woodburn Tells of Stoute Land Purchase During 1816 Sale," Bloomington Telephone, February 19, 1944. more... map
Indiana Seminary becomes Indiana College
1828, Jan 24
Indiana College established from Indiana Seminary.
Source: Woodburn, James A. History of Indiana University Volume I, 1820-1902. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University, 1940. p32
Andrew Wylie elected president of Indiana College
1828, Oct 5
The Board of Trustees elect Andrew Wylie of Pennsylvania president of the new college.
Source: Charles Blanchard, Counties of Morgan, Monroe, and Brown, Indiana (Chicago: F. A. Battey & Co, 1884), 477. more...
Washington Township Established
1829, Jul
Washington township, named to honor George Washington, is established in northern Monroe County by ordinance of the county commissioners.
Source: Monroe County, IN, Monroe County Commissioners Book \'B\' (Bloomington: Monroe County, 1832), 207.
Richland Township established
1829, Jul
Richland township is established from Bean Blossom township.
Source: Monroe County, IN, Monroe County Commissioners Book \'B\' (Bloomington: Monroe County, 1832), 207.
Perry Township established
1830, May
Perry township is established from the original Seminary township created for use as the State College lands. Perry is named for Oliver Perry, a naval hero in the War of 1812.
Source: Monroe County, IN, Monroe County Commissioners Book \'B\' (Bloomington: Monroe County, 1832), 246.
Benton Township created from Jackson township
1833, May
The new Benton township is created from Jackson township by a line "dividing the land and people as equally from north to south as maybe allowing the eastern part to retain the name of Jackson and calling the western half Benton." Thomas Hart Benton, the US senator from Missouri, is the new township's namesake.
Source: Monroe County, IN, Monroe County Commissioners Book \'C\' (Bloomington: Monroe County, 1839), 111-112.
Richland Platted and Renamed Ellettsville
1837, Feb 13
Richland is mapped and platted but renamed Ellettsville when the name of Richland has already been used as an Indiana post office. The town is renamed for Edward Ellett, an original settler and businessman.
Source: Commissioners Book F: Monroe County, Indiana, 117.
Van Buren township established
1837, Mar
Van Buren township, named for President Martin Van Buren, is established in western Monroe County from Richland and Indian Creek townships.
Source: Monroe County, IN, Monroe County Commissioners Book \'C\' (Bloomington: Monroe County, 1839), 275.
Request for poor farm
1838
Citizens of Monroe County ask county commissioners for a poor farm.
Source: Pam Service, "Karst Farm Park Once Site of Poor Farm," Herald Telephone, May 3, 1990.
Indiana College becomes Indiana University
1838, Feb 13
Indiana State Legislative act adopted changing Indiana College to Indiana University.
Source: James Albert Woodburn, History of Indiana University: Volume I: 1820-1902 (Bloomington: Indiana University, 1940), 110.
Bloomington charter enacted
1845, Jan 13
The General Assembly of the state of Indiana passes the charter, creating the town of Bloomington, establishing boundaries, and laying down governing laws of the town.
Source: Charter of the Town of Bloomington (1845)
Marion township created
1845, Aug
Marion township is created from the northern part of Benton township in northeast Monroe County. The southern boundary of Marion is along the Bean Blossom creek.
Source: Monroe County, IN, Monroe County Commissioners Book \'D\' (Bloomington: Monroe County, 1846), 539.
US declares war
1846, May 1
US declares war against Mexico.
Source: Nation, Richard F, and Stephen E. Towne. Indiana's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2009. Print.
Company A leaves for war
1846, Jun 15
Company A, 3rd Indiana Infantry Volunteers, is formed and leaves for the Mexican War. They fight at the battle of Buena Vista.
Source: Blanchard, Charles, ed. Counties of Morgan, Monroe, and Brown, Indiana. Historical and Biographical. Chicago: F.A. Battey & Co, 1884. P. 414.
Common school fund is established
1852
The Indiana state legislature passes a law establishing common school funds, ending the tuition system.
