Local History

Lebenswecker—The “Life Awakener,” Yikes!

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 3:00:00 pm

Ouch! With its thirty sharp needles, the medical instrument known as the “life awakener” or Lebenswecker in German most likely caused more pain than it cured. The hollow ebony tube contained a handle with a coiled spring attached. When this spring was released, the needles punctured the patient’s skin, injecting oil known as Oleum, otherwise known as fuming sulphuric acid. Again, ouch.

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The Mighty Portland High School

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 3:00:00 pm

The Jay County Historical Society in Portland, Indiana has a great collection of photographs and other memorabilia from the eight high schools that once existed in the county. The schools included the “Big Four”—Dunkirk, Pennville, Portland, and Redkey High Schools—and the “Little Four”—Bryant, Madison, Gray, and Poling High Schools. Currently, there is just one Jay County High School.

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A Walk through Historical Muncie Coming Soon

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 3:00:00 pm

Recently, I told you about upcoming renovation work to be done on the Oakhurst house. It must be the season to refresh and re-do. Work has been going on in The Center Building’s lobby for the last several weeks, and now the Heritage Collection Gallery is getting new carpet.

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A Look Back at a Powerful Flood

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 3:00:00 pm

This month marks the 102nd anniversary of the devastating flood of 1913. On March 24 and 25, rain inundated Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and New York. With a late spring thaw, the ground was either saturated or still frozen. In Indiana, the Ohio, White, and Wabash Rivers and all of their tributaries rose rapidly; causing massive flooding.

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Anderson Joins Muncie in Celebrating 150 years

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 11:00:00 am

Muncie’s neighbor to the southwest is also celebrating its sesquicentennial this year. Yes, Anderson is 150 years old in 2015. Muncie and Anderson have a lot in common, including names derived from a shared Native American heritage, glass and auto manufacturing, and, of course, basketball.

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Living on “McCall Street” in “Middletown”

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 3:00:00 pm

It must have been a sight to see when local photographer Roger Pelham drove through the streets of Muncie taking pictures of houses in neighborhoods, from Westwood to Avondale to Normal City, for a special edition of McCall’s Magazine. This edition played on the notoriety of Muncie as the typical American community, as depicted by Robert and Helen Lynd in the Middletown books. “In order, therefore, to show these people of “Middletown” as PEOPLE, and not merely as statistics, we visited “McCall Street” in Muncie, photographed the home of everyone who subscribed to McCall’s in 1937, and talked with many of them to find just how McCall’s entered into their lives.”

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Santa Claus Brings Cheer to Ball Memorial Hospital

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 12:00:00 am

How lonely and scary to be a child in the hospital at Christmas time. For seventy-five years, the Ruth Lyons Children’s Fund has tried to make the stay a little bit better.

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Passenger Pigeons—a unique bird with an interesting story

Posted by: Sarah Lu England on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 4:00:00 pm

Recently, I heard an engaging and dynamic speaker, Joel Greenberg. The author of A Feathered River Across the Sky, Greenberg explored how a thriving bird became extinct so quickly and what we can learn from the choices humans made in the late 1800s and how it can influence the decisions we make today.

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The Rise of the Snapshot

Posted by: Nadia Kousari on Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 3:00:00 pm

We all have that special photograph album that we treasure. Perhaps it includes images of birthdays, vacations, and snapshots of special events. Have you ever thought about how the snapshot came to be? Current digital cameras are easy to use, but photography wasn’t always such a breeze.

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American Playground and Tuhey Towers

Posted by: Karen M. Vincent on Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 12:15:00 pm

The small but nationally known American Playground company in Anderson, Indiana celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011. At that time, an article in the Madison County Chamber newsletter noted that the company had recently “completed its biggest and finest structure at Tuhey Park in Muncie.” Tuhey Towers, located near Tuhey Pool, consists of towers, slides, climbing ropes, and more. 

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