After being disappointed with the quality of motels available during a family road trip, Kemmons Wilson decided to build his own hotel. The first Holiday Inn opened in Memphis, Tennessee in August 1952. A little more than seven years later, the 119th hotel in the chain opened in Muncie at South Madison Street and U.S. 35. Although some of the hotels were company owned, the hotel in Muncie was franchised by Harper Hotels, Inc. Company president was Henry “Hank” Harper, Jr.
While it’s fun to look at historic black and white images of the five Ball brothers’ homes, it’s also great to see them in glorious color. Albany, Indiana artist Alan Patrick made sure that we will always have that color record of the homes. In 1996, Patrick received a commission from Alltrista (now Jarden Home Brands) to create paintings of the homes. At first, he considered making one painting that would be a collage of all five houses. After consideration and study, however, he decided to make a separate painting of each house. He photographed the four standing houses—the Frank C. Ball home was destroyed by fire in 1967—in the early spring, and went to work in his studio.
On March 4, several Minnetrista staff attended the grand opening of the latest in the series of “You Are There” exhibits at the Indiana Historical Society (IHS). In the “You Are There” exhibits, historic photographs are brought to life three-dimensionally with actors playing the people in the photos. The “Communities Can!” is special for us, because it features a photograph and artifacts from the Minnetrista Heritage Collection. The exhibit was funded by Ball Brothers Foundation.
Help, please. I’ve written about Ball Stores before, but I’m writing again to ask for your help. Please share your stories of Ball Stores for both a book and an exhibit. Did you or a family member work there? Was visiting Santa a yearly tradition? Do you have a particularly vivid memory of a shopping experience? Here are two memories that Hope Barnes shared in her December 12, 1989 article in the Muncie Star:
Ed and Virginia Ball sent beautiful, uniquely designed Christmas cards to family, friends and acquaintances. Some featured their family while others documented places they traveled, events in their lives, and the people they knew.
When the calendar page turns to November, a true Hoosier’s thoughts turn to basketball. And in Muncie, during the first quarter of the 20th century, basketball definitely meant the Muncie High School Bearcats. It wasn’t even necessary to have been born in Indiana or to have attended Muncie High School to be a fan. Bearcat fever evidently infected Frances and Sarah Ball and their sister-in-law Frances Ball Mauck, at least for one night.
I love old company newsletters, not only for the major stories, but for the everyday chitchat. It’s so easy to get lost in the little stories. Every now and then, I pull out a copy of The Ball Line just to see what was going on with the company and employees. The Ball Line was started by John W. Fisher in the early 1940s, and, of course, those issues from the World War II years were full of news of both the home front and the people in service.
Everything that is old is new again, or so it seems. During the past few years, ideas for using Ball jars for everything but canning have been everywhere – on Pinterest, in magazines, in craft supply stores, etc. And, of course, is it even possible to have a wedding reception without Ball jars anymore?
Last month, I shared stories of growing up on Minnetrista Boulevard from Janice, Helen, and their cousin Doris Mauck. This month, we’ll check out the memories of sisters Lucy, Margaret, and Rosemary. Their parents were Frank C. and Elizabeth “Bessie” Brady Ball.
Along with the usual contents such as community memorabilia and newspaper articles, there are some very special letters included in the Minnetrista cornerstone. They were written by Janice Ball Fisher, Helen Ball Robinson, Lucy Ball Owsley, Rosemary Ball Bracken, and their cousin Doris Mauck Friedrichs.