Source: Fletcher Harper Swift, A History of Public Permanent School Funds in the United States 1795-1905 (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1911), 261.
Railroad comes to Ellettsville
1853
The Louisville, New Albany, and Chicago Railroad (later known as the Monon) first comes through Ellettsville. J.M. Campbell is the first railroad agent, and Edward Moberly serves as an a agent and the first telegrapher.
Source: Marion Jacobs, "Ellettsville A Village Grows Where Once a Wilderness Stood Untouched," The Journal, September 12, 1962, 1.
Railroad enters Bloomington
1853, Oct
The New Albany and Salem railroad is built into Bloomington. The railroad was finished through the county until the following summer. A celebration of opening was held on July 4, 1854.
Source: Thomas Carter Perring, "The New Albany-Salem Railroad--Incidents of Road and Men," Indiana magazine of history, January 1, 1919, 356.
"Bloomington Newsletter" begins publication
1854, Jan 28
Newsletter begins publication, a Democratic party newspaper published by J. C. and A. B. Carlton.
Source: Miller, John W, Paul Brockman, and Patricia Lucken. Indiana Newspaper Bibliography: Historical Accounts of All Indiana Newspapers Published from 1804 to 1980 and Locational Information for All Available Copies, Both Original and Microfilm. Indianapolis: I
J.D. Showers comes to Bloomington
1856
J.D. Showers arrives in Bloomington. He was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1841. He takes up the trade of cabinet making and establishes the Showers Brothers Company in 1862.
Source: History of Lawrence and Monroe Counties, Indiana: Their People, Industries, and Institutions (Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Co., 1914), 609. more...
City government dissolved
1858, Jan 1
Bloomington citizen's held a vote to dissolve the city as a corporation. They were motivated by unfair taxes and poor road conditions.
Source: Charles Blanchard, The Heritage Collection History and Biography: Counties of Morgan, Monroe and Brown, Indiana (F.A. Battey & Co. Publishers, 1884), 465,466.
Catholics celebrate first Mass in church
1864, Jul 19
St. Patrick's Catholic Church sells two lots on west Fourth Street bought previously, to buy for $600 the Baptist church on the S.E. corner of Fourth and Madison. Church is later called St. Charles.
Source: Mary A Waldron Ph. D., History of St. Charles Catholic Church: Including an Early Synoptic History of the County and City (Bloomington: Catholic Diocese, 1934), 22.
Annual appropriations begin for IU
1867, Mar 8
The Indiana legislature enacts annual appropriations for Indiana University
Source: IU Chronology, Libraries.edu, 1867. more...
First woman I.U. student
1867, Sep
The first woman student, Sarah Parke Morrison, is admitted to Indiana University. By 1871 there were 32 women. They were admitted by the same criteria, and studied for the same degrees, as men. She became an Adjunct Professor of English Literature. Morrison Hall in the Wells Quadrangle is named after her.
Source: Thornbrough, Emma Lou. Indiana in the Civil War Era, 1850-1880. Vol. 3. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau & Historical Society, 1965. Pp. 507-08. more...
Opera House is built
1868
The Old Opera house is built at 103-105 W. Kirkwood on the south side of the square. Later the building would be purchased by the Waldron family and commercial businesses such as Bloomington Hardware would locate there. (Image supplied by the Sanborn Maps)
Source: City of Bloomington Interim Report: Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory (Bloomington: City of Bloomington, 2004), 50.
Central School opens
1873, Sep
Central School opens to white children, leaving Centre School to African-American students.
Source: A Brief History of Central School. Bloomington, IN: 1931.
Central High School completed
1875
Central High School is completed on College Avenue just south of Third Street near the Methodist Church.
Source: Charles Blanchard, Counties of Morgan, Monroe, and Brown, Indiana (Chicago: F. A. Battey & Co, 1884), 471. more...
Bloomington narrowly incorporated as a city
1876, Jul
The citizens of Bloomington vote 184 for to 169 against to incorporate the town as a city.
Source: Charles Blanchard, The Heritage Collection History and Biography: Counties of Morgan, Monroe and Brown, Indiana (F.A. Battey & Co. Publishers, 1884), 467.
Fire destroys west side of square
1883, Mar 16
Fire destroys west side of square.
Source: "After the Fire. Counting up the Loss." Bloomington Telephone (Bloomington, IN), March 24, 1883.
Fire destroys Science Hall
1883, Jul 12
A bolt of lightning strikes the Science building on the Seminary grounds around 6 p.m. setting fire to the library of Professor, and later President, David Starr Jordan. The fire smolders until 8 the following morning, leaving the contents of the building destroyed.
Source: D.C. Miller, "Old Bloomington," Daily Telephone, June 25, 1947.
Dunn sells land to IU
1884
Dunn's Woods, 20 Acres located east of downtown Bloomington, is purchased from Moses F. Dunn by the IU board of trustees. The new campus is know as University Park. NOTE: the deed is dated November 5, 1885 and reads, in part: "...to relate back and take effect from the 4th day of February 1884."
Source: Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Volume 1 Early Years (Bloomington & London: Indiana University Press, 1970), 139-140. more...
New buildings for new IU location
1884
Indiana University moved to Dunn Woods (present) location after fire at Seminary Square (old) location at Second and College; the first 2 buildings, Owen Hall and Wylie Hall are mainly brick with Indiana Limestone for sills, steps, and some trim. The groundbreaking for both buildings was on the same date.
Source: Shewmaker, Sherman N. Quarry Quest. A Field Trip Guide to the Indiana Limestone District, Monroe and Lawrence Counties, Indiana, 1991.
First intercollegiate African American athlete
1893
Preston Eagleson becomes the first African American athlete to be a member of an intercollegiate team at Indiana University. Eagleson is considered a prominent member of the African American community in Bloomington, and plays as a halfback during the years 1893-95.
Source: Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Volume 1 Early Years (Bloomington & London: Indiana University Press, 1970), 321. more...
GAR post established
1896
Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Post No. 558 is named for John Gann and is located in Bloomington, Monroe County, Indiana.
Source: Northcott, Dennis. Indiana Civil War Veterans: Transcription of the Death Rolls of the Department of Indiana, Grand Army of the Republic, 1882-1948. St. Louis, Mo: D. Northcott, 2005. Print. Page 363
First Presbyterian Church dedicated
1901, Jun 23
Dedicatory services are held for members of the new First Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of 6th and Lincoln Streets. The previous building on Walnut Street was destroyed in a fire in 1899. The estimated cost of the new limestone church on 6th Street was $15,791 and the final cost was $30,000.
Source: "Presbyterians Refurbishing Building: Church Mission Not Lost in Excitement," Daily Herald-Telephone, April 6, 1972, 8. more...
Bryan elected IU president
1903, Jan 21
William Lowe Bryan becomes president of Indiana University. Born in Bloomington, Indiana, Bryan received degrees from IU and a Ph.D from Clark University. Bryan was previously a professor of philosophy at IU from 1885 to 1902. Bryan would serve as president for 34 years.
Source: Indiana University, Presidential Portrait Collection: Presidents Hall (Bloomington: Indiana University, 2011) more...
Death shows need for hospital
1904, Oct 28
C.L. Mertz, an individual employed at a camp for Italian laborers building the roadbed of Illinois Central Railroad, is killed when he falls beneath the wheels of a freight train and both his legs are crushed. He dies in the office of Doctor Harris. Mertz's death highlights the fact that no doctors office in Bloomington is equipped for surgical cases.
Source: C. Earl East, Relive It... with C. Earl East (Mission, Kansas: Inter-Collegiate Press, Inc, 1963)
Hospital opening announced
1905, Nov 27
It is announced that, during this week, the Bloomington Hospital will open for public inspection. The idea for the hospital originated with the Local Council of Women. The first patient to be admitted will be Dr. CH Eigenmann. Local man Joe Kadison surprises the council by donating $100 to the hospital fund.
Source: "To Open Hospital," Bloomington World, November 27, 1905.
Bloomington Hospital Opens
1905, Nov 29
The Local Council of Women declare the new hospital, located at First and Rogers Streets, ready for occupancy. A large brick building, along with 4 1/2 acres of land, was purchased from Isaac Hopewell and remodeled for hospital use.
Source: "Open Hospital," Bloomington World, November 29, 1905, Front, 1.
Courthouse cornerstone laid
1907, May 10
A Masonic ceremony for the new courthouse construction is witnessed by thousands.
Source: "Cornerstone Laid With Impressive Masonic Ceremony," Evening World, May 10, 1907, Front, 1. more...
New courthouse dedicated
1908, Jul 4
A celebration is planned to dedicate the new courthouse.
Source: D. C. Miller, "Old Bloomington," The World Telephone, April 1, 1908. more...
Street work around square bid June 30
1910, Jun 16
The Bloomington City Council advertised for proposals to pave the streets around the courthouse square plus one block in all directions with either Brick, Wooden Block, Asphalt,or Bithulithic. Concrete sidewalks were to be included in the bids.
Source: Various, Monroe County Historical Society Scrapebooks: Monroe County Clippings (Bloomington: Monroe County, 1911), 23.
First airplane flies in Bloomington
1911, Oct 11
Horace Kearney, early aviator, flies his airplane in Dunn Meadow for the first flight ever in Monroe County. He snags a barbed wire fence while taking off, and only gains enough altitude to crash land without life-threatening injuries.
Source: "Kearney Falls But Will Live," Bloomington Telephone, October 18, 1911. more...
Bloomington High School Dedicated
1914, Dec 4
A new brick structure with a capacity of 600 students is dedicated as the new Bloomington High School. The school is located at 2nd and Walnut Streets.
Source: C. Roy Williams, A History of Bloomington High School: Thesis (1927), 1. more...
Roof expected for city hall soon
1915, Jul 8
It is reported that, after squabbles, the new city hall will be ready in two weeks, after the roof is placed by Contractor Weaver under the supervision of Architect Nichols. The building is expected to be completed by December.
Source: "New City Hall Going Up," Weekly Star, July 8, 1915. more...
Fire destroys Kirkwood Avenue Christian Church
1916, Dec 31
The Kirkwood Avenue Christian Church at the corner of Washington Street and Kirkwood Avenue is destroyed by a fire of unknown origin beginning on New Year's Eve. The church has been there since 1884.
Source: Bill Coulter, "First Christian Church, 205 East Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, Monroe County, Indiana," State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD), February 3, 2015, 1. more...
First Armistice Day
1918, Nov 11
People flood the square at 2AM as train whistles, fire alarms, and whistles from the Showers Factory sound at 2AM, marking the observance of first Armistice Day.
Source: Rose McLlveen, "First Armistice Day Recalled- Citizens Celebrate Peace," Herald Telephone, November 7, 1981, 1-2.
Bloomington wins basketball state championship
1919, Mar 15
Bloomington High School defeats Lafayette Jefferson at Purdue's Memorial Arena to claim the state basketball championship. Bloomington is the first southern Indiana high school to claim the title in IHSAA history.
Source: "Stamina wins victory for Bloomington team," Indianapolis News, March 17, 1919, 1, 14.
First Christian dedicates church
1919, Sep 28
First Christian Church dedicates its new $100,000 building on Kirkwood and Washington Street in Bloomington. Services will be lead by Reverend George Shively. There will be special music and a picnic dinner in the gymnasium of the church.
Source: Virginia Barnard, "First Christian Church With Its Compact Organization 'Looks Ahead' Into Future," Bloomington Telephone, February 26, 1938. more...
First Old Oaken Bucket game
1925
The game is played at the 10th street stadium and ends in a 0-0 tie. A connected I-P is made and attached to the bucket showing the tie game.
Source: Burton Dorr Myers, History of Indiana University (Bloomington: Indiana University, 1952), 188-190. more...
24 limestone companies merge
1926, May 21
Beginning of major consolidation of companies in the Indiana limestone district with the organization of the Indiana Limestone Company merging of 24 companies.
Source: Shewmaker, Sherman N. Quarry Quest. A Field Trip Guide to the Indiana Limestone District, Monroe and Lawrence Counties, Indiana, 1991.
First Methodist Church fire
1937, Apr 7
The First Methodist Church at Fourth and Washington Streets catches fire around 9:10AM and is discovered by Ellsworth Moore during his neighborhood milk delivery. The fire causes an estimated $150,000 in damages and is believed to be caused by faulty wiring. President of the church board of trustees William B. Adams states that the church was insured for $97,000 against fire.
Source: Bill Coulter, "First Methodist Church, 219 E. Fourth St., Bloomington, Monroe County, Indiana," State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD), April 7, 1937, 8-10.
Herman B Wells named eleventh president
1938
He served from 1938 to 1962. (Indiana University Archives P0023826)
Source: Burton Dorr Myers, Trustees and Officers of Indiana University 1820 to 1950 (Bloomington: Indiana University, 1951), 482. more...
RCA to open
1940, Feb 22
RCA Manufacturing Company, Inc. announces that it has purchased the plant No. 4 of the Showers Brothers Furniture Company on south Rogers Street and plans to open a factory there that would employ between 600-700 people. RCA is the world's largest manufacturers of radio products.
Source: "1940 Chronology," Evening World, December 31, 1940.
Population bumps city to 3rd class
1940, Jun 29
New census figures show Bloomington population to be 20,609, making it a third class city.
Source: "1940 Chronology," Evening World, December 31, 1940. more...
First African American IU basketball player
1947
Bill Garrett becomes the first African American to be recruited and play basketball at Indiana University, and the first African Americans to play in the Big Ten. (Indiana University Archives P0023606)
Source: Tom Graham, Rachel Graham Cody, Getting Open: The Unknown Story of Bill Garrett and the Integration of College Basketball (New York: Atria Books, 2006), 138-139. more...
Bus crash, fire kill 16.
1949, Aug 10
Sixteen people burn to death after being trapped in a Greyhound bus wreck near Dolan on Hwy 37.
Source: "15 Are Dead in Bus Crash." World Telephone (Bloomington, IN), August 10, 1949.
Television station begins broadcasting
1949, Nov
Sarkes Tarzian obtains a television license and begins broadcasting with the call letters WTTV. It is the second TV broadcast station in Indiana, located in the smallest broadcasting community in the US.
Source: "WTTV To Give Test Signals Soon," Daily Telephone, February 5, 1949.
WTTS goes live
1950, Oct 1
WTTS starts beaming national hook up shows via ABC into the local air waves, according to Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. The AM radio station will provide local listeners a mixture of local and national shows with the emphasis on such outstanding 'live' programs.
Source: "'Live' Network Shows; Tarizan Expanding Manufacturing Lines," Herald Telephone, September 30, 1950.
Lake Lemon finished and filled
1953, Jul
To supplement the area's water supply, Bean Blossom Reservoir is completed. The dam will ultimately trap 5 billion gallons of water and cover almost 2000 acres of land.
Source: Bruce Temple, "'Lemon-Aid' Flows Freely In Solving City Water Famine," Herald Telephone, July 9, 1953, Front Page, 1, 20.
Westinghouse Electric Comes to Bloomington
1957
Westinghouse begins production at their plant on Curry Pike west of Bloomington.
Source: "WE Set To Fill Jobs; RCA Force Hits 3,000," Daily Herald Telephone, August 7, 1957, A, 1.
Richland-Bean Blossom Schools established
1963, Jul 1
It is reported that the State Commission for Reorganization of School Corporations approves the new Richland Bean Blossom Metropolitan School Unit and construction of a new high school building in the district. The action of the commission was the final step in the legal procedure before the new unit becomes effective July 1st. No petitions were filed against the merger of the two townships into one school administrative unit during the 30 day waiting period.
Source: "Ellettsville, Stinesville Schools Merge," Daily Herald Telephone, May 16, 1963.
Cook Inc. founded
1963, Jul
Cook Inc. founded in the three bedroom apartment of Bill and Gayle Cook at Bart Villa, an apartment complex on East 2nd Street in Bloomington.
Source: Bob Hammel, The Bill Cook Story: Biography of a visionary Indiana billionaire (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 77-80.
Monroe Reservoir filling begins
1965, Feb 1
Monroe Reservoir goes into operation with the closing of the gates at the dam. It is Indiana's largest man-made lake created by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. It covers 10,750 acres with water and 23,952 acres of property along it's shore. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is to turn over administration to the maintenance and operation division of the Corps, completing the flood control project which began in July 1958.
Source: "Reservoir Gates To Close," Herald Telephone, January 27, 1965, Front, 1. more...
First Black Bloomington Police Officer
1967, Apr 1
Vietnam War veteran and Bloomington High School graduate Charles Brown becomes first African American police officer in Bloomington history.
Source: Colin Bishop, "Black History Month Profiles: Brown was city's first black police officer," Herald Times, February 18, 2008, N/A (clipping).
Central Junior High School burns
1967, Apr 6
65 firefighters and all available equipment are pressed into service in a general alarm fire that destroys Central Junior High School formerly Bloomington High School.
Source: "Historic Central High Burns in One of City's Worst Disasters.," Daily Herald Telephone, April 6, 1967.
Monroe County Community Schools organizes
1968, May 6
Monroe County schools announce that it will be reorganized for the first time in nine years after a vote in the primary election to form the Monroe County Community School Corporation.
Source: "Bloomington's Year: A Look at Major Local News Reported in the H-T in 1968," Herald Telephone, December 31, 1968.
Poor Asylum demolished
1969, Oct
The Monroe County Poor Farm's 30-room building is demolished.
Source: Bob Cole, "Poor Farm Site of New County Park," Courier-Tribune, November 26, 1972.
Bob Knight hired
1971, Mar
Bob Knight is hired to coach the IU basketball team in the newly opened Assembly Hall. Knight would go on to coach 29 years for IU until he was fired on September 10, 2000. Knight won 902 games in his career along with 3 national championships at Indiana University.
Source: Bob Hammel and Rich Clarkson, Silver Knight: 25 Remarkable Years of Championship Indiana Basketball (Bloomington: Herald Times, 1997), 4.
Oliver Winery established
1972
Oliver Winery, owned by Bill Oliver, is established 7 miles north of Bloomington.
Source: Oliver Winery Pamphlet from July 1980, 1.
Indiana undefeated NCAA Basketball champion
1976, Mar 29
Indiana is the last undefeated basketball champion beating Michigan 86-68 for the third time in Philadelphia.
Source: Wikipedia: Indiana Men's Database
"The Herald-Telephone" turns 100
1977, May 12
May 12, 1877 marks the date when Walter S. Bradfute and Frank Arnott started the newspaper "The Telephone."
Source: Sunny Schubert, "If they could see us now," Herald Telephone, May 12, 1977, Front Page.
Blizzard of '78
1978, Jan 25
The blizzard of 1978 paralyzed Monroe County, closing most businesses and even Indiana University with up to 18 inches of snow and strong winds.
Source: "A walk down a snow-drifted memory lane," Sunday Herald-Times, January 28, 1979, 43.
"Breaking Away" premieres in Bloomington
1979, Jul 20
The Town Cinema, formerly the Harris Grand theater, hosts the premiere of "Breaking Away" filmed in and around Bloomington.
Source: Jeff LaFave, "Box office sleeper," Herald Times, April 23, 2014, B, 4. more...
RCA/Thomson closes factory
1998, Mar 27
After 58 years in Bloomington, the RCA plant closes and relocates to Mexico.
Source: Laura Lane, "End of the Line," Herald Times, March 29, 1998, Front, 1, 11.

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